• LOCATION 2 | The Battle of Britain House: A Walk Through Ruislip Woods

    Hillingdon Trail Post

    Hillingdon Trail Post on London audio tour The Battle of Britain House: A Walk Through Ruislip Woods

    You will come to a wooden Hillingdon Trail post. Please stop there.

    This part of the woods is called Copse Wood and used to be manorial woodland and pheasant hunting grounds whose records can be traced back to the 1000s Norman Conquest of England. It is said that timber from these woods was used for the construction of the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. Ownership of the woods changed hands several times: from nobles to monasteries, and eventually to King's College Cambridge who became lords of the manor in the mid-1400s.

    It was King's College Cambridge who leased the area of Copse Wood known as Duck's Hill plantation to a farmer of Danish or German origin named Josef Conn in 1905. The lease mentioned a farmstead and arable land, and Josef Conn and his wife are credited with upgrading the farmhouse to a residence. They named it Horsens, perhaps after the city in Jutland where they hailed from.

    Mrs Josef Conn appears to have made a name for herself by introducing and popularising her unique Danish physical exercise regime for ladies to the UK. Her exercise booklet offered advice specifically for ladies: posture, common ailments, and health and fitness - and is still a relevant read today. She was the first woman to popularise wellness in the UK, and contemporary records such as newspaper adverts show that her fitness classes were franchised in every major city, often fronted by ladies of Danish or German heritage.

    The trace of the Josef Conn family is lost at the outbreak of WW1. It is said that they may have been interned as foreign nationals, or otherwise forced to move out.

    Let's get moving. Please cut through the trees to reach the next point. Please keep close to the road on your right, and mind your step. You will soon reach a gatehouse, where our next stop is.

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The Battle of Britain House: A Walk Through Ruislip Woods