Hanwell and Southall both have surprisingly interesting historical associations. The adjoining Middlesex parishes are linked by the Uxbridge Road, formerly the Oxford Road, which was connected to London. Hanwell and Southall were both reliant on agriculture right up to the end of the Victorian period. It was during the Edwardian era, and particularly after the First World War, that Southall began to change to an industrial district - greatly facilitated by the good transport links such as the canal and railway networks. Hanwell never industrialised to the same extent as Southall, and remains far more suburban in character to this day.
Hanwell is linked in the popular imagination with Charlie Chaplin, who went to school at the Central London District School. Contrasting images of the school as it was and how it now appears are shown in this book. Southall has the distinction of having the oldest manor house in Greater London - dating from the sixteenth century and restored. The Middlesex County Asylum, dating to 1831, was also in the Southall parish. The building still remains and is currently undergoing restoration. The importance of the railways and the local connection with Isambard Kingdom Brunel is dealt with, as well as the importance of the Grand Junction Canal in speeding the growth of industry in the Southall area. Hanwell amalgamated with Ealing in 1926 and Southall in 1965, but they still retain their own identities in the present day, as they did a hundred years ago.
Paul Howard Lang is worked for Ealing Library Service since 1966 and has been hospital librarian at St Bernard's Hospital since 1982. After carrying out research into the history of the hospital, he developed a great interest for local history and has subsequently given many talks on a variety of topics to a large number of societies. An avid postcard collector, Paul has three published books to his credit.