My Mum lives in a small town called Isleworth, on the outskirts of London. It’s a town I’ve always thought of as having no real significance, it’s too far out of central London to have made me a cool kid while in High School and in LA, no one’s heard of it. I usually just say I’m from Hammersmith, which is a half-truth, as that’s where I was born, and it’s more likely to get a glimmer of recognition from a well travelled American. I’ve always felt a little bit ashamed of coming from here, but on my last run of 2012, and thanks to RunToInspire, I think I discovered a new-found appreciation of this little village.
This entire #RunToInspire project has me running everywhere with my camera, and if you’re new to the blog, it’s all about inspiring runners to capture their runs- hopefully to benefit a homeless charity or two. I knew Osterley Park and the stately home there was worthy of a blog which was my first run when I landed, and I do genuinely love running around that park, but it’s quite a short run, so today I needed something a little longer and decided to take my phone with me down to Old Isleworth.
In ‘Feet In The Cloud’ Richard Askwith’s memoir of running in the UK, he specifically recalls that one of the greatest pleasures of running is the thought of the pint of beer and warm bath that would be waiting for him when he returned home. For me, running in London is about what I will see when I turn the next corner, and as I set off, I really didn’t expect to see all the amazing things I captured.
The way the sun hit St John’s Church for example made me appreciate it for the first time ever, I think.
Isleworth is actually a Roman Settlement so dates back thousands of years, it’s close to the River Thames and settlers would have been attracted to the water and fertile grounds for farms.
After the Norman Conquest of 1066, a French family controlled the area, building various stately homes and such, and it remained in French control until the 1200′s when Henry II took the land back.
The oldest records of the area indicate there has been a church in Isleworth since the late 1300′s. I’m not entirely sure where that would be but feel that the oldest is on this stretch of the river here:
I can’t believe how luck I got with the weather, the sky was crystal clear – I love winter days like this, when the air seems so fresh and clean.
In the 1800′s most of Isleworth became farmlands and provided fruit and vegetables to the center of London. As a result many rich merchants and traders set up shop, and we have gorgeous Edwardian streets as a result.
Robin Harvie says in “Why We Run” that ‘Home is always a gravitational point to which our internal compass points’ and while I may not have that gravitational pull towards Isleworth, I definitely have it towards London, and running over here the past week or so has been a privilege - one which I may not as fully appreciated without this project, and all of you for making it a reality.
Wishing you all love and prosperity in 2013.