West Drayton
St Martin's church
West Drayton is located in Greater London
West Drayton
West Drayton
Location within Greater London
OS grid referenceTQ065795
• Charing Cross14.8 mi (23.8 km) E
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtUB7
Dialling code01895
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°30′15″N 0°27′53″W / 51.5043°N 0.4646°W / 51.5043; -0.4646

West Drayton is a suburban town in the London Borough of Hillingdon. It was an ancient parish in the county of Middlesex and from 1929 was part of the Yiewsley and West Drayton Urban District, which became part of Greater London in 1965. The settlement is near the Colne Valley Regional Park and its centre lies 1.9 miles (3 km) north of Heathrow Airport.

Traditionally the Parish of West Drayton covers 3.4 square kilometres (1.3 sq mi). In 1901 the population of the civil parish was 984.[1] In the 2011 Census 14,370 people were living in the West Drayton electoral ward.[2][3] The ward has three councillors in the Hillingdon Borough Council.[1][4] The vast majority of the housing in West Drayton is mid-20th century.


In 939 the area was known as Draegtun. Tun/ton is cognate with the later form town, but originally implied any kind of farmstead of more than one family. Dray is cognate with draught (as in draft horse/a dray) implying a portage/slope used for dragging loads, or simply notable use of the dragged plough, quite possibly given about 13 other examples in England simply land under till.[5] It is recorded as Draitone in the 1086 Domesday Book, and as Westdrayton in 1465.[6] It is thought that the West may have been added to differentiate the village from Drayton near Ealing.[7]


West Drayton lies to the south of the Great Western Main Line which run east–west, with Yiewsley lying to the north of the railway line. It lies on the north side of the M4 motorway with the village of Harmondsworth to the south, and is northwest of M4 junction 4 (Heathrow Airport spur). This intersects with the A408 (for Stockley Park and Uxbridge) which forms West Drayton's eastern boundary with Hayes until the Heathrow Express railway line forms this boundary at Prologos Park Heathrow. In this area lay the former hamlet of Stockley, known until 1912 as Starveall or Starvhall.[8] On the eastern side of West Drayton is the county boundary with Buckinghamshire.

West Drayton railway station in Yiewsley is served by the Elizabeth line and Great Western Railway (GWR). The Elizabeth line operates a stopping service between Abbey Wood and Reading and GWR operates a stopping service between London Paddington and Didcot Parkway.

West Drayton has five primary schools, West Drayton Academy, Laurel Lane Primary School, St Martin's CE Primary School, St Catherine Catholic Primary School and Cherry Lane Primary School. The community is served by the Park Academy West London secondary school which is located on Park View Road in Yiewsley.

The Green

West Drayton has at its heart in the west of the parish a conservation area, The Green, along which are many buildings protected under UK law by grade II and II* listing – residential and commercial.


As of the 2011 census, 57% of the population was White British.[9] Living in the ward were 14,370 people according to the 2011 Census.[2]

The decennial censuses between 1801 and 1901 each show a rise in population and a low population density. From 1801 when the population of the almost identically sized ecclesiastical parish (civil parishes were invented later in the 19th century) was 515; to 1901 when the population of the civil parish was 984.[1]

Local Government Elections

West Drayton ward 2022 - 3 councillors returned to Hillingdon Council
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Jan Sweeting 2,111
Labour Scott Myles Farley 1,968
Labour Mohammed Shofiul Islam 1,911
Conservative Kelly Martin 1,428
Conservative Sanjiv Bisnauthsing 1,312
Conservative Hanna Ahmed Ali 1,296
Green Sarah West 315
Green Iain John Bruce 272
Green Marcus Smith 209
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Carlos Barros 154
Turnout 34.07%
Labour hold Swing
Labour hold Swing
Labour hold Swing


See also: Elthorne Hundred and Middlesex

The St Paul's Era

The first record of West Drayton is from 939 when Æthelstan, King of the English, gave the Manor of West Drayton to the Dean and Chapter of Cathedral church of St Pauls, recorded in the Cartularium Saxonicum.[10] In the 1086 Domesday Book, West Drayton was assessed at ten hides with land suitable for six ploughs.[11] The Parish had 17 landowners which indicated a population of less than 100.[12] In 1461 a separate smaller manor, Drayton and Colham Garden Manor was first recorded, lying between Swan road and Colham Mill road.[13] Both manors shared St Martin's Parish Church. Until 1525 West Drayton Manor was managed on behalf of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's by an appointment known as a Firmarius who was responsible for the day-to-day running of the estate.[12]

The Paget Era

William Paget, 1st Baron Paget.

From 1525 St Paul's began leasing West Drayton Manor to tenants. From 1537 the lessee of the manor was William Paget who held high office of state in the court of Henry VIII. On 1 April 1546, the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's released the Manor of West Drayton to the Crown and two weeks later Henry granted the manor to the now knighted Sir William Paget.[12] In the same year Henry granted Paget six manors in his native Staffordshire.[14] Henry died in January 1547. Paget was made a peer of the realm as Lord Paget of Beaudesert by Edward VI in 1549.[14]

While he was leasing the manor William Paget used the existing building of St Pauls which was situated near St Martin's Parish church. Paget described the building as his "cotage at Drayton".[12] Once owning the manor he built a new manor house, completed by 1549, which occupied the western end of the churchyard. The Manor grounds contained the Church, ornamental gardens, stables, a dovecote and other outbuildings and was enclosed by a high brick wall and two gatehouses.[13] The wall and one of the gatehouses can still be seen today. The construction of the manor house and grounds resulted in the demolition of villagers' homes on Church Road and building on the graves of generations of West Drayton people in the churchyard. In addition to this, Paget enclosed 150 acres of common land to add to his demesne. In 1550 Paget legalised his position by obtaining a royal pardon for his actions.[12] The loss of the Parish churchyard was compensated for by the granting of an alternative burial site which was situated on the eastern side of where Drayton Hall is today. The burial site was used until 1888.[12]

Gatehouse to the former West Drayton Manor House

After serving as Lord Privy Seal under Mary I, poor health meant William Paget played little part in public life after the accession of Queen Elizabeth I in 1558, although as a Privy Councillor his advice was often sought.[14] He died in West Drayton on 9 June 1563.[14] He was succeeded by his son Henry, who died five years later without male issue. Henry's brother Thomas became the 3rd Baron Paget in 1568.

Thomas Paget (1544–1590) and his brother Charles were both devout Roman Catholics, and would not conform to the Protestant religion of Queen Elizabeth I. Aided by Henry Percy, Paget fled to Paris on the uncovering of the Throckmorton Plot in November 1583, joining Charles who had been in exile there since 1581.[15] The failed conspiracy's plan was for an invasion of England by French forces under the command of Henry, Duke of Guise, financed by Philip II of Spain. English Catholics would then rise up and depose Elizabeth, placing Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots on the English throne.

After his flight to France Elizabeth issued a proclamation commanding Thomas Paget to return to England. In June 1584 a formal demand for the surrender of Paget was made to Henry III, King of France through the English ambassador, which was not carried out. In 1587 he was attainted of treason by act of parliament. Paget received a pension of 180 crowns per month from Philip II and died in Brussels in early 1590.[16]

In 1587, with Thomas Paget being attainted, his lands including West Drayton were confiscated by the Crown.[13] Elizabeth granted the manor to her Lord Chancellor, Sir Christopher Hatton for life. Hatton died in 1591 and from 1592 the manor was leased to her Lord Chamberlain, George Carey. Carey became 2nd Baron Hunsdon in 1596 and entertained Elizabeth at the West Drayton Manor House in October 1602.[12]

In the next year 1603, both Elizabeth and George Carey died. With Elizabeth's death, James I, son of Mary Queen of Scots acceded to the English throne. In 1604 James restored the Paget family lands and honours to Thomas Paget's son William.[13] William like James I was a Protestant and had taken part in the successful Anglo-Dutch capture of Cadiz (Gades) in 1596 with Admiral Charles Howard, Sir Walter Raleigh and Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.[17][18] It is believed William Paget received possession of West Drayton Manor in 1610.[13] In 1612 William Paget became an 'Adventurer' (shareholder) and member of the Council of the Virginia Company (London Company) and the Somers Isles Company. The Paget Parish and Paget Island in Bermuda are named after him. He died on 29 August 1629 and is buried in St Martin's Churchyard.

William Paget's son, William Paget, 5th Baron Paget, (1609–1678) was among the Peers who petitioned King Charles I on 18 August 1640 to summon a parliament for the redress of grievances. However at the start of the Civil War he did not wish to take up arms against the king and joined him at York in June 1642.[19] He raised a regiment of foot which fought for the King at the battle of Edgehill on 23 Oct 1642. In 1643/44 he was with the King at Oxford.[19] Paget had his estates sequestered by Parliament and was fined £500 for supporting the King.[12] He died in October 1678 and is buried in St Martin's Churchyard. William's son, William Paget, 6th Baron Paget, (1637–1713) was English Ambassador to Vienna (1689–1692) and Ambassador-Extraordinary to Constantinople (1692–1702). He participated in the negotiations which resulted in the Treaty of Karlowitz and was instrumental in the peace between Muscovy, Venice and the Ottomans.[20]

In 1714 William's son, Henry Paget the 7th Lord Paget,(1663–1743), was created 1st Earl of Uxbridge by George I. Paget was a member of the Privy Council and The town of Uxbridge, Massachusetts is named in his honour. He died in 1743 and was succeeded by his grandson, Henry Paget, 2nd Earl of Uxbridge (1719–1769). In 1755 Dawley House was acquired and the West Drayton Manor house was demolished around this time. Henry Paget died childless in 1769 and was buried in St Martin's Churchyard. The title of 9th Baron Padget was given to Henry Bayly whose name was changed to Henry Paget by Royal License in 1770. He was created 1st Earl of Uxbridge in May 1784. On 21 October 1786 Henry Bayly-Paget sold the Manor of West Drayton to Fysh Coppinger of Lincoln's Inn, for £12,000 ending the Paget family's relationship with West Drayton.[12]

The Parish of West Drayton within Middlesex in the early 19th century

St Martin's Church

West Drayton's parish church, dedicated to Martin of Tours, was first mentioned in the 12th century.[21] However, no trace of the original church remains. The present church was first built in the 13th century, of which the base of the tower, the piscina and the north chancel wall are incorporated in the present building, which dates from the 15th century. The church was heavily restored and reordered in 1974, when the altar was resited at the west end. The baptismal font is a splendid example of mid-15th century work, and the parish chest is early 17th century. There are monumental brasses to Richard Roose (1406), Margaret Burnell (1529), her son John Burnell (1551) and Dr James Good (1581, a physician to Mary, Queen of Scots). There is a small memorial tablet to George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon (1547–1603) who was Lord of West Drayton Manor between 1592 and 1603.[22] Carey's father was Queen Elizabeth I's cousin. The memorial states how 'bountiful' he was to the poor of the Parish. In his will Hunsdon left the sum of 'one hundred marks for the benefit of the poor of West Drayton for ever.' This is one of the oldest West Drayton Parish charities and its small income is still distributed each New Year's Day.[12]

St Catherine Catholic Church

After the Potato Famine of the 1840s (known in Ireland as the Great Famine or Great Hunger), Irish immigrants who were mainly of the Roman Catholic religion and from counties Cork and Waterford arrived in West Drayton and took up residence in poor housing by The Green which became known locally as the Irish hovels.[23] Today this is the site of Daisy Villas.[12] Work for the Irish immigrants could be found in market gardens, the brickfields and in railway construction. Initially the nearest official place of Catholic worship was a chapel at North Hyde, over four miles away. Later a Roman Catholic Mass was given in a stable at the back of the Kings Head Public House adjacent to The Green.[12] On 30 May 1867 West Drayton became a Catholic mission with the Rev. Peter Francis Elkins becoming the resident priest.[24] In July 1867 Rev. Elkins petitioned the Archbishop of Westminster to support the building of a church and school.[25] The building of a church and school was given the special approbation of the Archbishop.[26]

By September 1867 Rev. Elkins health had failed and the West Drayton Mission was undertaken by Reverend Michael Wren.[27] Through the autumn, winter and spring of 1867-8 Rev. Wren requested financial donations for the new church and school stating that West Drayton was the most destitute mission in England with upwards of 300 persons being compelled to remain in the open air during Catholic mass.[28] By May 1868 land had been purchased for £855, with a former coach house being used as a temporary place of worship.[29]

On 26 October 1868 the Most Reverend Dr. Henry Manning, Archbishop of Westminster laid the foundation stone of the Church of St Catherine of Alexandria and on 29 September 1869 he opened the church, preaching its first sermon.[30]

The church is built of buff stock brick with Bath stone dressing with dimensions of 85ft by 48ft and was designed by architects Messrs S.J. Nicholl and J. T. Wilson of Fitzroy Square, London in the English Gothic style of the early 14th century.[31] It was fitted to accommodate 500 persons. The schoolroom was 40ft long and 20ft broad and accommodated 250 children and was in use until 1939.[32][33]

Local economy

Drayton Hall, offices of Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Kore Wireless and North South Wines

Historically, employment was commonly connected to agriculture, the railway yards and the canal. The former RAF West Drayton hosted a military air traffic control centre co-located with the civil London Terminal Control Centre, residual functions of which were relocated to Swanwick, Hampshire entirely by January 2008.

West Drayton has a mixture of tradespeople, airport workers, construction workers and commuters in office professions or public utilities such as schools and hospitals. Its housing hosts people with a range of incomes, with relatively large areas built aesthetically in keeping with existing housing by the local authority.

West Drayton has rapid connectivity to the M4 and thereafter to the M25 and motorways north-west and south-west. The M4 spur and the A408 Stockley Road by-pass links to Heathrow Airport and to the Stockley Business Park, respectively. The Stockley Close Industrial estate lies on the eastern side of the by-pass. The businesses situated here are: Ocado, Greencore, Carrier Retail Systems, Amalga Ltd, Clevertronics, MNX Global Logistics and the Heathrow Parcel Centre.

Drayton Hall has the offices of Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Trizell Ltd, Kore Wireless and North South Wines. Britannia Court, on the east side of The Green, has the offices of the Schools HR Co-operative, MagLabs, Wells Burcombe LLP, MD Developments Ltd, Insultec Ltd, QIK Group and Flight Data Systems.

Culture and recreation

Southlands Arts Centre
Mabey's Meadow in the Frays Island and Mabey's Meadow Nature Reserve

Notable people


  1. ^ a b c 838 acres. 'Table of population, 1801-1901', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 2, General ed. William Page (London, 1911), pp. 112-120. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol2/pp112-120 [accessed 25 May 2018].
  2. ^ a b "Usual resident population". NOMIS. Office for National Statistics. 2011. Archived from the original on 7 November 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  3. ^ "2011 Census Ward Population Estimates | London DataStore". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  4. ^ "Application for London Living Rent". Hillingdon Council.
  5. ^ "Key to English Place-names". kepn.nottingham.ac.uk.
  6. ^ Mills, A. D.: A Dictionary of British Place-Names (Oxford University Press, 2003)
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  8. ^ "Middlesex XIV.SE Revised 1938 Published 1946". maps.nls.uk. Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  9. ^ Services, Good Stuff IT. "West Drayton - UK Census Data 2011". UK Census Data. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
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  11. ^ Hopkins, Heather (April 2009). "An Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment for Inland Homes" (PDF). London Borough of Hillingdon. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Cox, A.H. (1983). West Drayton & Yiewsley through the centuries. Hillingdon Borough Libraries. ISBN 0907869033.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "A history of the County of Middlesex Volume 3 West Drayton: Manors". www.british-history.ac.uk. British History Online. pp. 191–195. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  14. ^ a b c d Hawkyard, A. D.K. "PAGET, William [by 1506-63]". www.historyofparliamentonline.org. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  15. ^ Kuin, Roger, ed. (2012). The Correspondence of Sir Philip Sidney. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199558223.
  16. ^ Thompson Cooper. "Thomas Paget, 3rd Baron Paget". gentrekker.com. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. pp. 43, 59–60. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  17. ^ "William Paget, 4th Baron Paget". gentrekker.com. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  18. ^ "William Camden 1596". philological.bham.ac.uk. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  19. ^ a b c Cokayne, George E., ed. (2000). The Complete Peerage. Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing.
  20. ^ "Papers of William Paget, 6th Baron Paget". archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
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  22. ^ Weinreb, Ben; Hibbert, Christopher (1992). The London Encyclopaedia (reprint ed.). Macmillan. p. 754.
  23. ^ Wren, Michael (27 February 1868). "To the editor of the Constitution". Cork: The Constitution.
  24. ^ "St Augustine, Apostle of England - New Mission". The Tablet. 8 June 1867. p. 363.
  25. ^ Rev. Peter Francis Elkins (10 August 1867). "West Drayton". The Tablet. p. 501.
  26. ^ Rev. Peter Francis Elkins (10 August 1867). "West Drayton". The Tablet. p. 501.
  27. ^ Reverend Michael Wren (5 October 1867). "The West Drayton Mission". The Tablet. p. 636.
  28. ^ Reverend Michael Wren (5 October 1867). "West Drayton". The Tablet. p. 632.
  29. ^ Rev. Michael Wren (30 May 1868). "The West Drayton Mission". The Tablet. p. 342.
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  31. ^ "Church of St Catherine of Alexandria About the Parish". parish.rcdow.org.uk. 20 May 2022.
  32. ^ "West Drayton". Windsor and Eton Express, Berks, Bucks and Middlesex Journal and West Surrey Gazette. 2 October 1869.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g Skinner, James (2003). West Drayton and Yiewsley. The History Press. ISBN 9780752428413.
  34. ^ "Yiewsley and West Drayton Arts Council". eventbrite.co.uk. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  35. ^ "Southlands Art Centre". southlandsarts.co.uk. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  36. ^ "Yiewsley and West Drayton Community Centre". www.ywdcc.org.uk.
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  38. ^ "The Yiewsley and West Drayton Band". ywdband.com.
  39. ^ "1381 Squadron (West Drayton % Yiewsley)". www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets.
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  42. ^ "William Paget, 4th Baron Paget". bermuda-online.org. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
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