Monday : Burnham Village

It took two buses to get there from the Bath Road, but another morning, another ever reliable Wetherspoons breakfast, this time in sunny Acton.

This is Springfield Gardens in Acton, named after the spring in Rosemont Road. It was converted into a park from wasteland in 1934 and had a lovely open air theatre, although it was later decided to demolish that. Such is progress….

And there’s the site at the beginning of the twentieth century, the cursor is in the middle of where the park is today.

With that it was time to get on Crossrail and Acton Main Line is one of the railway stations that was upgraded for the new service, with effectively an entirely new building, even though originally they weren’t going to get much of an upgrade here. The railway station was first opened in February 1868, being renamed as Action Main Line in September 1949.

The new building and the former entrance around the corner is now closed.

These services are meant to actually be crossing London within the next few months, four years after it was meant to be completed. Certainly not ideal given how much the senior management on this project were paid.

I’m still not bored of the Crossrail trains yet, although it’s disappointing that they don’t have any power sockets on them. The trains from Acton don’t actually currently to go Burnham, so I got off a couple of stops later down the line to board a GWR train which did have power sockets. On the lack of power sockets issue, TFL say:

“They were not considered appropriate for the high passenger-density metro-type operation at the time the specifications were drawn up in 2012. These could be added but TfL has no current plans to do so.”

Burnham’s fortunes may have changed, hopefully for the better, given the arrival of Crossrail to their village. The railway station originally opened in July 1899 as Burnham Beeches, being renamed as just Burnham in 1930. The station has been given a new entrance as part of the works and at peak times there will be a train every five minutes into central London, each one being able to carry 1,000 people.

Not a village that I’ve been to before, but it was quite a pretty little area with a large green.

St. Peter’s Church, constructed in the thirteenth century and lengthened in the fourteenth century. The top of the tower and the spire are much later, from 1864.

I noticed this Commonwealth war grave stone in the churchyard, commemorating the life of E Simmonds from the Devonshire Regiment who died on 22 January 1917. It’s in excellent condition, but it must have had some recent repairs done as there are some earlier photos on-line and it certainly needed attention.

I can’t find the military records of Edward, likely in the large number that were destroyed in an air raid during the Second World War. However, in the 1911 census, he was living at Grove Place in Fifield, near Bray. He was the son of Edward and Emma and he was born in 1890, working as a gardener’s assistant. Although he was the only child living at home at the 1911 census, he was living with his parents and older brothers Albert and George at the time of the 1901 census. Albert worked as a gardener and George was a wheelwright’s apprentice, with their father Edward being a wheelwright.

Edward was a private in the 13th battalion of the Devonshires which was put together in 1916, manned by officers from the Devon area. It was filled with men who were unfit to fight on the front line, not that this gave them easier roles, they were often placed at considerable danger. I’m not a military historian, but the battalion’s records don’t seem to see them moving outside of England, so I assume that Edward died in this country which is why his body has been returned to Burnham.

Located opposite the church is the Old Five Bells pub, which was about as good as it got in the village, but unfortunately it’s operated by Greene King so I didn’t get too excited. They’re a company who often have little interest in the heritage of their buildings, so there’s inevitably no information about it on their web-site. It appears to be an early twentieth century building designed to look older, and it’s not listed.

Riveting. I went for half a pint of the Neck Oil from Beavertown which was underpoured, but I queried this and it was topped up. I sat near to the bar and the pub managed to get six complaints about the food during the time that I was there, to give a little flavour about the arrangements. My favourite was a staff member asking an elderly customer “did you enjoy your visit?” as she was walking out, to which she replied “no” and kept walking. I thought that was quite classy in its delivery. It’s a shame, this could be a marvellous pub given its location in the hands of a different operator.

I got the train back to Harlington to walk back to the hotel from there, this is one of the decorated knitted post boxes en route, created by the WI of Harlington. All credit for people having the patience to make these things, it’s not a talent that I’d have. It nicely brightens up the area though, a lovely little contribution to the community.

I’ve never noticed this sign before, noting that this was formerly the Harlington village pond and pound.

Here’s what that looked like 100 years ago, it’s the circular feature in the middle.

An hour later, I was back at the Accor hotel for my second night. The staff in the Ibis Styles were friendly and helpful, although I wasn’t much keen on their bar area, so I moved into the restaurant section. This was the welcome drink I chose, which is entirely acceptable.

Quite a vibrant choice of colours shall we say (write).

One thing I liked about the room is that they had put these airline type trolleys into the rooms, to put the tea and coffees in. Perhaps not entirely practical as guests have to faff about trying to get the kettle out to move to another part of the room, but I liked the quirkiness and it made the room look more interesting.