ELLE Group visits to Southall
22nd August 2023
We were lucky enough to be accompanied on this trip by member Ray Currier, who was brought up in Southall and offered many insights into its recent history. He had also researched the area and was able to regale us with many interesting facts about its past and present. Click here for his brief history of Southall.
The prevailing cultural influence is apparent from the moment you step off the train since the station name is also written in Punjabi under the roundels. The first thing to catch our eye was a building impersonating a donjon, formerly a water tower but now, inevitably, a block of flats. There is plenty of new development in progress on former gasworks land now identified (by the builder) as the Green Quarter. One of many Sikh temples is located right next to the station, as is a large Indian vegetarian restaurant. The top of the building bears the sign of a former pub, Glassy Junction, supposedly once the only one in London to accept rupees. The area, once known as 'Little India' is vibrant and colourful, but also home to the Grade II listed Southall Manor House, one of the oldest remaining Tudor houses in West London. It was supposedly being refitted for use as a community centre but is currently closed due to lack of funds – a familiar, sad story. We visited two Sikh temples or Gudwaras, the largest and newest of which was the Sri Guru Singh Sabha. All visitors are welcome as long as they remove their shoes and cover their heads, and each has a kitchen which will serve simple, cooked food, free of charge, to anyone who goes there. Some members of the second group to visit (22nd August) accepted the invitation and had their lunch there.
It is a short walk from King Street down to our old friend the Grand Union Canal - a calm and peaceful antidote to the noisy throng of the town centre. From here you can walk eastwards to Hanwell, our previous destination, or west towards Hayes and Harlington, a future one.