Early on a cold Sunday morning I set out to try and visit two stations. Ruislip was the next one on the Metropolitan branch line to Uxbridge. It services both the Piccadilly and the Metropolitan lines. There are five underground stations which include the name Ruislip. West Ruislip, Ruislip Gardens and South Ruislip all on the Central line and Ruislip Manor and Ruislip on the Metropolitan line.
The word Ruislip first appeared in the Doomsday book, a record of land and ownership, in 1086. It is thought the word is derived from the Old English words for 'rush' and 'leap' refering to a place where the local River Pinn is narrow enough to jump across.
The station is the oldest one on this branch line and originally was the only intermediate station between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Uxbridge. When it opened in 1904 the services were operated by steam trains until the line was electrified the following year. Ruislip was part of Metroland. The area of suburban London where thousands of houses were built alongside the railway land. Metroland was advertised as a 'rural retreat for those who worked in Central London'.
The footbridge over the platforms dates from 1904 but was moved to its present site in 1928.
It was good to see that few had closed down. A number of shops did not survive the Covid lockdown and in many towns it is common place to see a closed down sign, on not just small shops, but a number of the larger department stores as well.
Ruislip's department store still looks to be doing ok. They even have two different bank branches here which is unusual these days.
At the bottom of the High street is St Martin's Church. I was surprised to see the Christmas tree was still there in March.The flint and stone building dates from the 13th cent and the tower along with a bell chamber was added in the 15th cent. The church was restored in the 19th century by Sir Gilbert Scott.
On the north side of the churchyard are the Ruislip almshouses. The old timber framed parish house (priest/clergyman's residence) was converted in 1616 into small two roomed dwellings which were used to provide cheap or free dwellings for the poor. During the 18th century the almshouses were used as a workhouse and in 1776 there were 30 paupers living and working here. In 1838 the workhouse closed and the inmates were moved to another workhouse in nearby Hillingdon. The building was then sold and converted into flats. After it was renovated in the early 20th cent, it became a private house.
Standing on the other side of the High street you can see the blue clock on the tower of the church and in front of the white houses is the village pump.
The pump was placed over a well sunk in 1864. It has been moved a couple of times and was put into this prominent position on the High street in 1982. I imagine the village pump would be a place where the women of the village would meet for a chat and gossip whilst filling their water carriers.
I left the village and decided to walk to Ruislip Lido. A place I had heard about but never seen. On the way. I walked past the Ruislip Woods National Reserve which is an ancient semi natural woodland. Some parts of it are a remnant of the Wildwood that once completely covered England after the last ice age about 8000 years ago. During the Middle Ages the woods were harvested for timber which was used in the construction of buildings which are still in use today. The Tower of London in 1339, Windsor Castle in 1344 and the old Palace of Westminster in 1346.