The suburbs are consistently derided by nearly everybody for the vapid lifestyle that they produce and the undertones that they sometimes suggest. City folks will laugh at suburbanites for having no experience with culture or "the streets" while country people will consider suburbanites as the only thing worse than city folks. As a suburb of London, Hounslow already has its work cut out for itself in trying to maintain a distinct identity. Many suburbs and cities that are near London are either swallowed up by the all-encompassing behemoth or they stand as stark contrasts to the real deal and are thus looked upon in disgust. To make matters worse, many cities and suburbs that flank London are often only a few decades old and have little to no culture or history to draw upon. The only thing worse than being a city with no culture or history is being a city with culture and history yet still being compared to the former. This is where we find Hounslow: It is a city rich with age and wonder and yet it often gets the short end of the stick by both city and country people alike.
First off, Hounslow has been a city for over eight hundred years. This puts it easily among London as one of the older cities in England. The town started out with an economy based on transport and in many ways one can still see remnants of this tradition even today. By the 1600s, when the stagecoach industry was at its peak, Hounslow was a name on every Londoner's lips. It makes sense when you think about it; in those days every city that was close to London benefited from the growth of the city and the vast wealth of the aristocracy. Since London was a place that had to be visited for various reasons, and since London was a place that had to be escaped from every now and then, any town within its vicinity found that becoming a transport hub was a great way to boost the local economy. The wealthy Londoners would then exit the shadow of London by way of a stagecoach in, say, Hounslow and then go to spa towns that were themselves becoming major cities thanks to the rich clientele. Later rich Londoners would eschew the spa for the ocean and thus create magnificent seaside resort towns. By that time, though, the railways and the industrial revolution were just around the corner and the stagecoach was a quickly disappearing relic.
Naturally, the advent of the railways made it easier to leave and visit London without having to deal with stagecoach towns. This hurt Hounslow's economy at first but, as the railways gave way to motorways, Hounslow found that it could benefit from the long stretch of road it now had and it began to set up a factory district that would ensure the city's long-term prosperity. This is where we find Hounslow today and thankfully the city hasn't completely lost touch of its roots. Amid factories and warehouses you can find abbeys and rectories. Hounslow is a city of the past steeped in the present and is thus worth a visit at least once in your life.
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