The Borough of Hillingdon was formed in 1965 from the old Urban Districts of Hayes and Harlington, Ruislip- Northwood, Yiewskey and West Drayton and the former Borough of Uxbridge. It is the most westerly of the north London boroughs and borders the Boroughs of Harrow, Ealing and Hounslow.

Population change

1966: 233,030 people
1998: 249,400 people

The Hillingdon district was largely rural until the late 19th century. Made up of small hamlets and villages, its main settlement was the market town of Uxbridge. The district developed rapidly in the early 20th century as roads and railways brought housing and light industry.

In 1996 nearly 25% of Hillingdon's population worked in the transport sector, reflecting the presence in the borough of Heathrow Airport. Built in the 1930s as a military airfield, Heathrow became London's main airport in the late 1940s. By the end of the 20th century it was not only the UK's busiest airports but one of the world's busiest airports, with over 60 million passengers annually. The airport is named after the small hamlet of Heath Row, which was demolished and stood roughly where Terminal Three is today. Before the Second World War most commercial airplanes flew to and from Croydon Airport however this was deemed to small and Heathrow opened for civilian use in 1946.

The suburban housing estates of the 1920s and 1930s also brought golf courses and other recreation facilities. The Lido in Ruislip was opened in 1936, using a reservoir built in 1811 as a feeder for the Grand Union Canal. Water skiing, boat-hire and a miniature railway were all available to entertain visitors. During the 1970s the Lido lost favour but in the 1990s it began to be refurbished for a new generation of Hillingdonians.

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