St. Margaret's, Uxbridge
Uxbridge has been a notable market town since the twelfth century, when it began hosting a ‘Thursday market’. In this period, ‘Thursday markets’ were traditionally reserved for the exchange of corn, rather than the retail of fruit and vegetables. As a result of people coming into Uxbridge to attend its market, the town superseded its parent parish of Hillingdon in importance: so much so that in 1645, Treaty House – now the ‘Crown & Treaty’ pub – was chosen as the venue to host Royalist and Parliamentary representatives as they attempted (and failed!) to negotiate a treaty that would conclude the English Civil War.
An account of Uxbridge from the 1830s conjures a lively image of the town, mentioning the constant passage along the High Street of pedestrians, cattle, and wagons transporting agricultural produce from Buckinghamshire into London. As the most urbanised parish in the local area, Uxbridge experienced its share of the foibles of urban life. The rapid need for housing in the town saw private opportunists hurriedly construct a number of inadequate, insanitary
cottages. Prostitution in the town was rife, and in the 1830s, labourers discontented with their lot engaged with the ‘swing riots’, resulting in the formation of the Uxbridge Yeomanry Cavalry.
As Uxbridge attracted vendors and merchants from far and wide, much stabling and refreshment accommodation was constructed in the town. By 1853, Uxbridge had 54 public houses and inns, and a thriving local brewing industry had developed to keep these venues in constant supply.
Today, Uxbridge remains the largest commercial district in the local area.