Northwood, Middlesex

In 1908, my grandparents Walter and Lilian moved from Warwick Gardens to the "Metroland" suburb of Northwood. For four years, they rented a semi-detached house in called "Edale" in Dene Road for the princely sum of £60 per year. My father describes his life there and at his nearby school in his Reminiscences.

Edale - date unknown, but presumably sometime between 1908 and 1912

Around 1912 my grandfather moved from his rented home and purchased The Red Cottage, which according to my father's Reminiscences The Red Cottage was also in Dene Road. [According to Google Maps, it fronts onto Sandy Lodge Way, with a short section of Dene Road on its sourthern boundary and the main section of Dene Road further to the north. Perhaps in those days the two sections of Dene Road were joined and renamed Sandy Lodge Way when the road was extended northwards.]

The Red Cottage is an unapt name for what is quite a large two-storey house. My mother used to take my sister and I to stay there for "holidays" when we were children (my father being too busy to leave the farm). However the excitement of "going to London" was always offset by the distaste of staying with our grandmother who was as humourless as she was religious, modelling herself in later life on the old Queen Victoria.

The Red Cottage, Northwood, 2010 - photo C. Newman

The Red Cottage front door - c. 1912 with Aline and Lilian sitting on the front step

The Red Cottage viewed from the back garden - c. 1912

Family group in back garden
L-R: Evie, Emma, Aline; Walter; Lilian.
(c.1920 judging by Aline's age)

In those days (early-1950s), the house was dark and forbidding, filled with gloomy furniture and strict rules of behaviour. Early photos of its interior show a rather brighter scene than I remember:

Dining Room - most of the furniture, pictures etc. came to my father house after his mother died

Hallway leading through to dining room

Dining room

Drawing Room - again, most of the furniture, pictures etc. came to my father house after his mother died

Drawing Room

Aline in smoking room

Walter and Lilian's bedroom

A rare pleasure was to be allowed to play bowls on the lawn in the extensive garden at the back of the house. Another pleasure was a visit to the toy shop at the bottom of the road. Better still were the day trips to London on the old Metropolitan line, then part of London Transport but still operating its old (and unique) teak-coloured electric multiple units with some trains hauled by the railway's iconic Metro-Vick Bo-Bo electric locomotives. Walter himself used to commute daily into London until his retirement, using this same rail service.

The line through Northwood station was shared by the Great Central Railway which terminated at Marylebone Station, so large ex-LNER steam locomotives occasionally passed through (to my great excitement).

The Red Cottage was sold in 1958 after Lilian's death. She had lived in it for 50 years.

The term "Metroland" didn't come into vogue until the after World War I when the Metropolitan Railway began developing some of its landholdings along its line from Baker Street out to the northwest of London. These lines had been built in the late 19th century, reaching Northwood around 1888. "The Subterranean Railway" by Christian Wolmar describes the building of the line and the suburban developments that gradually accompanied it, including the passage "As soon as the line to Rickmansworth had opened in 1887, the Eastbury estate at one of the intermediate stations, Northwood, had been sold as fifty three building plots for development, starting the town on its route to becoming an upper-middle-class residential area." It is not unlikely that The Red Cottage was built one of these plots.


Page created 25 Jan 2011