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Overlooked Britain: Heathrow's historic hinterland

Regulars | By Lucinda Lambton


To be in Heathrow is to be in the historic bosom of the British Isles’ is a mantra I intone daily and with delight. ‘With its pure sweet air of antiquity, in interest it is unapproachable in the land.’

To be in Heathrow is to be in the historic bosom of the British Isles’ is a mantra I intone daily and with delight. ‘With its pure sweet air of antiquity, in interest it is unapproachable in the land.’ These words were written in the 1930s, about the spot where Heathrow Airport is now, by historian James George Joseph Penderel-Brodhurst, when Hounslow Heath was beautiful and interesting. Nor is it bereft of such qualities today. Rural and architectural miracles of survival remain around the entire perimeter of the airport. One is bang in its midst. Mere yards from the runways, hard by a galvanised, chicken-wire fence, you find a George III cannon, marking the first inch measured for the Ordnance Survey map, on 17th August, 1784. The inaugural ceremony, with the king himself coming to marvel, was one of the great spectacles of the day. Within spitting distance of the...


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