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Coordinates: 51°30′44″N 0°22′40″W / 51.5121°N 0.3779°W / 51.5121; -0.3779

Southall is located in Greater London

 Southall shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ125805
    - Charing Cross 10.7 mi (17.2 km)  E
London borough Ealing
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SOUTHALL
Postcode district UB1, UB2
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Ealing Southall
London Assembly Ealing and Hillingdon
List of places: UK • England • London
This article contains Indic text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks or boxes, misplaced vowels or missing conjuncts instead of Indic text.

Southall London Borough of Ealing, West London. It is situated 10.7 miles (17.2 km) west of Charing Cross. Neighbouring places include Yeading, Hayes, Hanwell, Heston, Hounslow, Greenford and Northolt. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.[1]

Southall is located on the Grand Union Canal (formerly the Grand Junction Canal) which first linked London with the rest of the growing canal system. It was one of the last canals to carry significant commercial traffic (through the 1950s) and is still open to traffic and is used by pleasure craft.



The Southall Norwood Urban District of Middlesex was formed in 1894, from the Southall Norwood Local Government District that had been created in 1891. In 1936 the urban district was granted a charter of incorporation and became a municipal borough, renamed Southall.[2] In 1965 the former area of the borough was merged with that of the boroughs of Ealing and Acton to form the London Borough of Ealing in Greater London.[3]

The name Southall derives from the Anglo-Saxon dative æt súð healum, "At the south corner (of the land or wood)" and súð heal, "South corner" and separates it from Northolt which was originally norþ heal, "North corner" which through a later association with Anglo-Saxon holt, "Wood, copse" developed into Northolt.[citation needed]

The southern part of Southall (roughly south of the railway) used to be known as Southall Green (and a section of the main north-south road in the area is still called The Green) and was centred on the historic Tudor-styled Manor House[4] which dates back to at least 1587. Little of the building is original but much dates back to the days when Southall Green was a quiet rural village. It is currently used as serviced offices.

The extreme southernmost part of Southall is known as Norwood Green. It has few industries and is mainly a residential area, having remained for many years mainly agricultural whilst the rest of Southall developed industrially. Norwood Green borders, and part is inside, the London Borough of Hounslow.

A tram from Hayes in the Broadway c.1905

The main east west road through the town is Uxbridge Road (A4020), though the name changes in the main shopping area to The Broadway and for an even shorter section to High Street. Uxbridge Road was part of the main London to Oxford stagecoach route for many years and remained the main route to Oxford until the building of the Western Avenue highway to the north of Southall in the first half of the 20th century. First horse drawn, then electric trams (until 1936) and, then, electric trolleybuses, gave Southall residents and workers quick and convenient transport along Uxbridge Road in the first half of the 20th century before they were replaced by standard diesel-engined buses in 1960.[5]

The opening of the Grand Junction Canal (later renamed Grand Union Canal) as the major freight transport route between London and Birmingham in 1796 began a commercial boom, intensified by the arrival of Brunel's Great Western Railway in 1839, leading to the establishment and growth of brick factories, flour mills and chemical plants which formed the town's commercial base. In 1877, the Martin Brothers set up a ceramics factory in an old soap works next to the canal and until 1923, produced distinctive ceramics now known and collected as Martinware.

A branch railway line from Southall railway station to the Brentford Docks on the Thames was also built by Brunel in 1856. It features one of his (impressive for the period) engineering works, the Three Bridges where Windmill Lane, the railway and the Grand Union Canal all intersect - the canal being carried over the railway line in a metal trough. It is listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The other notable local construction by Brunel is the Wharncliffe Viaduct which carries the Great Western Railway across the River Brent towards London and which was Brunel's first major structural design.

Otto Monsted, a Danish margarine manufacturer, built a large factory at Southall in 1894. The factory was called the Maypole Dairy, and eventually grew to become one of the largest margarine manufacturing plants in the world, occupying a 28 hectare (68 acre) site at its peak. The factory also had its own railway sidings and branch canal. The Maypole Dairy Company was later acquired by Lever Brothers who, as part of the multinational Unilever company, converted the site to a Wall's Sausages factory which produced sausages and other meat products through until the late 1970s.

Quaker Oats (later part of Pepsico) built a factory in Southall in 1936. Part of the operation making petfoods was sold to Spiller's in 1994 and the remainder to Big Bear Group in 2006. The site continues to produce brands such as Sugar Puffs. Other engineering, paint and food processing factories prospered for many years - mostly alongside the railway and/or canal.

A collection of Martinware - salt-glazed stoneware, and birds - is on display at Southall Library. The largest collection, however, can be seen at Pitshanger Manor in nearby Ealing.

Within the boundaries of Southall on the eastern boundary was the Hanwell Asylum which was once the world's largest asylum for the mentally ill and considered, in its day, to be a progressive institution with a good success rate for treatment. As attitudes to and treatment for mental illness improved the site was renamed St Bernard's Hospital and, in the late 1970s the site was extensively redeveloped with most of the area now taken up by the Ealing Hospital but St Bernard's still operates a large facility on part of the site under the West London Mental Health (NHS) Trust.

Southall was also the home of one of the earliest British film studios, Southall Studios, in Gladstone Road, played a historic role in film-making from its creation in 1924 to its closure in 1959. In 1936 a fire destroyed the studio but it was rebuilt and enlarged. Numerous feature films, many featuring famous, or later-to-be-famous actors, plus an early TV series ("Colonel March of Scotland Yard") were made at the studios together with TV and cinema adverts.[6]

There has been a locomotive works at the Southall Depot for near 150 years. Originally a Great Western Railway shed, it was possibly the last London steam depot, outlasting Old Oak Common and Stewarts Lane depots. The depot was later used for DMU maintenance and as a base for the electrification programme. Currently the site now referred to as the Southall Railway Centre is used by three independent groups including Locomotive Services (where volunteers can contribute to the preservation and restoration of mainline locomotives), and the Great Western Railway Preservation Group.

Glassy Junction pub, November 2005

The bus and commercial vehicle manufacturer AEC was based in Southall, on a 25 hectare (63 acre) triangular site between Windmill Lane, the main Great Western Railway and the branch to Brentford Dock. The company moved here from Walthamstow in 1926 and closed in 1979 after losing market share whilst part of the giant but inefficient British Leyland group. The site was familiar to railway passengers from a large sign saying "Builders of London's Buses for 50 years".

A major gas works manufacturing town gas was located between the railway and the canal. Since production ceased in the 1970s, much of the 36 hectare (90 acre) site has been vacant, due to limited road access and remaining gas infrastructure.

During World War II Southall was the target of enemy bombing on a number of occasions. On one occasion a German V-1 flying bomb destroyed a number of houses in Regina Road, killing the occupants.[7]

Bomb shelters and bunkers were built, during the war, close to or under most schools and public buildings and it is a little known fact that the bunkers at the Hamborough Primary School were expanded during the Cold War to become the North West Group War HQ for the London area Civil Defence organisation and the London Borough of Ealing Emergency Control Centre. This facility is now disused.[8]

On the Tuesday morning of 2 September 1958 at 7:10, a pilot of a Vickers Viking V624 (G-AIJE) which had just taken off from Heathrow Airport, reported that he had engine trouble. Some minutes later it crashed onto houses in Kelvin Gardens. It was on a cargo flight carrying aero engines to Tel Aviv and carried no passengers, however the three crew members and four people on the ground were killed. One of the surviving occupants, Brian Gibbons, a teenager of 14 years of age, was later awarded the George Medal for bravery and also the Carnegie Award.[9] The aircraft was owned and operated by Independent Air Travel. The accident was put down to poor maintenance and this crash was the reason given for causing the company out of business year later in October 1959.[10]

On 23 April 1979, Blair Peach, a teacher and anti-racist activist, was killed after police knocked him unconscious during a protest against the National Front (NF).[11][12] Another demonstrator, Clarence Baker - a singer of the reggae band Misty in Roots, remained in a coma for five months.[13] More than 40 others — including 21 police — were injured, and 300 were arrested.[14]

On 4 July 1981, a race riot was sparked at the Hambrough Tavern on the Broadway.[15] Local Asian youths mistakenly believed that a concert featuring the Oi! bands The Business, The Last Resort and The 4-Skins was a white power event.[16] Additionally, the venue had recently been sued for barring non-white customers, and local youths had heard that skinheads arriving for the concert had harassed other youths and women.[17] More than 200 skinheads had travelled by bus from East London, and a few of them smashed shop windows,[18] wrote NF slogans around the area,[19] and shouted neo-Nazi slogans while using bricks and clubs to attack Asian youths who had gathered in opposition to the gig.[citation needed] Although some of the skinheads were NF or British Movement supporters, among the 500 or so concert-goers were also left-wing skinheads, black skinheads, punk rockers, rockabillies and non-affiliated youths.[20] A few of the approximately 300 Asians threw petrol bombs and other objects, and five hours of rioting left 120 people injured — including 60 police officers — and the tavern burnt down.[15][21]

The Southall rail crash occurred on 19 September 1997 when a mainline high speed express train from Swansea to London Paddington ran a red signal, when the driver's attention was distracted, and it collided with a goods train just outside Southall railway station. Seven people died and 139 were injured.


Southall Broadway, November 2005
Station sign in the Latin and Gurmukhī alphabets

Southall (Punjabi: ਸਾਊਥਹਾਲ) is primarily a South Asian residential district, sometimes known as "Little India".[22][23][24][25][26] In 1950, the first group of South Asians arrived in Southall, reputedly recruited to work in a local factory owned by a former British Indian Army officer. This South Asian population grew, due to the closeness of expanding employment opportunities such as London Heathrow Airport. The most significant cultural group to settle in Southall are Indian Punjabis. According to the Commission for Racial Equality, over 55% of Southall's population of 70,000 is Indian/Pakistani, with less than 10% being White British.[27][28] There are ten Sikh Gurdwaras in Southall and one of them won the Ealing Civic Society Architectural Award in 2003. The Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, which opened in 2003, is one of the largest Sikh temples outside India. There are two large Hindu 'Mandir' temples, the Vishnu Hindu Mandir on Lady Margaret Road and the Ram Mandir in Old Southall. There are more than ten Christian churches including 5 Anglican (St John's has its own website: [5]), Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist and several Pentecostal or Independent. There are three mosques, one situated on Southall broadway (Abu-Bakr) one located in Old Southall. In addition, the signs on the main railway station are bilingual.

There is also a very strong and more recent presence of Somalis, many of whom left Somalia following the civil war in their country.[citation needed]

Earlier, in the 1920s and 1930s Southall was the destination of many Welsh migrants escaping from the harsh economic conditions of their homeland. For many years, Welsh accents were very commonplace in the area.[29]

The main street in Southall is called The Broadway. Southall contains the largest Asian shopping centre in the London area. Southall was the main location for the internationally acclaimed film Bend It Like Beckham.

Southall has a large gas tower which is noticeable from miles away. It also has the big letters "LH" and an arrow painted on it which was used to denote to aircraft pilots the direction to nearby London Heathrow Airport using visual flight rules (VFR) if landing on the now closed Runway 23. This was painted on the tower after a number of pilots became confused between Heathrow and the nearby RAF Northolt which has a much shorter runway. One Boeing 707 landed at Northolt by mistake[30] and a number of other pilots were en route there when warned off by air traffic control.

Southall is also the location of the Glassy Junction public house, which serves several Indian draught beers and was the first pub in the UK to accept payment in Indian rupees.[31] Southall has many well known restaurants such as Chaudhry's TKC, Gifto's Madhus, Mirch Masala, TKC are known for the Chaudhry's Tiara which is a one of its kind unique Pakistani bus which has appeared in many adverts such as walkers and in the bollywood film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom.

In the summer of 2007, the fast food restaurant chain McDonald's situated on the Broadway (UB1), changed certain food items on their menu which was originally on a trial basis, to halal and certified halal.[citation needed]

There is now a local community radio station servicing Southall; Westside 89.6 FM, licensed by Ofcom as part of their drive towards community-based radio services.

Misty in Roots began life as a Southall-based British roots reggae band in the early 1970s.

The local football club Southall F.C. has a long history, having been formed in 1871. In 2007/08 they played in the Middlesex County League Division One (Central & East).

Notable people associated with Southall



Authors and poets

Television and film



Local landmarks

External images
Southall gasometer in skyline[36]
Southall gasometer
  • Gasometer which is 320 ft high, making it visible from miles away. It was brought into service in 1932. It has two very large letters "LH" and an arrow painted on it which was used to denote to aircraft pilots the direction to nearby London Heathrow Airport using visual flight rules (VFR) if landing on the now closed runway 23. This was painted on the tower after a number of pilots became confused between Heathrow and the nearby RAF Northolt which has a much shorter runway. One Boeing 707 landed at Northolt by mistake[30][37] and a number of other pilots were en route there when warned off by air traffic control.
  • Manor House, The Green, Southall, UB2 4BJ
  • Golf Links Estate, almost burned down in 1997 & 2008. A 1960's housing development, at one time had the highest crime rate in the Ealing borough.
A naval gun at the Threebridges
  • Naval gun on the junction of Tentelow Lane with Windmill Lane.

Political representation

Southall is part of the parliamentary constituency of Ealing Southall, represented since 2007 by Labour Member of Parliament Virendra Sharma.

Southall is made up of five electoral wards for local council elections: Dormers Wells, Lady Margaret, Norwood Green, Southall Broadway and Southall Green, which both elect councillors to Ealing Council. Southall Broadway has two Conservative councillors and one Labour councillor. Southall Green has three Labour councillors. Ealing Council is currently run by a Conservative administration.

Political status of Ealing Council:

Southall is in the London Assembly constituency of Ealing and Hillingdon which has one assembly member: Richard Barnes (Conservative), who was re-elected in May 2008.

Transport and locale

Southall is served by Southall railway station on the Great Western Main Line, providing links to Heathrow Airport, Reading and Oxford as well as London Paddington.

There is no London Underground station in Southall, the nearest one to the town centre being Osterley station, on the Piccadilly line, which is located approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) to the south.

Frequent bus services link Southall with all neighbouring suburbs and London Heathrow Airport.

There is an express coach service between Southall and Birmingham which specialises in serving the many family connections in both areas' South Asian populations.

See also


  1. ^ Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)". Greater London Authority. 
  2. ^ Vision of Britain - Southall MB (historic map). Retrieved on 2008-08-04.
  3. ^ Vision of Britain - Ealing LB (historic map). Retrieved on 2008-08-04.
  4. ^ Photo of Southall, the Manor House 1965
  5. ^ Route 607 Picture Gallery
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Under Attack: Living with the Bombs by cambslibs
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ British Pathe News (1959) Brave Boy rewarded. Accessed 2009-10-18
  10. ^ Ealing Gazette (October 19, 2007) Seven Killed as A Viking plane smashes houses.
  11. ^ 1979: Teacher dies in Southall race riots BBC On This Day, 23 April.
  12. ^ Marshall, George (1991). Spirit of '69 - A Skinhead Bible. Dunoon, Scotland: S.T. Publishing. ISBN 1-898927-10-3. p.107
  13. ^ Blair Peach: Killed By Police, Socialist Worker, 21 April 2009.
  14. ^ Blair Peach: A 30-year campaign, BBC News, 25 June 2009]
  15. ^ a b "Race riot strikes London". Associated Press. 5 July 1981.,404910. Retrieved 12 January 2010. 
  16. ^ Bushell, Garry (2001). "Oi! – The Truth". Garry Bushell Uncensored. Retrieved 12 January 2010. 
  17. ^ Baumann, Gerd (1996). Contesting culture: discourses of identity in multi-ethnic London. Volume 100 of Cambridge studies in social and cultural anthropology. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 052155554X. 
  18. ^ Axel, Brian Keith (2001). The nation's tortured body: violence, representation, and the formation of a Sikh "Diaspora". Duke University Press. ISBN 0822326159. 
  19. ^ Robb, John (2006). Punk Rock: An Oral History (London: Elbury Press). ISBN 0-09-190511-7
  20. ^ Marshall, George (1991). Spirit of '69 - A Skinhead Bible. Dunoon, Scotland: S.T. Publishing. ISBN 1-898927-10-3. pp.107-8
  21. ^ Marshall, George (1991). Spirit of '69 - A Skinhead Bible. Dunoon, Scotland: S.T. Publishing. ISBN 1-898927-10-3. pp.106 & 110
  22. ^ Harcourt, Gordon (4 May 2005). "British Asians' immigration fears". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  23. ^ Philipose, Pamela (13 July 2003). "Voice from Little India". Indian Express. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  24. ^ Dhaliwal, Nirpal (22 July 2007). "Cameron is given a black eye by the real Southall". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  25. ^ Bhamra, Kuljit (6 April 2009). "The (untold) Southall Story". Asians in Media Magazine. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  26. ^ Rappeport, Alan (29 January 2006). "A Real Taste of South Asia? Take the Tube to Southall". New York Times. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  27. ^ Equality and Human Rights Commission - home page
  28. ^
  29. ^ [3]
  30. ^ a b Boeing 707-321, N725PA, Pan American World Airways (PA / PAA)
  31. ^ Read Reviews of London Bars, Pubs and Clubs on Time Out London. Whether you Prefer to Drink Beer, Wine or Cocktails, London can Offer a Bar or Pub to Suit Your Drinking Desires - Time Out London
  32. ^ BBC - Leicester - Entertainment - The Radio Leicester All Star Band
  33. ^ BBC - Leicester - Local Radio - Chris Highton
  34. ^ [4]
  35. ^ Sir Leslie Murphy - Telegraph
  36. ^ London Southall Gasworks at flickr
  37. ^ Royal Air Force Northolt: Approach Errors

Further reading

External links


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