Ashford is a suburban town almost entirely in the Surrey borough of Spelthorne, but with a small section lying within the London Borough of Hounslow, England.Unknown extension tag "ref" Mostly residential, Ashford is Template:Convert WSW of Charing Cross, London, forms part of the London commuter belt, with a minor stop on the Waterloo to Reading Line (which has two branch lines) and has a long commercial high street. It is centred Template:Convert south of London Heathrow Airport, to which a portion of its economy relates, including business premises relating to aviation and the distribution of air freight – the main cargo depot being next to an adjoining village, Stanwell.
Sometimes referred to as Ashford, MiddlesexUnknown extension tag "ref" to distinguish it from the larger town of Ashford, Kent, since 1965 when Middlesex County Council was dissolved the town's wards are officially in Ashford, Surrey and for example the current railway services provider uses the present or past county variously throughout its stations and trains. A leading gymnastics club, HMP Bronzefield and one of the sites of Brooklands College are in the town. Ashford Hospital is narrowly within Stanwell and began as Ashford's workhouse. Ashford Common has a parade of shops and is a more residential ward that includes part of the Queen Mary Reservoir and all of its related water treatment works, which is contiguous with and subsidiary to the town itself.
Ashford consists of relatively low density low and medium rise buildings, with none being high rise. If excluding apartments (at the last census 27% of the housing stock) most houses are semi-detached. Ashford is defined along its northern edge by a dual carriageway and extends no more than 400m beyond another parallel to the southern boundary. It centrally includes a short section of another and has a driving test centre. Junctions of the UK's motorway network are Template:Convert and Template:Convert from its borders and it has along the two main dual carriageways official dealers of Ford, Citroën and Suzuki.
On two of the eight chief compass points the town is buffered by green space which covers just over Template:Convert and includes The Princes Club, Bedfont Lakes and Shortwood Common.
Ashford is in the almost flat alluvial plain formed by the historic courses of the River Thames<ref name=ne>Surrey. Natural England. Retrieved 2012-10-12</ref> on fairly fertile but gravelly soil in centuries past covered by deciduous forest for wood gathering, with clearings of meadow for pasture and to a lesser extent arable farming to supply the London market, sheep rearing continues today around the reservoirs. In common with western fringes of Greater London, gravel commences often within a metre of the surface which has led to 20th century gravel extraction<ref name=ne/>Unknown extension tag "ref", which has formed the lakes to the north of the railway line. One of these areas has been mostly kept as Shortwood Common, partly converted to a recreation ground, Ashford Park School, a cemetery and the Staines Reservoirs, the other is The Princes Club, Bedfont Lakes, spanning the northeast border; both areas are within the Metropolitan Green Belt buffer. The area includes postally much of Queen Mary Reservoir (which covered most of the parish of Littleton and almost none of historic Ashford) named after the wife of George V, Mary of Teck.
A large majority of land is devoted to suburban housing — in addition to recreational areas, green belt begins just across the border in Feltham with equestrianism in fields around Feltham Young Offenders' Institution, in Shortwood Common in the west and in the surrounding remnants of Ashford Common which give the eastern part of the town a reminder of the previous grazing common, in and around several recreation grounds such as Thames Water-sponsored Spelthorne Sports Club and the BP recreation ground.
In The Clumps, 37 houses in the Ashford post town, which has the postcode TW15, are in the London Borough of Hounslow, Greater London, alongside the Princes Club, watersports lakes partly in Ashford post town but mostly in East Bedfont. The other road with this status is the western half of Challenge Road, which has only business addresses.
Bronze Age artifacts have been found in Ashford (at 51.432708N, 0.485174W) giving rise to the name Bronzefield and a henge may have been present in that period. The settlement as indicated by its name but small assets just after the Norman Conquest was part agricultural settlement in Saxon times.
Ashford appears on the Middlesex Domesday map as Exeforde held by Robert, Count of Mortain. Its Domesday Assets were: 1 plough, meadow for 1 plough; a separate manor in 1066, it was part of the manor of Kempton in 1086. It rendered (in total): 14s 0d. Throughout the early medieval period the place was also referred to as Echelford.<ref name=bh/>
A stone bridge was built over the ford in 1789 by the Hampton and Staines Turnpike Trust, part of which is used as the rather scenic Fordbridge roundabout with its large weeping willow trees at the centre.<ref name=bh>Template:Cite web</ref>
Ashford Common the large area of common land in the south and east of the town was sold (enclosed) in 1809, before which this was a favourite ground with George III for the forces to put on military displays.<ref name=bh/>
While Ashford Manor Golf Club was established in 1902 at the property which was the Manor Farm House the actual large manorial estate and manor house that was held by Solomon Abraham Hart from 1870 to 1882Unknown extension tag "ref" had, before 1902 been broken up among many small owners and all trace of the manor house became lost.<ref name=bh/>Unknown extension tag "ref"However the title of lord of the manor was acquired by Scott Freeman in 1890 and after passing to another partner of the solicitors Horne, Engall Freeman came in more recent times to Russell Grant.<ref name=rg>Press article on Suffolk manors cites Russell Grant's ownership of the incorporeal hereditament, though not its land.</ref>
Ashford's housing stock is modern, with chiefly a mixture of detached and semi-detached housing built between 1885 and 1960. Unknown extension tag "ref"
In 1894, under the Local Government Act 1894, Ashford became part of the Staines Rural District of Middlesex. In 1930 the rural district was abolished to join Staines Urban District. In 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, Middlesex County Council was abolished and the urban district was transferred to Surrey. In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, Staines Urban District was abolished and its area combined with that of Sunbury-on-Thames Urban District to create the present-day borough of Spelthorne.
The present parish church of St Matthew was built in 1858 with financial assistance from the well-constructed neo-gothic Welsh School (in its later years, St David's School (defunct), occupied since 2010 by the senior school of St. James Independent School), north of the railway station. The rebuilt main structure (pictured in the header) kept older internal monuments and the south arch is 12th century.<ref name=smc>St Matthew's Church: Template:NHLE</ref> A daughter church to St Matthew was built on the corner of Stanwell Road and Woodthorpe Road, commencing in 1913, to serve the needs of the rapidly growing community of dwellings built around the railway station; its original design included a magnificent spire which would have been one of the most significant landmarks in the area but never built: nonetheless construction completed in 1928 when it was consecrated to Saint Hilda. Initially assigned the status of a conventional District under the Parish Church of St Matthew, St Hilda's Church is now an Ecclesiastical Parish. The easternmost parts of Ashford Common fall in the parish of St Saviour's Church, Sunbury.
An imposing Roman Catholic Church with whitewashed interior and gilded and crucifix-dominated chancel wall, all designed by Sir Sir Giles Gilbert Scott RA, which is dedicated to St Michael and central, close to the war memorial and driving test centre that serves a wide area a little along Fordbridge Road (the road to Laleham) the partially completed church was consecrated in 1928. The foundation stone of the building was laid in 1927. Further work to extend the building was carried out in 1938 but World War II intervened and the building was not completed to the original design until 1960.<ref name=smc/>
The high street - actually called Church Road - mainly comprises local businesses, including Co-op, Tesco Express Costa Coffee, a Sainsbury's, three funeral directors, many different eateries and hairdressers. Church Road is also home to the Ashford campus of Brooklands College (formerly Spelthorne College), Ashford Library and a prominent World War 2 memorial. Ashford, in common with most of London suburbia, has very low unemployment rates. A great deal of local employment is directly related to Heathrow Airport. BP International is another major employer. Many other residents work in London or in the Thames Valley. Main dealers of Ford, Citroën and Suzuki are along the town's outlying dual carriageways.
Ashford railway station lies on the Waterloo to Reading Line; it is served and managed by South West Trains stopping services from London Waterloo on two of its three routes, those to Windsor & Eton Riverside, which branches off after Staines and to Weybridge on the South West Main Line via the Chertsey Line. The third route forms the second Main Line run by the company, with faster trains available from the next stations east and west. The current railway services provider uses the present or past county variously throughout its stations and trains.<ref name=NRE>Template:Cite web</ref>
A few streets or parks north of the station is the dual A30 marking most the area's northern border - the traditional road from London to Land's End. As such the alignment of this road is WSW-ENE.
A straight, approximately WNW-ESE relief road was created by the Hampton and Staines Turnpike Trust, the A308 has become a dual carriageway from Sunbury Cross to Staines, at the junction with the A30. This road marks some of the town's southern border. Criss-crossed by more minor roads, access can be had throughout to these arterial roads which if including the A309 Hampton Court Way are connected to three motorways, the M25, M3 and A3(M).
The town is on two main Heathrow bus services provided by Abellio, to Walton-on-Thames and to Woking, on three services on routes to Staines under the Transport for London fare scheme, to Isleworth, Kingston upon Thames and Twickenham and more occasional routes, including special school services run by Abellio and other operators.
Ashford contains more primary than secondary schools as due to available land, three secondary schools were established in Sunbury-on-Thames, particularly the borough's religiously denominated senior schools, the The Bishop Wand Church of England School and St Paul's Catholic College.
- St Michael's Roman Catholic Primary School (4th best on benchmark of English and Maths in the county)
- Ashford Church of England Primary School
- Echelford Primary School followed by
- Spelthorne Junior School
- Ashford Park Primary School
- (above in order of best combined England and Maths benchmark score 2011 primary schools)
- Ashford Infants School
- Spelthorne Infant and Nursery School
- Clarendon primary school and children centre
- Thomas Knyvett College
- St James Senior Boys School, independent and selective
Ashford's further education college covers a wide area of Surrey for ages 16 to 18, Spelthorne College, which became a Brooklands College Campus in 2007.
Active sports clubs in Ashford competitive at many levels are: Ashford Town F.C., Ashford Casuals F.C. and Ashford Cricket Club. Clubs exist for hockey, tennis, table Tennis, aikido, karate, golf and bowls, with leading clubs in acrobatic gymnastics and sailing which offer professional coaching from Olympic-level coaches.
Ashford Manor Golf Club is described above, a golf course that has 18 holes; one other is in the borough, Sunbury Golf Course in Charlton.
Spelthorne Atoms (previously known as Ashford Atoms) are one of the best youth basketball teams in the country having been to the national finals on a number of occasions.
Spelthorne Gymnastics club is one of the premier clubs for Acrobatic Gymnastics in the World, having won eight World Title gold medals.
Ashford has one river, the River Ash, one of the six distributaries of the River Colne, Hertfordshire which runs in line with the Staines bypass under the Fordbridge roundabout at the far end of Fordbridge Road, its upper reach being the traditional border with Staines and then entering Laleham, passing close to the other side of the Queen Mary Reservoir.
Ashford is part of the Spelthorne constituency which has been represented by the Conservative Kwasi Kwarteng since 2010.<ref name=spelthorne>Template:Cite web</ref> At Surrey County Council, 3 of the 81 councillors relate to Ashford in whole or in part:<ref name=councillors>Template:Cite news</ref> Ashford is represented by a Conservative councillor, Staines South and Ashford West by a UKIP councillor and Sunbury Common and Ashford Common is represented by a Liberal Democrat councillor.<ref name=representatives>Template:Cite web</ref>
Ashford has 12 representatives on Spelthorne Borough Council, headquartered in Staines-upon-Thames:
|Member||Ward||Current party (if changed)|
|style="background-color: Template:Independent/meta/color" |||2011||Marion Bushnell||Ashford Common||Spelthorne Independent Party|
|style="background-color: Template:Conservative Party (UK)/meta/color" |||2011||Nick Gething||Ashford Common|
|style="background-color: Template:Independent/meta/color" |||2011||Frank Ayers||Ashford Common||Spelthorne Independent Party|
|style="background-color: Template:Conservative Party (UK)/meta/color" |||2011||Asif Ayub||Ashford East|
|style="background-color: Template:Conservative Party (UK)/meta/color" |||2011||Chris Frazer||Ashford East|
|style="background-color: Template:Conservative Party (UK)/meta/color" |||2011||Tony Mitchell||Ashford East|
|style="background-color: Template:Conservative Party (UK)/meta/color" |||2011||Marian Rough||Ashford North and Stanwell South|
|style="background-color: Template:Conservative Party (UK)/meta/color" |||2011||Joanne Sexton||Ashford North and Stanwell South|
|2011||Sam Budd||Ashford North and Stanwell South||Spelthorne Independent Party|
|2011||Gerald Forsbrey||Ashford Town||Spelthorne Independent Party|
|2011||Denise Grant||Ashford Town||Spelthorne Independent Party|
|2011||Caroline Spencer (Independent)||Ashford Town||Spelthorne Independent Party|
Demography and housing
|Output area||Detached||Semi-detached||Terraced||Flats and apartments||Caravans/temporary/mobile homes||Shared between households<ref name=ons/>|
|Spelthorne 3,5 and 6||2,388||4,380||1,672||2,618||7||0|
The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.
|Output area||Population||Households||% Owned outright||% Owned with a loan||hectares<ref name=ons/>|
|Spelthorne 3, 5 and 6||27,382||11,065||29.0%||33.9%||671|
The proportion of households in the settlement who owned their home outright compares to the regional average of 35.1%. The proportion who owned their home with a loan compares to the regional average of 32.5%. The remaining % is made up of rented dwellings (plus a negligible % of households living rent-free).
- Sarah Ayton, Olympic gold medallist in the Yngling sailing class, 2004 and 2008
- Nicholas Bond-Owen, child actor in George and Mildred.
- Bobby Davro,Template:Citation needed born Robert Nankeville, TV impressionist and actor
- Ray Dorset,Template:Citation needed singer-songwriter with Mungo Jerry
- Robert Evans, politician, Labour MEP 1994-2009
- Russell Grant, astrologer and stage actor, purchased the title of Lord of the Manor of Ashford in 1996<ref name=rg/>
- Roger Johnson, footballer
- Scott Rendell, footballer currently playing for League One team Wycombe Wanderers
- Sarah Webb, Olympic gold medallist in the Yngling sailing class, 2004 and 2008
- Spelbound, acrobatic group, 2010 Britain's Got Talent winners
- Norman Willis, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) 1984-92 and president of the European Trade Union Confederation 1991-93
- Dannie Bulman, footballer currently playing for League One team Crawley Town
- Greg Searle, Gold medallist in the coxless fours in rowing, 1992 Summer Olympics, two other Olympic medals, 1993 Coxed Pairs world champion.
- Anthony Burgess, Award winning author and Lord of Ashford, 1973-1975.
- Phil Younghusband, footballer, all-time high scorer for the Philippines national football team.
- Ruth Wilson, actress
Notes and References
- St Matthew's Church Website
- St Hilda's Church Website
- St Michael's Catholic Church Website
- Ashford Town Football Club
- Spelthorne Gymnastics
- Ashford Campus of Brooklands College
- Stained Glass Windows at St. David's School Chapel Ashford, Surrey