Shopping in Whitton
A typical 1930s shopping parade
In the early 18th century Whitton was a hamlet centred on the crossroads where the present Nelson and Kneller Roads and Whitton Dene meet. After the Enclosure Act of 1818 new roads were laid out across the old Hounslow Heath and the boundaries of Whitton were extended to twice the previous area. Most of the houses built in the village during the 19th century were small-scale cottages for working families. There were two early, long running public houses, The White Hart in Kneller Road, which still trades, and The Red Lion in Nelson Road (since replaced by a row of houses). The Nelson and The Prince Albert were also both built before 1850 and the Duke of Cambridge opened in 1857. Shops were either individual or in small groups scattered around the village.
There was a modest building boom in the first decade of the 20th century and two small parades of shops were built in 1906-7 in Nelson Road and Hounslow Road to cater for the increased population. However, between 1930 and 1939 Whitton was transformed out of all recognition. The opening of the railway station in 1930 and the building of the Chertsey Road led to enormous expansion of the village. Percy Road, running between The Nelson and the railway, became the High Street in 1938.
High Street is seemingly a typical 1930s shopping centre, although the west side is made up of distinct blocks of piecemeal development, each ghosting the footprint of what went before. Rows of cottages, long since demolished, such as Hope and Anchor Cottages, Hume Cottages, Notts Cottages, Daisy Cottages and Woodbine Cottages thus still leave a small mark on the modern world. In this period nearly 100 shops were opened in High Street of which, in the days before refrigeration, over a third were food shops. Development of vacant plots took place, after the war, in the 1950s and 1960s. The last of the old cottages were pulled down in 1964 to make way for a parade of shops including the Iceland freezer store.
In recent years a number of isolated shops, or small groups or parades scattered around Whitton have been converted into houses, or demolished and replaced with new housing.