Greenford (/ˈɡrnfərd/) is a large suburb in the London Borough of Ealing in Greater London, England, lying 11 miles (18 km) west from Charing Cross in Central London. It was an ancient parish in the historic county of Middlesex.


Greenford Broadway
Location within Greater London
Population46,787 (2011 Census. Greenford Broadway, Greenford Green and North Greenford Wards)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ135825
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtUB6 (shared with Perivale)
Dialling code020
EU ParliamentLondon
UK Parliament
London Assembly

Greenford is served by Greenford Station (London Underground Central Line and Greenford branch of the Great Western Railway mainline service). South Greenford mainline station (on the A40 Western Avenue, also on the Greenford branch of the GWR) is actually in Perivale.[2] Neither station is in Greenford Town Centre (Greenford Broadway), which instead is served by many local buses.

Nearby places include Yeading, Hanwell, Perivale, Southall, Northolt, Ealing, Sudbury, Harrow and Wembley. The most prominent landmarks in the suburb are Horsenden Hill, 279 feet (85 m) above sea level; the small Parish Church of Holy Cross (14th century); and Betham House, built by Edward Betham (c. 1780).

Greenford covers a large area bearing its name, including over two miles through Greenford Road which gives it three distinct localities: North Greenford, Greenford Green, and Greenford Broadway - this is also reflected in the names of the electoral wards. Though a separate "town" within the borough of Ealing,[3][4] the Royal Mail includes Perivale within the Greenford post area and as such the two share the UB6 postcode.


The name is first recorded in 848 as Grenan forda. It is formed from the Old English 'grēne' and 'ford' and means 'place at the green ford'. Greenford was known as Great Greenford in order to distinguish it from Little Greenford, which is now known as Perivale (Greenford and Perivale, though different places, still share the UB6 postal code). The affixes 'Magna' and 'Parva' have also been used to denote the difference.[5]



Greenford is considered to be birthplace of the modern organic chemical industry, as it was at William Perkin's chemical factory in North Greenford, by the Grand Union Canal, that the world's first aniline dye was discovered in March 1856. Perkin called his amazing discovery 'mauveine'. Today there is a blue plaque marking the spot in Oldfield Lane North, just south of the Black Horse public house. Local anecdote says that Queen Elizabeth I would only eat bread made from wheat grown in Greenford, and until 2013/14 Greenford was the home to the Hovis factory.[6] The former Rockware glassworks on the canal is commemorated by Rockware Avenue. Greenford formed part of Greenford Urban District from 1894 to 1926 and was then absorbed by the Municipal Borough of Ealing.

J. Lyons and Co.

Post First World War, tea blender and food manufacturer J. Lyons and Co. were looking for a secondary site on which to expand production beyond Cadby Hall, Hammersmith. In 1921 they bought the first piece of an eventual 63 acres (25 ha) site, due to its location close to good transport links from both the Grand Union Canal and the Great Western Railway's Great Western Main Line, and the West Coast Main Line and onwards to the Midlands at Willesden Junction.

The factory officially opened in July 1921, with the first single-storey buildings known as "Zig-Zag" due to their northern light-aligned windows allowing maximum light into the production area. There were steam and electrical power plants on site, which powered both the plant as well as the staff canteen and medical facilities, accessible to all plant employees and their dependents.[7] Transport docks and a canal basin had been developed, allowing shipment of tea and coffee directly from London Docks into HM Customs excise controlled bonded warehouses. The extensive onsite railway infrastructure allowed precise positioning of heavy raw goods into the factory, as well as the extraction of finished product. Lyons bought their own steam shunters to move wagons between the GWR exchange sidings and the factory system.[7]

Lyons quickly became Greenford's biggest employer. A later pioneer in electronic machines and computing, Lyons deployed the latest factory automation technology, making Greenford a showplace that was regularly visited by the media, academics, competitors and royalty, with more than one visit by King George V and Queen Mary. In the 1950s, the site developed the breakfast cereal Ready Brek.[7] Areas of the site not initially developed for factory use were landscaped, with many trees planted. As the factory developed these diminished, particularly after the development of the Lyons Maid Bridge Park factory in the 1950s, and the new administration block in 1971.[7]

After the merger of Lyons with Allied Bakeries in the 1980s, and the focus of the new Allied Domecq business to focus on spirits, with the sell-off of the businesses associated with the factory, the need for the facility dwindled. Redeveloped from 1998, today it is known as Lyon Way Industrial Estate.[7]

Art and culture

Five hundred yards north east from William Perkin's dye factory was a triangular field in which he kept horses. On this ground was built the Oldfield Tavern public house, which became a popular venue for a rock group called the Detours, who met a drummer there called Keith Moon. On Thursday 20 February 1964 they were introduced to the audience of the Oldfield Tavern as the Who.[8][9] (The tavern has not survived, however, and has since been replaced by a small block of flats and a Texaco petrol station). Andy Locke, Dave Kerr-Clemenson and Wal Scott were all in Edison Lighthouse, and with chart-topping Love Grows all came from Greenford.


Greenford (parish) population
1881 538
1891 545
1901 672
1911 843
1921 1,199
Absorbed by Ealing parish
source: UK census



The A40, a major dual-carriageway, serves the area.


Greenford is served by Sudbury Hill station on the Piccadilly line and Greenford on the Central line.


Greenford and South Greenford stations are served by Great Western Railway services on the Greenford branch line to West Ealing.


Greenford has the following bus routes travelling through it: 92, 95, 105, 282, 395, 487, E1, E2, E3, E5, E6, E7, E9, E10, E11, H17 and N7.

Neighbouring areas


The grounds of the former Ravenor Farm has become Greenford's largest park. It is the venue for the annual Greenford Carnival, which is held every July.[18]

Until 1910, the land that formed Ravenor Farm/Ravenor Park was a detached part of Northolt parish, with the tithes to the land going to St. Mary's Church, Northolt and not the Greenford parish of Holy Cross.

The former Ravenor Farm buildings in Oldfield Lane South are now home to the London Motorcycle Museum.

There are also the Northala hills near Northolt.

Sport & leisure

Greenford has two Non-League football teams London Tigers F.C. who play at the Avenue Park Stadium and North Greenford United F.C. who play at Berkeley Fields.

The Greenford Park Trotting Track was a pioneer speedway venue and open meetings were staged 1928–1930.[19] The track would be called a long track now, as it was of the order of half a mile/800 metres per lap. The trotting track was situated on the south side of Birkbeck Avenue, just north of the A40 Western Avenue.

Heritage Centre
London Motorcycle Museum
Places to visit.

Places of interest

Greenford Heritage Centre: a cornucopia of British-made domestic paraphernalia of 20th century is on display – a variety of household items that were commonly found in British homes and gardens in the past.[20]

London Motorcycle Museum is the capital's only motorbike museum, opening in 1999 with a display of around 60 exhibits, and now has around 200 exhibits on display including a wide range of bikes & memorabilia as well as knowledgeable staff.


Significant local businesses include: British Bakeries, IBM, Aurora (TV Lighting), Panavision, Panalux, Wincanton (Distribution Centre) and Royal Mail (Regional distribution centre). KBR has an office in Greenford.[21]

Political representation

Greenford is part of the Ealing North UK parliamentary constituency, represented since 1997 by Labour MP Stephen Pound.

Greenford is made up of three and a half electoral wards for local council elections: Greenford Broadway, Greenford Green, North Greenford and half of the Lady Margaret ward, which is situated on the south side of Greenford Broadway. These wards all elect councillors to Ealing Council. Ealing Council is currently run by a Labour administration.

Political status of Ealing Council after the May 2014 local elections:

Greenford is in the London Assembly constituency of Ealing and Hillingdon which has one assembly member: Onkar Sahota (Labour), who was elected in May 2012.

Notable people


  1. "Greenford Wards populations 2011". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. Ealing Council. "Perivale ward map" (PDF).
  3. Leary, Gemma. "Perivale". Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  4. Ealing Council. "London Borough of Ealing: Guide for Residents".
  5. Mills, D. (2000). Oxford Dictionary of London Place Names. Oxford.
  6. Bradbury, Poppy (20 November 2012). "Hovis to close Greenford distribution centre". Get West London. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  7. "The First Food Empire: A History of J. Lyons & Co". Peter Bird. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
  8. Joe McMichael, Jack Lyons (2004) The Who Concert File. Omnibus Press. ISBN 1-84449-009-2. Accessed 2010-06-25
  9. John Atkins (2000) The Who on record: a critical history, 1963–1998 McFarland, ISBN 0-7864-0609-7
  10. Council, Ealing. "Ealing Council - Greenford". Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  11. Leary, Gemma. "High schools". Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  12. Archived 25 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  13. "Welcome – William Perkin C of E High School". 18 May 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  14. "Ravenor Primary School | Reasoning – Responsible – Resilient – Resourceful – Reflective". Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  15. "Horsenden Primary School". 11 July 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  16. Ealing Council Greenford Carnival.
  17. "Greenford Speedway". Greyhound
  18. Ealing Gazette (2008-09-19) What's on at Greenford.
  19. "Locations Archived 8 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine." KBR. Retrieved on 13 January 2008.
  20. "Most popular people born in Greenford". IMDb. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
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