The overgrown space behind this gate was once occupied by a pub called the Load of Hay. I think it forms part of the flood defences now as it is next to the Brent, alongside the bridge. The National Archives hold the records for the Isleworth Brewery Company, originally the Farnell Brewery, which took over Sich and Company in 1920. The Load of Hay was an outlet for the ales brewed at Sich’s Lamb Brewery in Chiswick from the eighteenth century but there is actually a reference to the pub in the company records that dates from 1598, so it may have been here then. This is another Greenford pub that gets a mention in the Old Bailey records.
An early 20th century image of the pub alongside another tragic photograph showing the fate of the Load of Hay can be seen here on the Holy Cross website. On the night of the 24th September 1940 the landlord, Sydney Walton, and his family were killed when a parachute bomb landed here. It’s sad to think that so many people drive and walk past this place but remain unaware of its significance in Greenford’s history.
I am very grateful to Carole Connelly for pinpointing the exact spot of the Load of Hay.
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