Source: Comments submitted in January 2012 in response to a planning application and conversations with neighbours.
We enjoy living in THR and Silver Crescent, we take pleasure in the character and attractiveness of our two roads and appreciate that we live in a Conservation Area. We want that character and attractiveness preserved and enhanced, not diminished.
The “miniature estate” of Silver Crescent and Thorney Hedge Road is a tree-lined crescent which provides an unexpected retreat from the busy Chiswick High Road (Conservation Area Character Appraisal Statement for Thorney Hedge CA, 2006). Our end of the High Road has become even busier since that statement, with large commercial buildings on either side of us (Chiswick Business Park – additional buildings, Moran Hotel – conversion from offices and stalled extension, Chiswick Green – new offices.) The peaceful retreat of our close-knit crescent is therefore even more precious to us.
We feel that our little “estate” has a clear identity and real sense of place; it is somewhere where people put down roots. Its mainly terraced houses are home to a wide range of people including a significant number of long-established residents and many families with young children. People so love living here that several have waited for opportunities to move within the street as growing families required more space, rather than moving elsewhere. There is both a sense of stability and a spirit of community engendered by the character of the crescent, its houses and its inhabitants. Community activities have included two very successful street parties in 2010 and 2012, a picnic in the park and caroling in the crescent, which goes from strength to strength. At our street party in 2012 we had a small history display with some old photos and extracts from the 1911 Census showing who lived where on our streets at that time.
Some general street history
Sources: William John Tomlinson, Chiswick Builder; Brentford and Chiswick Local History Society
Borough Planning Officer Report on Proposed Designation of Thorney Hedge Conservation Area* (2002) and Appraisal Report (2006)
Abstract of the Title of Mrs C M Browne to freehold of 67 Thorney Hedge Road
* WCGS contributed to this report
Many of the houses were built at the end of the 19th century but there are some exceptions including the terrace of 67, 69 and 70 Thorney Hedge Road. William John Tomlinson (1810 – 1893) was a house-builder and property owner who was involved in developing much of Gunnersbury, including the first public house for his estate, the Sir John Bull (1853) now The Gunnersbury. In 1887 he had 12 acres in Silver Crescent and Thorney Hedge Road and, while William was too old to build, he and his family developed much of this land. The streets were developed from south to north with, for example, the terrace of 62-80 Silver Crescent being built in 1896 (based on title deeds for 80)†. These properties are very similar to those at 63 and 65 THR. William Tomlinson’s son, Richard Tomlinson became an architect and designed the Baptist Chuch in Wellesley Road as well as some of the properties in Silver Crescent.
By 1897, while all the Victorian houses at the northern end of the two streets had been built, there remained two plots (lots 30 and 31) between 65 and 71 THR. Looking at this section of the street, it is possible to speculate that the Tomlinsons had originally intended a pair of houses (to be numbered 67 and 69) to match the pair at 73 and 75, framing 71 at the apex of the crescent. However, in July1897 Richard Tomlinson of St Margaret’s House, Gunnersbury, sold these two plots to Helen York of 23 Oxford Road, Chiswick. This may have been because, when William John died in 1893, heavy death duties were due on his extensive estate.
† The 1896 OS map does not show these properties but it is likely that the survey on which this map was based was carried out somewhat earlier.
Terrace of 67, 69 and 70 Thorney Hedge Road
After a period of nearly 30 years, Helen York, now of Sea View Farm, Seasalter, Kent sold the two plots in July 1925 to Alfred Samuel Hopkins, builder of 62 Silver Crescent, Gunnersbury. Mr Hopkins built the terrace of three houses between July 1925 and April 1926. On 9th April 1926 he sold by Conveyance the freehold dwelling at 67 Thorney Hedge Road to Mrs Catherine Mary Browne of 380 High Road, Chiswick. Conveyance shows a terrace of three houses numbered 67, 69 and 70 and a row of 6 garages along the northern boundary next to No 70.
When Richard Tomlinson, as owner of the Thorneyhedge (sic) Estate, sold the two plots in 1897, a Covenant included a range of binding stipulations. These included that
- private dwellings only shall be erected (although a church, chapel, public library, hall or other public charitable institution – except hospital, infirmary, lunatic asylum or workhouse – might be considered)
- no house or other building shall be erected until the elevations shall have been submitted to and approved in writing by the vendor
- no lot or building erected on any lot shall be used …nor for any purpose which shall be a nuisance or annoyance to the vendor, owner or occupier of any adjacent property
Comment It is clear that Richard Tomlinson was keen to ensure that the quality and character of Thorney Hedge Road and Silver Crescent would not be harmed by the way in which these plots would be used. We are sure that he would be delighted that his miniature estate is now a significant part of the Thorney Hedge Conservation Area. Members of the Tomlinson family still live in Gunnersbury and WCGS is pleased to count some amongst past and current members of the Society. Such personal links with our neighbourhood’s history make it really come alive.
Contributed by: Marie Rabouhans, March 2014