Spotlight on Harrow
New flats and good-size houses bring first timers and families to this urban village with a famous school at its heart, only 15 minutes from central London, says
PERCHED high on a hilltop, the little village of Harrow on the Hill is a world away from the bustle of the rest of Harrow, with its busy town centre and streets of Metroland Thirties semis.
This picturesque north-west London village, with narrow, winding high street, period architecture and pretty cottages, is home to Harrow School, one of the world’s most famous boarding schools, where prime ministers Peel, Palmerston, Baldwin and Churchill were all educated, and where more recently the actor Benedict Cumberbatch and Love Actually writer-director Richard Curtis were pupils.
Wandering through the village, tourists pass Victorian Gothic school buildings, a chapel with manicured lawns and school outfitters. It is hard to tell where the school ends and ordinary life begins. The village owes its existence to an Elizabethan farmer and the arrival of the Metropolitan Railway in inspiring headmasters such as Charles Vaughan, head from 1845-1859, and his successor Henry Montagu Butler, who promoted their school as a rival to Eton. The Old School, the school chapel, The Vaughan Library and the Speech Room were all built in Victorian Gothic style during this period. They gave Harrow on the Hill its quaint and charming character and the two headmasters are commemorated in three streets of Victorian terrace houses in West Harrow: Butler Road, Butler Avenue and Vaughan Road.
Harrow is 13 miles north-west of central London, with Stanmore to the north; Hendon to the east; Wembley to the south and Ruislip to the west.
Estate agent Hari Patel, from the Harrow branch of Hunters, says the town is vibrant and benefits from being on the London Underground Metropolitan line, with a mixture of family homes and new-build flats that are attracting first-time buyers.
Claim to fame: outside private Harrow School in Harrow on the Hill High Street. Founded in 1572, the school has many famous alumni
Fast links: escape to a London village that’s well connected