Origins of Thorney Island
The development of West London started on a site called Thorney Island. This island was an eyot found on upstream on the Thames River, which was formed by the branching of River Tyburn as it entered the Thames River. When Anglo-Saxons came to West London around 634 AD, they gave the island a name that meant a thorny island. For the next 300 years, monks who had settled in the area tamed the thorny vegetation and made it an arable land. Despite proving fertile, the island retained its name.
Thorney Island has a legendary origin too. In the early 7th century, a local fisherman called Edric ferried a stranger who wore tattered clothing across the Thames river. However, the stranger turned out to be St Peter, who had come to consecrate a new church built in the area. For his effort, St Peter blessed Edric with a bountiful harvest when he dropped his nets. St Peter then instructed Edric to present St. Mellitus, Bishop of London and the king with a salmon and other proofs that area had already been consecrated. Every year on Peter’s day, the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers presents a salmon at the Abbey to commemorate the event.
Development of the Area
The first development of the area was the church and that is where the word Westminster was coined. Then, the Palace of Westminster was built on the same location before the Parliament was established on the site in 1265. Given its proximity to the heart of London, the area became one of the fastest developing zones in London over centuries. Later, during a Survey of London in 1720, the area was described as one of London’s four distinct regions and named as West London.
West London today
The area of West London, has really grown up since these early beginnings. Shepherd’s Bush is now home to one of Europe’s largest shopping centres, Westfield, while the area around it has become an eating paradise with international foods and hotels such as K West Hotel & Spa, and local parks, such as Ravenscourt Park, making it really attractive for families looking for a staycation, as it is so easy to reach from the West Country.
If you are visiting London for a Staycation then don’t miss a visit to London’s Camden Market, a mecca for street food and market stalls selling weird and wonderful items from all over the world.