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If you ask Google, one of the most interesting facts about Hounslow is that it is located near Heathrow airport. However, Hounslow has much more on offer than just simply being near one of the busiest airports in the world. In fact, Hounslow has a very fascinating past that began almost a thousand years ago.
Hounslow was mentioned in the Domesday Book. At this time, though, Hounslow was a very small settlement. There was certainly something in Hounslow at the time. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been important enough to mention in the Domesday Book, but sadly, we aren’t too sure what was there.
We do know that during this time (in the 1000s), Hounslow was largely woodland and forest, and this actually lasted until the 19th century. There were a lot of manor houses in the area at the time (probably owned by wealthy Londoners who used their country homes to escape the smoke of the city.
The name Hounslow is a couple of old English words merged together. The words mean ‘hound’s mound’. Mound burials feature very heavily in old England. So it is likely that the ‘hound’s mound’ was a burial site of someone very important with the name or nickname of Hound. It may also have been the resting place of a chieftain’s beloved pet dog. Sadly, this is lost to history, but the legacy of the furry friend or chieftain lives on in the name.
As we mentioned, much of Hounslow was covered in woodland right up until the 19th century, with manor houses and stately homes dotted around the area. Chiswick House (built in 1729), Syon House (built in 1547-52), Boston Manor House (built in 1623) and Osterley Park House (built sometime around 1570), to name a few.
However, Hounslow is a much more recent creation. In fact, it was created in 1965 when three borough councils merged to form one. The area is now governed by Hounslow London Borough Council.
There are lots of really fascinating places to see in Hounslow, many of which offer a glimpse into what life was like when Hounslow was woodland. Most notably, if you would like to look into the history of Hounslow and see how the rich made it their playground is Osterley Park and House. The stately home and its perfectly landscaped gardens really transformed Hounslow woodland at the time, and the evidence is still on show today.
If you are into music, there is also the fantastic Musical Museum in Hounslow which offers a beautifully curated story of how people captured and listened to music over four hundred years. Some of the earliest musical instruments and some iconic musical instruments from recent memory are on display.
Hounslow has a very tantalising past. Who was the person that Hounslow was named after? Were they an important chief of a long-lost tribe? Or is Hounslow perhaps named after the burial site of someone’s beloved dog?