The inter-war suburban sprawl of Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire which grew up alongside the Metropolitan Railway (now the Metropolitan line of the London Underground) where a new breed of commuter overran the small villages and market towns of Ruislip, Hillingdon, Uxbridge, Pinner, Northwood, Rickmansworth, Chorleywood and Amersham. Endless streets of comfortable red brick and stockbroker Tudor housing were built on (literally) greenfield sites, in many cases forming private estates like Moor Park, clustered around the stations often some distance from the places they were originally named for, creating new settlements like Little Chalfont and Amersham-on-the-Hill, but all within three quarters of an hour from the City.
The creator of the Metroland image was the future poet laureate John Betjeman:
Gaily into Ruislip Gardens
Runs the red electric train,
With a thousand Ta's and Pardon's
Daintily alights Elaine;
Hurries down the concrete station
With a frown of concentration,
Out into the outskirt's edges
Where a few surviving hedges
Keep alive our lost Elysium - rural Middlesex again.
John Betjeman - Middlesex, 1954
In the years just before and after the second world war, the promise of "rural" living drew many inner city dwellers out into the foothills of the Chilterns
in a realtively short time. The Metropolitan Line originally continued out to Aylesbury
and into the Vale
, but electrification stopped at Amersham and the rest became part of British Railways; the Metroland feel, not least the peculiarly distinctive municipal architecture, flat-rooved brick buildings often with steel framed arched windows, the design of the stations echoed in the mundane shopping streets, stops there, and the real countryside starts.