The former Middlesex Municipal Borough of Harrow was made a London borough in 1965 as part of London's reorganisation of local government. It is on the northwest edge of London and is bordered by the London boroughs of Hillingdon, Ealing, Brent and Barnet, but also has a boundary with the county of Hertfordshire.

Population change

1966: 206,730 people
1998: 210,900 people

Until the 19th century, Harrow was largely rural. Large quantities of fruit and vegetables were grown here for sale in London. Hay was also an important product and many farmers became prosperous. The arrival of the railways in 1837 began the process of urbanisation, but the real spur to house-building was in the first half of the 20th century when the area became part of 'Metro-Land', the commuter suburbs served by the Metropolitan Railway.

Industry had always had a presence in Harrow, thanks to the transport facilities provided by the Grand Union Canal. Improvements to rail and roads brought more factories, notably the American film-processing firm, Kodak, which built a large factory in Harrow in 1891. The factory grew substantially over the 20th century and by 1965 occupied a 55-acre site.

Another notable firm was the Whitefriars glassworks, which relocated from its old home in the City of London in the early 1920s. The Whitefriars factory was built as a model factory, providing good working conditions for its highly skilled workforce. The factory closed in 1980 and the site was redeveloped as housing.

The borough has four historic parks and gardens: Grimsdyke Hotel Gardens, Canon's Park, Harrow Park, (formerly Flambards), and Bentley Priory. The borough is also home to Harrow public school. The school was founded in 1572 under a Royal Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I to John Lyon, a local yeoman. The school buildings were completed in 1615 and the school opened with just one pupil. Pupils from all over the world now study at the school, and former students have included prime ministers, statesmen and explorers. By the end of the 20th century, Harrow School had around 800 pupils.

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