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Early 20th century
Although there was a little housing development in the 19th century, on Nelson and Hounslow Roads and in the area between Kneller and Nelson Roads, Whitton remained a quiet country village. (Extension builders in Whitton).
However, following the opening of Whitton railway station in Percy Road in 1931, housing development rapidly replaced the market gardens and the former Argyll Estate, having been sold for development in the 1890s. New parades of shops were built on either side of Percy Road from the railway station bridge to the junction with Nelson and Hounslow Roads. This stretch then became known as “High Street” Whitton.
A number of houses were damaged by enemy bombing in the early years of the Second World War. Before 1944, 86 Hounslow Road received a direct hit from a German bomb and was badly damaged, though not destroyed. In June 1944, 81 High Street received a direct hit from a V1 flying bomb. Part of the parade of shops and the flats above was totally destroyed and several people were killed. Around the same time a house in Lincoln Avenue was also destroyed by a V1 and several adjoining houses were severely damaged. (Extension builders in Whitton)
There was certainly a great deal of activity in the skies over Whitton during the early years of the war with the sound of air raid sirens and anti-aircraft guns very common by both day and night. A common sight during the Blitz was of RAF fighters scrambling from nearby airfields almost at rooftop height and low enough for the pilots to be seen in their cockpits.
Transport – Roads (Extension builders in Whitton)
Whitton has good road links and is only a ten-minute car journey from the M25 in clear traffic. Journeys to Kingston upon Thames take twenty minutes, whilst a journey to Richmond is fifteen minutes.
The Great Chertsey Road A316 runs along southern boundary of the town and was built in the 1930s which cut it off from Twickenham. The A316 becomes the M3 at Sunbury-on-Thames and connects with the M25 at junction 2. Going the other direction the A316 passes by Twickenham and then Richmond, Kew, Mortlake, and finally Chiswick where it joins The Great West Road A4.
The principal rail service from Whitton railway station is the Windsor Line into London Waterloo station taking 30 minutes on the ‘semi-fast’ service operated by South West Trains. There is also a ‘stopping’ service that calls at all stations and takes 40 minutes via Richmond, or 52 minutes via Hounslow. As the town does not have a London Underground station, connections are often made at Richmond for the District line, or Vauxhall station for the Victoria line. Many people also catch the 281 bus to connect with the Piccadilly line at Hounslow East.
Plans to increase the frequency of the ‘semi-fast’ service to four trains per hour were first discussed in the The Wessex Route Study consultation held in 2014 and are expected to be included in the new South Western franchise. However, Richmond Council has requested these go via the Hounslow Loop and not Richmond due to concerns about the amount of time the level crossing would need to be down in Barnes.
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