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Greenford has two interesting churches – both in the same churchyard

From Greenford station turn right and walk *down Oldfield Lane North for about ten minutes (boring, I'm afraid) until you see Western Avenue ahead. Pass through the subway on the right (enlivened by some perky tiles designed by children) and at the top of the steps turn right for Oldfield Lane South. Almost immediately the old wall of The Rectory signals that the churches are near. Although the traffic hums quietly in the background as you enter the churchyard,  the change in pace is astonishing. First comes the  old Holy Cross church. It dates from the 1300's but the earliest remaining parts are from the following two centuries. The intriguing wooden bellcote is a bit later, probably the late sixteenth century. However, after the huge expansion of the area in the 1930’s following the building of Western Avenue and its associated factories, plus housing estates, it was far too small, so a new church was built right next to it. St Mary’s Perivale was in a similar situation, but in that case the building of a church elsewhere led to its being declared redundant. Happily it was rescued and the two old churches make an interesting pair - see entry for Perivale.) Holy Cross mark I is still used on special occasions, but most services are held in the church that replaced it.
Holy Cross New Church dates from the 1940’s. This unusual barn-like church with an enormous ‘hipped’ roof, is so big that it seems designed to stand guard over its smaller predecessor. It has a dual designation as church and parish hall. The frontage is particularly interesting, with a plain oriel window and clerestory topped by a slender spire. Unusually, its orientation is south/north.

There are a couple of other buildings to look at in while you are in the vicinity. The first is Greenford Hall, (east of the churchyard in Oldfield Lane) now a Community Centre. Originating from the 18th century, the top storeys of the north wing were added c1890. There is an extraordinary array of Venetian windows. 
The other house worth finding is the less showy Bentham House (No. 164 Oldfield Lane) a short way to the south. Currently in private ownership, it was originally a charity school, commissioned and endowed in 1780 by the Rector of Greenford, the Rev Edward Bentham. In 1887 a larger school was built just down the road, nicknamed the Clock School from its clock tower which can still be seen.              

Tube Geeks' Corner
Greenford station (rebuilt 1947) is the only one on the Underground system to have an escalator from street level up to the platforms, which are perched on a bridge over the railway lines. Until 2014 this escalator was also the only wooden one still in service, the rest having been replaced following the Kings Cross fire in 1987. You may be even more surprised to see some of the few remaining semaphore signals still in operation. These are nothing to do with the Tube network, but relate to the service operated by the First Great Western Company that uses this station.  Nostalgia!

*There is a stop for the E6 in Oldfield Lane North opposite Birkbeck Avenue. This bus will take you to Ferrymead Avenue if you prefer not to walk.

Greenford is just one walk from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings  even in the most unpromising areas covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like to click on the link above to see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!

© DR