Powerflush nearby to Bushey
Bushey is a town in Hertfordshire’s Hertsmere borough in the East of England. It has a population of over 25,000 people. Bushey Heath is a large neighbourhood south-east of Bushey, on the border with the London Borough of Harrow, with elevations of 165 metres (541 feet) above sea level.
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The first written mention of Bushey is in the Domesday Book, where it is described as a small agricultural village called ‘Bissei’ (which later became ‘Biss(h)e’ and then ‘Bisheye’ during the 12th century). However, accidental archaeological discoveries of Stone Age tools show that the area was inhabited as far back as the Palaeolithic period. The town also has connections to the Roman occupation of Britain, with the main road running through it being Roman, sites of possible Roman villas being discovered in the area, and a Roman tessellated pavement discovered near Chiltern Avenue.
The origins of the town’s name are unknown. Regarding the original name, “Bissei,” an early theory in Reverend J.B. Johnstone’s book The Place-Names of England and Wales suggests that it may have meant “Byssa’s Isle,” and that it began as a lake-village surrounded by marshes, streams, and lakes. A more modern (but less romantic) theory holds that it is simply derived from the Old English words byse (“bush, thicket”) and boisseie (“place covered with wood”). The latter theory may be more accurate, given that the town is located in valleys that extend southwards from the Chiltern Hills, which were once densely forested with oak, elm, ash, hazel, and juniper.
Bushey Heath’s story begins during the Napoleonic Wars, during a period of severe food scarcity. To help solve the problem, the government granted Bushey landowners the waste land to the east of Bushey to be used for farming; the land was more commonly known as Bushey Common. While the original goal was to grow food, the area’s proximity to a railway and elevations of up to 500 feet above sea level, as well as its beautiful and expansive views, made it appealing to housing developers.
The nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw the most change in Bushey, particularly between 1860 and 1960. Within 200 years, the population increased 28-fold, from 856 in 1801, to just under 24,000 today. The expansion was motivated by a variety of factors, the most important of which was the early-twentieth-century industrial boom brought about by the railway. As a result, many new jobs were created in and around Watford, and the first council houses were built in Bushey in the early 1920s. More housing was later constructed in Stanmore and Northwood for service families working in defence organisations. After the Second World War, much of the land in and around Bushey was protected under the Metropolitan Green Belt, which slowed the expansion.
This same Green Belt legislation was also partly to blame for the cancellation of the pre-war Edgware to Bushey Heath extension as part of the Northern Heights programme of the Northern line underground railway. The Metropolitan Green Belt placed significant constraints on new development, and the plan was to use the new railway to stimulate new housing around the new route; without the new housing, the route was deemed unviable. However, as work progressed at the start of the war, the depot was completed for use as a bomber manufacturing facility, and after the Second World War and the implementation of the Green Belt, it was converted into the Aldenham bus depot (of Cliff Richard’s Summer Holiday fame), where it remained until 1985, when it became derelict. The Centennial Park Industrial Estate (51.639954°N 0.308561°W) was redeveloped in 1996. The Bushey Heath station would have been situated at the junction of Elstree Road and Northwestern Avenue (51.64245°N 0.3200°W). In the 1903 Act of Parliament, there were conceptual plans for an Edgware to Watford railway, which would have seen the railway extended later through Bushey village and on to Watford market, but even less came of that than the partially completed Edgware to Bushey Heath stretch.
Bushey Heath, on the border of Hertfordshire and Middlesex, had the highest point in the historic county of Middlesex, at the junction of the A4140 and the A409. TQ 152937 was the grid reference at 153 m (502 ft) above sea level.
Folklore, legends, and stories
Due to the lack of farming in Bushey Heath until the 18th century, it was a heavily wooded area; this, combined with the lack of street lighting and police, meant that Bushey Heath’s history is full of tales of thieves, highwaymen, and even murder. According to Grant Longman’s Robberies on Bushey Heath, the highwaymen lurked on the road from Bushey Heath to Stanmore, ready to raid the dozen or so caravans that passed through Bushey Heath daily, carrying money from trade in London. Before crossing the pass, groups of travellers and merchants would gather at the Boot Inn in Edgware and the Three Crowns in Bushey Heath to avoid having to go it alone. Although the notorious Dick Turpin is said to have been one of the highwaymen responsible for the attacks, evidence suggests that he was more active in the Essex region.