Longford is a village that has never had a church so can also be considered a hamlet, immediately north-west of London Heathrow Airport in the London Borough of Hillingdon, formerly part of Harmondsworth by tithes, land tax, vestry and still by Church of England parish. Its historic county is Middlesex. Longford is 15.8 miles (25.4 km) west of Charing Cross and within the M25 motorway which marks its western boundary with Colnbrook, Berkshire.
The name Longford simply derives from the two words "long" and "ford", after the wide ford across the Colne which is where the old Bath Road crosses it, a middle ditch, and the Wraysbury River, carrying on west from the village street.
The settlement developed by the site of this multi-channel ford of the River Colne and its distributaries, which presented numerous obstacles negotiable for travellers to and from the west of the edge of London's county of Middlesex, on the old Bath Road. Longford may be founded on a small Saxon settlement dating from the 5th to 7th century AD. Historic buildings survive from the medieval and immediate post-medieval period. Limited evidence survives of Roman occupation, though archaeological excavations have revealed two broaches of Roman date.<ref name=hcm/>
Longford, the only medieval settlement to grow up along the Bath Road in Middlesex had 30 inhabited buildings in 1337. An important part of the parish economy, aside from its four manor houses, 48 houses were on Moor and Sheep Lanes in Harmondsworth.<ref name=hcm/>
In 1586 land on either side of the river was charged with the upkeep of Mad Bridge, which carried the Bath Road across the river. During the 18th and early 19th centuries this bridge was maintained by the Colnbrook turnpike trustees, who presumably erected in 1834 the bridge with cast-iron parapets which was stands.<ref name=hcm/>
Rocque's map of 1754, shows clearly the settlement pattern: at Longford, Harmondsworth, and Sipson there were small, compact groups of houses. At Longford they lined both sides of the Bath Road from the east bank of the Longford River up to and across the Duke of Northumberland's River.<ref name=hcm/>
The uncultivated area west of the rivers was to the north known as Harmondsworth moors, south of the Bath Road the area between the Colne and the Longford rivers was meadowland and, between the Longford and the Duke's rivers, arable.
Parliament's Act of common land inclosure (privatisation) of the Harmondsworth Moor and vast tract to the south and east of the middle of Heathrow (of Hounslow Heath) was in 1819, and by 1839 the settlement had joined Harmondsworth and its other main hamlet, Sipson in having a shop.<ref name=hcm/>
In 1929 the Colnbrook by-pass was built. In 1930 the Road Research Laboratory on the Colnbrook by-pass opened. In the same year the Fairey Aviation Company opened an airfield, the Great West Aerodrome, south-west of Heathrow's centre which was its forebear.
Across the wider parish, a brick-works was established by the corner of Cain's Lane and Heathrow Road and the area of former heathland was extensively worked for gravel, sand, and grit. Middlesex County Council also opened a large sewage pumping station directly west of Perry Oaks Manor, which has been re-engineered to make way for Heathrow's Terminal 5.
- Bridge and River pictured
In 1648 the first bridge across the then new Longford River was demolished. This had been replaced by 1675. In the 19th century, when it was called Stone Bridge, the Crown, not a local authority, was responsible for its upkeep and by 1960 it had been renamed King's Bridge.<ref name=hcm/>
Longford village is a linear development astride the Bath Road immediately north of Heathrow Airport and as such to the south of the M4, It is also immediately north of Heathrow's Western Perimeter Road. The area is characterized by an historic village core and similar-sized green buffer zones.
The last bridge or ford in the west over the Wraysbury River marked the boundary of Colnbrook which has been superseded by the M25 motorway which the road then crosses over.
The Duke of Northumberland's River that runs from here to Isleworth since its construction in or about 1543.<ref name=hcm/>
Soil and elevation
Elevation is an almost uniform Template:Convert.
Longford's soil is the rich western soil of the historic parish of Harmondsworth, being alluvial &ndash, shortly south of the main street gravel is instead close to the surface except near rivers and north-eastward of the settlement, equally less fertile clay soil dominates for many miles.<ref name=hcm>Template:Cite web</ref>
Immediately to the north is a purpose-built dualled bypass with a western junction-connected A4, to the M4 that is, which is parallel and has two junction with this road also directly north of Heathrow airport, with the newer Junction 14 for Terminal 5 a very limited access junction, for the airport roads only.
Access to the M25 motorway is considerably shortest to the south, at Junction 14 (Stanwell Moor).
Longford retains an old-fashioned community centre character, in particular a former and an existing public house which are listed buildings only at Grade II mostly on age rather than simply architecture.<ref>King Henry and Stables (opened before 1775, closed 20th century) Template:NHLE
White Horse — 17th century, restored Template:NHLE</ref> An old building, Yeomans, which has been subdivided into three flats is listed. Other listed buildings include Queen River Cottage and adjoining Willow Tree Cottage, and King's Bridge which is the name of the 1834-built main bridge by the very last building at the west end of the (old) Bath Road street, which crosses the nearby siphoned off Longford River, which Charles I had constructed — this feeds Bushy Park and Hampton Court Gardens.
One of the listed cottages is thatched.
Of residents of the output area Hillingdon 31A (Cranford, Longford and West Harmondsworth) 938 people (or 51.2%) declared themselves to be Christian in 2011. Also in this area 11.9% of people were Muslim, 11% Sikh, 1.9% Buddhist, 13.3% of no recognised religion, 5.9% gave no religious status and 1% were of other religions.
The ecclesiastical parish remains Harmondsworth and the Catholic Church have a church in central West Drayton to the north, as well as three chaplains who serve St George's Chapel in Heathrow's inner ring west or the Sunday Mass at Terminals 4 and 5.
Gurdwaras exist on Martindale and Hanworth Road, Hounslow, the latter being Sri Guru Singh Sabha. The nearest Islamic centre is the Al-Falah Muslim Centre, Tavistock Road, Yiewsley to the north.
Longford's businesses including:
- Littlebrook Nursery
- (The) Thistle Hotel, Heathrow
- Abbey Business Centres.
Philip Sherwood, History and Guide to Harlington and Harmondsworth (Harlington: PT Sherwood, 2002) Template:Reflist