The borough was formed in 1965 from the Hayes and Harlington Urban District, Municipal Borough of Uxbridge, Ruislip-Northwood Urban District, and Yiewsley and West Drayton Urban District of Middlesex. The councils involved were initially unable to decide upon a name, with Keith Joseph suggesting "Uxbridge" in October 1963, later revised to Hillingdon.
The coat of arms for the London Borough of Hillingdon was granted on 22 March 1965. Between 1973 and 1978, the borough's civic centre was built in Uxbridge.
The borough has been twinned with the French town of Mantes-la-Jolie and the German town of Schleswig since the Hayes & Harlington Urban District created the link in 1958. The twinning programme was reviewed in 2011 and it was suggested that the link with Schleswig be ended owing to a lack of contact between the towns. In December 2011, the borough decided instead to end the link with a second German town, Emden, citing administrative problems.
Population grew from 2001–2011 by 11.5% - 4.4% above the England and Wales mean of 7.1% - as part of the fastest population-growth area, Greater London. By comparison Merton and Bromley had growth of 4.5% and Tower Hamlets had growth of 26.4%. Households increased from 2001–2011 by 3.3%, and the average number of people per household was 2.7.
The borough is governed by an elected council, known interchangeably by the full name and as Hillingdon Council. It is split into wards represented by 65 Conservative and Labour councillors. A cabinet and leader are elected annually. The present leader of the council is Cllr. Ray Puddifoot MBE of the Conservative Party. Elections for councillors are held every four years.
A Mayor is chosen yearly by councillors; the role is largely ceremonial. The present mayor is Councillor George Cooper, who was elected in May 2015.
In the London assembly elections, Ealing and Hillingdon Borough form a geographical constituency with one member as there are eleven London-wide members, currently from the four biggest parties. Conservative candidate Richard Barnes won the 2000, 2004 and 2008 elections, and since the 2012 election the Labour candidate Onkar Sahota has served as the area's designated member on the London Assembly.
At the same election in 2012 Conservative mayoral candidate Boris Johnson won the largest share of Hillingdon's votes in becoming elected Mayor of London for a second term.
The British Government's UK Visas and Immigration has two immigration removal centres: Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre and Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre in Harmondsworth.
The borough comprises 17 main districts, several of which have neighbourhoods, communities or localities within them and one of which is historic:
For local elections, the borough is further divided into wards: Barnhill Ward, Botwell Ward, Brunel Ward, Cavendish Ward, Charville Ward, Eastcote and East Ruislip Ward, Harefield Ward, Heathrow Villages Ward, Hillingdon East Ward, Ickenham Ward, Manor Ward, Northwood Hills Ward, Northwood Ward, Pinkwell Ward, South Ruislip Ward, Townfield Ward, Uxbridge North Ward, Uxbridge South Ward, West Drayton Ward, West Ruislip Ward, Yeading Ward, Yiewsley Ward:.
The borough also includes RAF Northolt and the former sites of RAF Eastcote, RAF South Ruislip, RAF West Drayton, RAF Ruislip 4MU, RAF West Ruislip and RAF Uxbridge.
52.2% of the borough's population identified themselves as White British in the 2011 census. Much of the ethnic diversity is in the south-east of the borough, in particular Hayes.
The wards where whites are not the largest race group are:Barnhill (the area east of Hayes, south of Yeading),
Pinkwell (mostly the area around the railway station in southern Hayes),
Township (east of Hayes and west of Southall),
Whites as a whole form 60.6% of the borough, Asians 25.3%, and Blacks 7.3%. In addition, the most common language, English (81.2%), is followed by Punjabi (3.4%), Polish (1.5%), Tamil (1.4%) and Urdu (1.3%).
The borough maintains over 200 green spaces, totalling around 1,800 acres (730 ha). As much of the area is within the Metropolitan Green Belt it was, in 2008, one of the least densely populated of all the London boroughs; open spaces range in size from the Colne Valley Regional Park by the River Colne in the north of the borough, to smaller gardens and parks such as the Norman Leddy Memorial Gardens and Lake Farm Country Park in the south of the borough.
Council leader Raymond Puddifoot had given a promise that green-belt land in Hillingdon would be safe on his watch: 'I can give a categoric assurance that under this administration we will never see a threat to the green belt.' In August 2012, however, Mr Puddifoot announced plans to build on green-belt (and longtime common land) site Lake Farm in the south of the borough. Dismissing the discontent of residents in the south of the borough, the Conservative majority of the Council's planning committee peremptorily rubber-stamped the plans in March 2013.
Harmondsworth Moor, a park owned by the borough, is administered by British Airways on behalf of the borough. After British Airways planned to create a new headquarters in 1992, the airline agreed to convert a former landfill site into Harmondsworth Moor.
The Grand Union Canal passes through parts of the borough, including Hayes, Uxbridge, Yiewsley and West Drayton. Ruislip Lido was built as a feeder reservoir for the canal, but was eventually disconnected and changed to become a recreational lido. Two Sites of Special Scientific Interest next to the canal, Frays Farm Meadows and Denham Lock Wood, are managed by the London Wildlife Trust.
The borough also operates children's centres, recreational areas for children of under five years of age and their families. The centres include: Barra Hall, Belmore, Cherry Lane, Colham Manor, Cornerstone, Cowley St. Laurence, Harefield, Hillside, McMillan Early Childhood Centre, Nestles Avenue, Oak Farm, and Uxbridge College (Hayes Campus).
The borough owns four theatres: the Beck Theatre in Hayes (which is operated on behalf of the borough by HQ Theatres Limited), the Compass Theatre in Ickenham, the Winston Churchill Theatre and Hall (part of the Manor Farm site) and the Open Air Theatre, Barra Hall Park in Hayes.
The Borough has seven Non-League football clubs:A.F.C. Hayes, who play at Farm Park, Hayes.
Harefield United F.C., who play at Preston Park, Harefield.
Hayes & Yeading United F.C., who currently play their first team games outside the borough at Maidenhead United F.C..
Hillingdon Borough F.C. who play at the Middlesex Stadium, Ruislip.
Northwood F.C. who play at the Northwood Park Stadium, Northwood.
Uxbridge F.C. who play at Honeycroft, West Drayton.
Wealdstone F.C. who play at St Georges Stadium, Ruislip.
The borough is also home to Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre (HOAC) a water sports and activity centre, which is also home to a number of independently run sports clubs:Queensmead Sailing Club
Hillingdon Rowing Club
Hillingdon Junior Canoe Club
Harrow Angling Club
Hillingdon has a large economy by national standards, ranked 14th out of 408 local area districts in Britain, and ranked 5th out of the London boroughs.
British Airways is headquartered in Waterside, Harmondsworth, in Hillingdon. The building officially opened in 1998. Prior to the opening of Waterside, the airline's head office was the Speedbird House at London Heathrow Airport. An office of American Airlines is located at the Orient House (HAA3) within Waterside.
In 2007 Cadbury Schweppes announced it would be moving to Uxbridge from Mayfair to cut costs. The company later split and Cadbury plc moved to its new head office in Cadbury House in the Uxbridge Business Park in June 2008.
Guoman Hotel Management (UK) Limited has its head office in the Thistle London Heathrow in West Drayton.
British Midland International has an office in Stockley Close, West Drayton, Borough of Hillingdon. In July 1999 Sir Michael Bishop formally opened the British Midland Training Centre, which is located in Stockley Close. Hellenic Imperial Airways has its United Kingdom offices in the Axis House in Harlington in the London Borough of Hillingdon. China Airlines has its UK office in the Hyde Park Hayes 3 (HPH3) in Hayes in the borough.
One of the predecessor organisations of British Airways, British Overseas Airways Corporation had its head office in the Speedbird House. The other predecessor, British European Airways had its headquarters in Ruislip, as did BEA Helicopters. During its existence the airline British Eagle had its head office on the grounds of Heathrow Airport.
The borough maintains seventeen libraries: Charville, Eastcote, Harefield, Harlington, Hayes End, Hayes, Ickenham, Manor Farm, Northwood Hills, Northwood, Oak Farm, Ruislip Manor, South Ruislip, Uxbridge, West Drayton, Yeading, and Yiewsley.
In May 2011, Hillingdon Council received the Library Innovation of the Year award at the 2011 Bookseller Industry Awards.
Also within the borough is Brunel University and Uxbridge College's Uxbridge and Hayes campuses.
London Bus routes 81, 90, 105, 111, 114, 140, 195, 203, 207, 222, 282, 285, 331, 350, 398, 423, 427, 482, 490, 607, A10, E6, E7, E9, H11, H13, H25, H26, H98, U1, U2, U3, U4, U5, U7, U9, U10, X26, night routes N9 and N207 and school routes 696, 697 and 698 operate in the borough. The routes 58, 60, 61, 71, 75, 76, 77, 305, 441, 555, 557, 581, 615, 724, 740, A30, A40, R21, W7 and W9 are run by other operators.
National Rail and London Underground stations in the borough are:Eastcote tube station
Hatton Cross tube station
Hayes and Harlington railway station
Heathrow Central railway station
Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 tube station
Heathrow Terminal 4 railway station
Heathrow Terminal 4 tube station
Heathrow Terminal 5 station
Hillingdon tube station
Ickenham tube station
Northwood Hills tube station
Northwood tube station
Ruislip Gardens tube station
Ruislip Manor tube station
Ruislip tube station
South Ruislip station
Uxbridge tube station
West Ruislip station
West Drayton railway station
In March 2011, the main forms of transport that residents used to travel to work were: driving a car or van, 34.5% of all residents aged 16–74; underground, metro, light rail, tram, 7.9%; bus, minibus or coach, 7.9%; on foot, 4.6%; train, 2.8%; work mainly at or from home, 2.6%; passenger in a car or van, 2.0%.
The council announced in June 2011 that it would be lobbying Transport for London to have the Central line extended from West Ruislip station to Uxbridge station. Such a project would require a business case approved by TfL and the completion of signal upgrade work on the Metropolitan line.
The Royal Air Force station, RAF Northolt, is situated in South Ruislip near the A40 and the tube station. Most early RAF airfields were named after the nearest railway station; in this case Northolt Junction, the original name of South Ruislip station. The station has been redeveloped in recent years to house a number of additional military capabilities besides the RAF operations, and is popular with business people and politicians for private flights.
Hillingdon is twinned with: Mantes-la-Jolie, France
Schleswig, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany