Southall Manor House is Southall’s oldest building. It used to tower over the surrounding houses when it was first built, the centre of a small agricultural economy in the countryside, miles from the bustle of London. It is a grade two listed building and one of a very small number of Elizabethan manor houses still surviving.
The manor’s grounds were once extensive and they still include a fountain and a pond. It was built, or possibly rebuilt, in about 1587 for Richard Awsiter, whose family were lords of the manor of Norwood for centuries. The frontage and original chimneys still show off its Tudor heritage but, over the centuries, parts of the building have been added to and altered so much by the house’s procession of wealthy owners that a great deal of the current structure is not original.
For example, it was purchased by William Welch in 1821. He had already bought the lease to Southall market. The house was in a poor condition so he had it restored, and added a clock tower and a west wing.
Other owners came and went until 1912 when it was sold to Southall-Norwood Urban District Council for £6,100. Southall Council ceased to exist in 1965 and it came under the jurisdiction of Ealing Council.
There have been concerns about the state of the building and its grounds in recent times, but the council promised last year to repair the house and improve the space behind it. An ongoing project is now under way.
This originally appeared winter 2011