Sipson
The King William IV public house in Sipson. due to be demolished along with the village if Heathrow Airport is expanded. Taken on the 8 April 2008.
Credit: Jim Linwood
Sipson is a village in the historic county of Middlesex, England, but since 1965 has been administered as part of the London Borough of Hillingdon.

The village’s name comes from the Anglo-Saxon Sibbwines tūn: "Sibbwine’s farmstead". Sipson village adjoins the Bath Road (the modern A4), which linked London to Bath.

The village of Sipson was first mentioned in 1214. By 1337 there were 14 houses at Sipson, surrounded by cultivated land.

The first definite picture of the parish is supplied by Rocque’s map of 1754, where the settlement pattern is clearly shown. At Longford, Harmondsworth, and Sipson there were small, compact groups of houses. Harmondsworth Lane, running east to Sipson, and continuing to Harlington as Sipson Lane, was a track across the open fields. The main settlement at Sipson lay south of Harmondsworth Lane, and was grouped on both sides of Sipson Road; a few houses were situated at Sipson Green where the road joined the Bath Road. From the Bath Road at King’s Arbour to its southernmost point dwellings, collectively known as Heathrow, lined the side of Heathrow Road.

In 1754 the greater part of the parish was open. Around all the settlements were inclosed lands, but there appears to have been none elsewhere. Sipson Field covered the area north of Harmondsworth and Sipson lanes. Heathrow Field lay south of the main road and behind Heathrow.

Between 1754 and the Parliamentary inclosure of 1819 inclosure increased. At inclosure few of the roads were altered. Harmondsworth and Sipson lanes were both made along the old tracks.

By 1839 the cultivated area had been considerably extended. There were also almost 30 small orchards scattered across the parish. Sipson Green, lying on both sides of the Bath Road, was almost as large as Sipson itself, but both Sipson Green and Sipson were smaller than Harmondsworth (the largest village), Longford, and Heathrow. There were village shops at Harmondsworth, Longford, and Sipson, but Heathrow had only a public house.

By 1900, Sipson houses had been built along Sipson Lane, Sipson Road, and Harmondsworth Lane, while a few dwellings were erected at Sipson Green. A few houses were built along Heathrow Road and Cain’s Lane but this area remained largely rural until the Second World War. After 1850, however, arable land in the parish diminished and extensive orchards were planted. These lay mainly on the periphery of the parish, on the moors, surrounding Sipson and Sipson Green, in Cain’s Lane, and surrounding Perry Oaks. There were several glasshouses at Sipson by then.

The character of the parish started to change gradually in 1929 with the opening of the Colnbrook by-pass, which left the Bath Road at the junction with Hatch Lane and by-passed Longford to the north. Industrial development began in 1930 with the opening of the Road Research Laboratory on the Colnbrook by-pass. In the same year the Fairey Aviation Co. opened an airfield, the Great West Aerodrome, south-west of Heathrow. This formed the nucleus of the later airport, and the Fairey hangar was eventually incorporated into Heathrow Airport as a fire station.

By the late 1930s some residential building had taken place, almost entirely in the northern half of Harmondsworth parish. Small estates were built off Hatch Lane around Candover Close and Zealand Avenue and further building took place along Sipson Road, around Blunts Avenue, and along the north side of the Bath Road at Sipson Green. Although many of the orchards survived, their numbers had been greatly reduced and it seems probable that much of the former fruit-growing area was being used for market gardening. In 1944 Harmondsworth and Sipson retained their agricultural character despite some suburban housing.

On 10 January 1946 the British Cabinet agreed the Stage 3 expansion of Heathrow Airport, which was an extension north of the Bath Road, with a large triangle of 3 runways, obliterating Sipson and most of Harlington, and diverting the Bath Road. This plan was put on hold for decades until the new millennium.

The village now sits on an island surrounded by the M4, M25 and Heathrow and its slip roads and hotels.

In 2009 the majority of the village was again under threat of demolition owing to the planned expansion of Heathrow, which would have created a third runway at the airport. In March 2010, the English High Court of Justice ruled that the plan which the Department had submitted must be reconsidered.

Accordingly, the Government announced in May 2010 that the third runway plan had been cancelled but that a long-term study into airport capacity in the South East and beyond may recommend expansion to any of the London Airports where the environmental constraints can all be met.

There has been a long term occupation of land within Sipson by climate activists on the invitation of local residents, following the latest Climate Camp. Grow Heathrow is a squatted community, opposed to the expansion of Heathrow airport and committed to finding sustainable alternatives in the face of climate change, peak oil and economic crises. Further, local residents have started a new campaign in 2014 called Stop Heathrow Expansion, with widespread support from local MPs and Councillors.

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