Middlesex, England


Middlesex, an inland county within the basin of the Thames, bounded on the N by Herts, on the E by Essex, on the SE by Kent, on the S and the SW by Surrey, and on the W by Bucks. Its outline is very irregular, but may be described as that of a parallelogram extending from E to W with two quadrilateral projections on the NE and SW. The boundary is traced along all the E by the river Lea, along all the SW, the S, and the SE by the river Thames, and along most of the W by the river Colne. The length from NE to NW is 28 miles, the greatest breadth 17 1/2, the circuit is 104 (40 of which are along the course of the Thames), and the area is 181,301 acres, and its population 3,251,671. With the exception of Rutland it is the smallest county in England, but in its population it is only exceeded by one other county, viz., Lancashire. Part of the surface is low and level, most is undulating, without heights lofty enough to be called hills; the SE portion is all occupied by the main body and many outskirts of the metropolis, and the portion northward thence rises in elevation from about 200 to about 400 feet above sea-level. Few parts, except in some artificial sense, can be termed picturesque, but a large proportion abounds with ornature, and the chief eminences command extensive and very pleasing views. The principal streams besides those on the boundaries are the New river, the Old river, the Brent, and the Cran. The rocks or geognostic formations over almost the entire area are lower eocene, chiefly London clay; they are extensively overlaid or mixed with alluvial gravel, and have been found to contain great numbers of fossils.

The soil is variously clayey, sandy, and gravelly, and has in most parts been worked into a fertile loam by manuring and culture. Most farms average about 100 acres, but many comprise from 200 to 600 acres. Meadow lands form a large aggregate, and usually yield two crops of good hay. The chief crops on the ploughed lands are wheat, with good returns; barley, about 20 bushels per acre; green pease, 10 to 50 sacks; grey pease, 30 bushels; beans, 30 bushels; potatoes, turnips, and clover. About 9000 acres are disposed in market gardens, and about 4500 in orchards. Osiers and willows are grown in some parts for basketmakers. Shorthorned, Holderness, Ayrshire, and Alderney cows are bred for the metropolitan dairies; draught and riding horses, of mixed breeds and superior strength and action, are reared for the market; and pigs, in connection with the refuse of distilleries and other establishments, are purchased for fattening. The rural economy as a whole differs widely from that of any average agricultural county, makes comparatively small produce of corn or flax, and figures most in the supply of vegetables, fruit, herbage, and milk to the metropolis.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5
View the full transcript

Archives and Libraries

London Metropolitan Archives
40 Northampton Road
Tel 020 7332 3820
Fax 020 7833 9136
Email ask.lma@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Church Records

We have a database containing transcripts of marriage records for some parishes in Middlesex.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

List of Registration Districts in Middlesex from 1837 to 1974.

Directories & Gazetteers

The Historical Directories web site have a number of directories relating to Middlesex online, including:
Kelly's, Pigot, Slater, etc.

Land and Property

A transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Middlesex is available online.


Old map of Middlesex circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)

Old map of Middlesex circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)

Parishes and places

The towns and parishes have now been moved to a separate page.