Historical towns and rivers


Hayes is first mentioned in Saxon records and its name derives from the Anglo Saxon 'hese' meaning 'brushwood'.

Did you know...?

  • In the Domesday Book (1086), the Archbishop of Canterbury is named as lord of the manor.  
  • Until the 20th century, Hayes was made up of 5 villages - Hayes Town (also called Cotmans Town), Wood End, Botwell, Yeading and Hayes End.
  • In the area, many flint tools have been found, as well as a Bronze Age axehead near Botwell and the remains of an Iron Age settlement at Heathrow Airport.  
  • The oldest building in Hayes is the parish church of St Mary the Virgin. The earliest parts of the church - chancel, nave and font - date from the 12th century.
  • The quiet rural life of the area did not change much for hundreds of years. The Grand Union Canal arrived in 1794. Brickmaking began in Botwell and Yeading, and the finished bricks were transported by barge. The Great Western Railway came to the area in 1864, but in 1901 the population was still only 2,594.
  • Industry transformed Hayes in the 20th century, bringing meteoric growth. Amongst the first companies to move in was the Gramophone and Typewriter Company (1907). It was later called His Master's Voice and, later still, Electric and Musical Industries (EMI). Harrison the printers came along in 1911 and Fairey Aviation in 1915. Cocoa and chocolate were manufactured in Hayes from 1912. The business was taken over by Nestles in 1929.
  • Workers in the new industries had to commute because there was no housing available locally. Housing estates were built from 1910. By 1929, nearly 6,500 houses had been completed or were under construction. In 1931, the population of Hayes was 10,000.  
  • During the Second World War, Hayes was bombed many times, including 6 attacks by V1 and V2 missiles.
  • The postwar shortage of homes was met by more large building schemes in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Heathrow Airport opened in 1946 and has provided many jobs since.
  • In the following half century, the town's economy shifted from manufacturing to service industries. Old established names, such as EMI, Fairey Aviation (Westland) and Harrisons, either moved out or reduced their operations. The Heinz offices and research departments opened in 1965 and Stockley Park in 1985.  
  • The town gained new civic amenities; the sports stadium opened in 1955, the swimming pool in 1967 and the Beck Theatre in 1977. The increase in road traffic brought a bypass road in 1992 and subsequent pedestrianisation of Station Road.  
Page last updated: 22 May 2023