The borough council was controlled by Labour from 1971 until 2006. Labour lost control of the council in the 2006 local elections and, subsequently, the Conservative group have formed an alliance with the Community group councillors which, barring any political differences, will form the executive until the elections in 2010 when Labour regained control.
Districts in Hounslow
It includes the areas:
- East Bedfont
- Grove Park
- Hounslow West
- Lower Feltham
- North Hyde
- Spring Grove
The various electoral wards of Hounslow are divided up into 5 Areas, each of which is afforded a measure of self-government:
- Chiswick Homefields
- Chiswick Riverside
- Turnham Green
- Central Hounslow
- Hounslow Central
- Hounslow Heath
- Hounslow South
- Hounslow West
- Isleworth and Brentford
- Osterley and Spring Grove
- Heston and Cranford
- Heston East
- Heston Central
- Heston West
- Feltham North
- Feltham West
- Hanworth Park
The town of Hounslow, which has existed since the 13th Century, is located at the centre of the Borough of Hounslow. The name Hounslow means 'Hund's mound'; the personal name Hund is followed by the Old English hlaew meaning mound or barrow. (The mound may have been his burial place.) It was recorded in the Domesday Book as Honeslaw.
The borough was formed in 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, by the merger of the area of the former Brentford and Chiswick Urban District, Feltham Urban District and the Heston and Isleworth Urban District (which held borough status as did Brentford and Chiswick) of Middlesex.
This outer borough of Greater London lies on the Middlesex bank of the River Thames and was the site of the first stop on an important coach route to Southampton, Bath, Bristol and Exeter. The A30 "Great South West Road" trunk road, which runs down to Penzance in Cornwall, starts in the borough. Hounslow town developed on either side of the main Great West Road from London to the West of England, causing a large number of inns to be built to serve the travellers. A few, such as The Bell retain their names, although the buildings have largely been replaced. The Bell marks the former junction of the coaching routes. Historic milestones are preserved on the Staines Road (now re-numbered as the A315 but joining the "old" A30 again just inside the borough's western boundary)
Hounslow grew rapidly in the latter half of the 20th century due to other travellers. This time it was mainly due to its connection to Heathrow Airport, though in fact the aviation links date back to the early 1900s when some of London's earliest airfields were sited here because of the extremely flat terrain. The Great West Road, which runs from the start of the M4 motorway at Chiswick westwards towards Heathrow, at one time contained some of the most famous manufacturing names in the world, including Firestone, Global Gillette and Coty, Inc.. As a result, the area became known as the "Golden Mile". Few of these factory sites remain today, but the Great West Road is still home to many prestigious names (see "famous companies" below).
- Stamford Brook: District line, Richmond and Ealing Broadway branches;
- Turnham Green: District line, Richmond and Ealing Broadway branches and Piccadilly line (early mornings and late evenings only);
- Gunnersbury: District line, Richmond branch;
- Boston Manor: Piccadilly line, Heathrow branch;
- Osterley: Piccadilly line, Heathrow branch;
- Hounslow East: Piccadilly line, Heathrow branch;
- Hounslow Central: Piccadilly line, Heathrow branch; and
- Hounslow West: Piccadilly line, Heathrow branch.
In addition, a further three stations lie just outside the borough's northern boundaries. Chiswick Park and Acton Town (both in the London Borough of Ealing) and Hatton Cross Station (in the London Borough of Hillingdon) serve the borough's residents.
As well as the Underground, three National Rail lines serve the London Borough of Hounslow: the North London Line (part of the London Overground network), the Hounslow Loop Line and the mainline from Staines, Windsor and Reading into Waterloo Station which runs services from Feltham, both of which are operated by South West Trains.
The borough's railway stations are as follows:
- on the London Overground - formerly the North London Line: Gunnersbury.
- on the Hounslow Loop Line: Chiswick, Kew Bridge, Brentford, Isleworth, Syon Lane, and Hounslow.
- on the mainline: Feltham.
- Hugh Grant, grew up in Chiswick
- Ant and Dec, television presenters, resident in Chiswick
- Phil Collins, former drummer and singer with Genesis, was born and educated in Chiswick.
- Asif Mohammed Hanif, believed to have been the first suicide bomber in Israel from the UK, came from Hounslow.
- William Hogarth: the 18th century artist owned a country retreat in Chiswick, which is now a museum. See Hogarth's House.
- Patsy Kensit: (actress) grew up in Hounslow
- Rula Lenska, actress resident in Chiswick
- M.I.A.: Sri Lanka-raised singer was born in the borough
- Dame Helen Mirren, actress born in Chiswick, star of the Prime Suspect detective series.
- Jimmy Page, guitarist for legendary rock band Led Zeppelin, was born and raised in Heston
- Captain Matthew Webb was the first man to swim the English Channel and lived in East Bedfont from 1880 until his death in 1883 whilst trying to swim the rapids below the Niagara Falls
- Olivia Hallinan: Currently playing "Kim" in Sugar Rush
- The Bluetones: '90s Britpop band
- Elvis Costello
- Mungo Jerry: One hit wonder with 'In the summertime' was from Bedfont
- Charles Hawtrey: Carry On Films comedian grew up in Hounslow
- Jay Sean: Asian R'nB Artist lives in Heston with his family
- Ian Gillan, hard rock vocalist of Deep Purple
The borough is home to the headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline, and British Sky Broadcasting's studio complex, both based in Brentford's 'Golden Mile'. Fuller's Griffin Brewery is also in the borough, in Chiswick.
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