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Market garden Site survey Harmondsworth is in danger of becoming disconnected and forgotten. The village, on the peripheries of Greater London, is currently bound by transport infrastructure on three sides: due North is the M4 motorway, due West the M25, and due South Heathrow Airport. Recent plans to expand Heathrow would complete the enclosure, effectively making a land-locked island of Harmondsworth.

Location: harmomdsworth POSTCODE: UB7 0AQ Borough: Hillingdon Landowner: Harmondsworth Barn plc & local authority



The specific site is the Great Barn at Manor Court and the adjacent field, which was once associated with the former farm. The Medieval tithe barn, built in 1426, is an extraordinary aisled structure, some 192ft long with 12 bays, dubbed “The Cathedral of Middlesex” by Sir John Betjeman, and is Grade I listed, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, yet currently redundant and reputedly neglected. The field is now separate and prior to agricultural use it was the site of a Benedictine Priory Cell and is therefore of considerable archeological interest. The field is strategically placed between Harmondsworth village and Harmondsworth Moor, the largest park created in London within the last 100 years. Local people regard the field to be safeguarding the setting of the barn, as well as access to the river banks and Moor park, with walking links to West Drayton and the wider footpath network.





A4 & M25




“God Spede þe plough, and send us korne enow” 7.



Great Barn

1. Existing Site Plan: Showing The Great Barn & Adjacent Field Scale 1:2500.

2. Heathrow Expansion Plan: Showing Third Runway & Surrounding Roads Scale 1:50000 (approx).


3. Grow Heathrow Project (Local Action Group: www.transitionheathrow. com/grow-heathrow/).


4. Historic Map (1866): Indicating Site Of Former Benedictine Priory Cell & Moat (Blue Line).

5. Sketches Showing The Great Barn, Built 1426-7.

6. Medieval Manuscript Miniature: Anglo-Saxon Ploughmen & Oxen. Published By Shaw.

7. Quotation From Iain Sinclair, ‘London Orbital / A Wallk Around the M25’, Penguin Books, 2003.

Roman Camp reveled during Heathrow airport excavation Saxon buildings, evidence found on Harmondsworth Moor 1066 (circa) Manor granted Rouen Abbey by William I 1069 Priory cell established 1100 (circa) St Mary’s Church established 1337 Records indicate 48 houses on Moor & Sheep lanes 1391 Manor sold to Bishop of Winchester 1426 The Great Barn constructed by Winchester College 1543 Manor surrendered to Henry VIII 1547 Manor granted to Lord Paget 1839 Records show 30 small orchards within the parish 1944 Heathrow runways 1 & 2 built 2010 Heathrow expansion plans shelved. 2011 Protestors continue their campaign in scepticism 7.

“...There is a mystery at the edge of great conurbations; in the light, in places travellers have passed through for centuries...the only figures in a wide-sky landscape”.

Forgotten? - Harmondsworth: isolated by national infrastructure - History: previous site occupations - The Great Tithe Barn: neglected - Local food production: tracing food sources

Location Map



The village is a designated Conservation Area and includes14 other listed buildings, such as the 12th Century St Mary’s Church, which is adjacent to the Great Barn. There are two local shops, two pubs, a post office, a primary school and a guesthouse. By-pass roads have allowed the village to remain in its historic form, without substantial rebuilding or road widening through its centre. The village is architecturally cohesive, with a strong sense of place and village green centre. The site is on the threshold between town and country. It is an in-between place. Up to 200,000 vehicles drive past every day, and approximately 90 million passengers fly overhead each year. Grow Heathrow are a group of community activists who have not passed the area by and taken up residence on a disused nursery site in nearby Sipson. Sipson would be demolished with the implementation of Heathrow’s third runway development. Grow Heathrow will need a new home.


8. Panoramic Montage: Showing Main Field. Great Barn, St. Mary’s Church & Village Beyond Perimeter.

9. Contextual Photographs: People & Place (Authors’ photos and http://

market garden Proposal This is economics, rooted in people and place, networks and neighbourhoods. The Great Barn is reopened, celebrating its past, and re-connected with its land. This is an opportunity to further encourage community gardening and local food production. The barn is a place for public events and fairs, and its reclaimed land is open for large festivals and food production, and also provides a new home for the ‘Grow Heathrow’ project.




c a b

e d 3.

The Shoot is a contemporary intervention, a signpost and focal point for the community. It is 40metres high and rises above the tree line, punctuating the horizon in this widesky landscape. It is a marker. Its form is designed to remind people of the site’s agricultural past; suggestive of the cereals grown and collected in the Great Barn. The Shoot quietly sways in response to the wind and softly reflects the light of London’s sky. It is made with recycled aluminium, salvaged from a decommissioned Airbus 300. Historic references are etched onto its lower surfaces; the upper surfaces are gently shot-blasted so as to subtly reflect the light falling upon it. From dusk and at night the tip will be gently lit to provide a soft beacon over Harmondsworth.





“...preserve what the past has had to say for itself, ...say for ourselves what shall be true for the future” John Ruskin








8. 1. Site Strategy: a. The Shoot & Earthwork b. The Terrace (or Stage) c. The Great Barn & Yard

d. Festival Field & Moat e. Greenhouses f. Orchard g. Car Access & Parking

2. Materials Include: Recycled Aluminium, Planting, Landscaping, Reused Glasshouses, The Barn

2. cont/ (Authors Photos & Flickr Images)

3. Rye Grass: Taking Inspiration From Natural Forms. Rye Was Historically Grown Here.

4. Aerial Site View: Landing At Heathrow. Welcome To London!

5. Roadside View: Passing Harmondsworth On The M4, Entering Greater London.

6. The Shoot: Recycled Anodised Aluminium (From Decommissioned Airbus 300)

7. Market Garden Collage: Showing The Great Barn Open, Relocated ‘Grow Heathrow’ & ‘Festival’ Field.

8. Site Section: West To East, Looking North. a. River b. The Shoot & Earthwork

c. Moat & Bridge d. Greenhouses e. The Great Barn f. Church

RIBA Forgotten Spaces Competition  

Short-listed Market Garden Proposal