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Pinner High Street

Visitors to my website may wish to visit our village. You will all be very welcome. Situated so close to London, yet still quite rural in character, Pinner and the surrounding area are beautiful. The leaves of its many trees, varying from pale yellows through greens to dark reds convey an atmosphere of tranquillity so close to the everyday hustle and bustle. Retail shops range from small independent family businesses some dating back through many generations to the larger well known supermarkets.

This section of my website is devoted to trying to illustrate its character by showing its historic buildings, some of its history and snippets about its famous or otherwise interesting residents.

Pinner is a quiet, garden suburb with a picturesque "Olde Worlde" High Street, in an area Sir John Betjeman famously named "Metroland". Pinner is halfway between Harrow and Watford and only 22 minutes from Central London by Metropolitan Line. Centuries old, Pinner was one of the ten hamlets of the medieval Harrow Manor, and is by far the most easily distinguishable of those "hamlets" today. The name Pinner is nowadays considered to be of Saxon origin. Among the oldest written records of Pinner is one telling us that the church was here during the 1230s.

                                 St John's Church 1837                             Pinner Fair 1885                              Pinner High Street 1908                                Pinner Coach 1914

It is also one of the very few villages in the country which still holds an annual fair, dating back to 1336. Records of Pinner go all the way back to the Domesday Book. An ancient coaching village, it still maintains its character today, in spite of being geographically absorbed into the metropolitan sprawl of modern suburbia.

The Pinn runs through Pinner in several streams. At the foot of the High Street, it emerges from the bridge from which Bridge Street derives its name. The High Street then stretches upwards for approximately 150 metres towards St John's Parish Church at the top of the High Street, just in front of the Parish Church, stands the war memorial.

Every November on Remembrance Sunday, Pinner residents gather at the memorial to pay their respects to the dead of two world wars and other conflicts and watch while a succession of wreaths from a wide variety of Pinner organisations are laid in memory, respect and gratitude.

Most of the High Street can be described as Elizabethan in style if not in fact. Its survival, relatively intact, is not by chance. Which brings us to Pinner's cultural dimension.

The Pinner Association devotes itself, to a range of social activities, including the continued maintenance of the historic character of Pinner. It monitors the activities of the local authority, ensuring that Pinner is protected from mistakes of bureaucracy. It inhibits the erection of inappropriate fascia's to High Street frontages. It contributes to the maintenance of the gardens. It provides public benches. Annually organises Christmas street lighting and publishes 'The Villager'.

According to "Harrow before your Time"; John Zephaniah Holwell, a survivor of the Black Hole of Calcutta wrote his account of the tragedy while living in Pinner.

A less desirable resident was the Nazi Joachim Von Ribbentrop sometime foreign minister during the Nazi regime. He was ambassador to Britain from 1936 to 1938. He lived on Pinner Hill.

William Heath Robinson lived in Moss Lane, he was an English cartoonist and illustrator, best-known for his complicated and outlandish inventions he portrayed. In the 1930s Heath Robinson was known as "The Gadget King" and he is still most widely remembered for his wonderful humorous drawings. Examples of which can be seen in the gallery and museum shop now housed in West House in the Memorial Park.

In recent years, many celebrities from radio, television, cinema, sport, and journalism have been seen in the village, often supporting local charitable events. Some popular names include Bob Hollness, Barry Cryer, Clare Rayner and Elton John. Before retiring from show business Ronnie Barker could often be seen in the High Street as has been David Suchet.

A major event in the history of Pinner was the granting of a charter in 1336 by King Edward III to John, Archbishop of Canterbury, for a market to be held every week on Wednesday and for two fairs every year. The tradition of one annual Pinner Fair still survives today, on the first Wednesday following Whitsunday.
The annual celebration of St George's Day is marked with various events in the High Street including live music, a visit from St George, the annual Wheel Barrow Race and Morris Dancing. A relatively new Pinner tradition however is the annual big band music during the summer in the Memorial Park, plus the Pantomime Evening held in late November. Traders dress up and shops are open late. The evening also features amusements and rides for the children, street entertainers, choirs and bands, a Santa's grotto, and it all culminates in a spectacular firework display.