The early history of Hayes is one of agricultural activity, with the Archbishop of Canterbury presiding over it as lord of the manor. The village's quiet rural existence continued barely changed for centuries, until the arrival of the Grand Union Canal in 1794 and then the railway in 1864. Then began a steady growth of industry in and around Hayes, with brickmaking in particular playing a key part in the economy of the area. Despite this, the village still had a population of only around 2,000 in the early 1900s. The real expansion of the area began in the twentieth century, with the arrival of a diverse range of industries, from electrical technologies and aviation to confectionery. With business booming, it was essential that the new workers had somewhere to live, and so Hayes as we know it today began to emerge from this sleepy rural village.
Philip Sherwood is a keen local historian. He is publications editor for the Hayes & Harlington Local History Society, and former chairman of both the local branch of CPRE and the local residents' association.
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