Ealing and Brentford: Growth of Ealing

Pages 105-113

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7, Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1982.

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Early settlement is attested by finds of Palaeolithic articles, chiefly around Ealing common and the main railway line, Neolithic implements, coins of the Iron Age, and Romano-British burials at Hanger Hill. (fn. 2) Although no Anglo-Saxon settlement is recorded, the name Ealing denotes the Gillingas, or Gilla's people, of c. 700. (fn. 3)

Ealing village and the medieval church lay at the centre of the parish, between two streams and south of Uxbridge Road. Smaller hamlets arose to the west at Ealing Dean and to the south-west at Little Ealing, both of them between the more westerly stream and the Brent. (fn. 4) South-east of Ealing village lay the manor house of Gunnersbury. North of Uxbridge Road the heavy clay land was less attractive to early settlement. Hanger Hill was so called from a hangra or 'wooded slope', where a wood existed in 1393 and 1539, as was the farm at Pitshanger, whose name occurred in 1222. (fn. 5) Drayton Green, close to Ealing Dean, and Haven Green, an extension of Ealing village, were the only settlements north of Uxbridge Road in the early 19th century. (fn. 6) There was then a contrast between the large estates north of the road, with their farms and parkland, and the more populous area to the south, with its market gardens joining those of Brentford. (fn. 7)

There were 85 households in Ealing and its surrounding hamlets, excluding Old Brentford, in 1599 and 116 by 1664. Ealing village was as large as the other hamlets combined in 1675. (fn. 8) The relative sizes of the hamlets in the 18th century cannot be assessed, (fn. 9) but the northern part of the parish as a whole was much less populous than Old Brentford or Lower Side, which had 259 households in 1664, (fn. 10) and was to remain so until 1861. (fn. 11) Ealing and Little Ealing in 1746 were described merely as very pleasant villages near Brentford, (fn. 12) although Ealing was noted for its royal and noble residents in the 18th and early 19th centuries, before becoming a spacious upper middle-class suburb from the 1860s. (fn. 13)

Ealing village, where there was a church by c. 1127, (fn. 14) was also known in 1274 and 1393 as Church Ealing (fn. 15) and from 1593 as Great Ealing. (fn. 16) It was linear in shape, extending northward from the church along a street, much of it bordered by a narrow green, almost to Uxbridge Road. The village, with no medieval manor house and with no inn in 1599, (fn. 17) won little notice from travellers until the late 18th century, although in assessments of 1711 and later it was sometimes described as Ealing town. (fn. 18) Objects found in Grange Road and at the north end of Ealing green suggest that by 1700 buildings stretched the length of the modern St. Mary's Road. The finds from Grange Road may have come from Ealing House, which, with the adjoining Ealing Grove, originated in an estate of the late 16th century. (fn. 19)

By 1746 there had been little building south of the church, except a boys' school in South Ealing Road, but houses stood on either side of St. Mary's Road, those at the northern end facing each other across Ealing green. There was a pond on the green near the entrance to Mattock Lane, Maddock Lane in 1766, south of Ashton House or its forerunner. The village was extended still farther north by some buildings at the corner of Uxbridge Road. The high road itself was almost empty, apart from the Feathers and, to the east, the Bell. Beyond the Feathers, north of the road, houses stood on the north and east sides of the Haven or Haven Green, (fn. 20) an area normally assessed separately from Ealing village in the 18th century. (fn. 21)

Eminent residents, in addition to the occupiers of neighbouring estates mentioned below, included Earl Rivers and Lady Russell as early as 1704. (fn. 22) The novelist Henry Fielding (1707-54) from 1752 had a country house at Fordhook, north of Uxbridge Road near the Acton boundary, since the air was the 'best in the kingdom'. (fn. 23) Of two storeys and attics, with a stuccoed front of five bays, (fn. 24) Fordhook was a farmhouse in 1795 (fn. 25) and the home of Byron's widow Lady NoelByron in 1835. (fn. 26) Noted for its gardens in 1845, it was pulled down after 1903. (fn. 27)

Although the parish became increasingly fashionable during the 18th century, housing in Ealing village spread very little between 1746 and 1822. By 1777 there were a few buildings in Mattock Lane and by 1822 some more in Love Lane, later the Grove, besides the Coach and Horses and a few other buildings, including almshouses, in Uxbridge Road. (fn. 28) The handsome villas noted from the 1790s included many that were outside the village, (fn. 29) which in 1816 bore a 'desirable air of retirement and country quiet.' There were however some dignified residences around the green, including one of c. 1770 later altered by Sir John Soane and known as Pitzhanger Manor House. (fn. 30) Several smaller houses also were rebuilt, many surviving in 1979. (fn. 31)

The railway station, opened in 1838, was thought in 1845 to have brought many visitors to a pretty but previously little known place, (fn. 32) and already to have stimulated building to the north. (fn. 33) Within the old village the Park was laid out by Sidney Smirke as a residential side street off the east side of St. Mary's Road in 1846, (fn. 34) when it was also agreed to build on 9 a. belonging to Ashton House between Mattock Lane and Uxbridge Road. Some large villas there constituted Ealing's first successful building scheme on such a scale, although completion proved slow: Ashton House itself survived in the mid 1860s, when much of the Uxbridge Road frontage but only part of Mattock Lane had been built up. Meanwhile at the south end of the village smaller houses were being planned around Ranelagh Road on the Old Rectory estate, which had been bought c. 1852 by the Conservative Freehold Land Society, the first land society to obtain a foothold in Ealing. Progress was slow, only c. 20 houses being ready by the mid 1860s, presumably because the railway station was too far away. (fn. 35)

The northern end of the village, close to the railway, grew more rapidly, although a poor train service may have slowed building on the Ashton House estate and along the northern side of Uxbridge Road, where Christ Church had been erected in 1852-3. The road between Ealing green and Uxbridge Road was called High Street by 1873, when continuous building lined its eastern side, opposite the grounds of Ashton House. (fn. 36) High Street's western side was built up near Uxbridge Road in the 1870s and farther south in the 1880s. (fn. 37) The street consisted mainly of shops in 1877, when they extended to the stretch of Uxbridge Road called the Broadway and were about to be built along a more easterly stretch, the Mall. (fn. 38) East of High Street, buildings put up by John Galloway in Oxford Road included a block on the corner of the Broadway. (fn. 39)

A spate of building in the late 1870s and early 1880s saw Uxbridge Road lined with houses in both directions, the section near the station being dignified with shops, local offices, and, in 1889, a town hall. (fn. 40) The town extended to Ealing common by 1886, when large detached houses lined North Common Road, although on the east the common was still bordered by open country. (fn. 41) North Common Road, like the municipal offices and, earlier, Christ Church, was built on land belonging to the Wood family, whose estate included both sides of Uxbridge Road from Haven Green to the eastern boundary, besides frontages towards West Ealing. (fn. 42) New housing was still mainly for the middle or upper middle classes, following the example set elsewhere on the Woods' estate, although standards were less strict than in the 1850s. Farther south humbler housing was provided west of St. Mary's and South Ealing roads on the Beaconsfield estate of c. 1880, from Disraeli Road as far south as Venetia Road, which was close to the new South Ealing station. (fn. 43) Although building did not yet extend beyond the railway, a stretch of South Ealing Road on either side of the line was called Station Parade in 1886. (fn. 44) Housing also stretched eastward from St. Mary's Road over the Grange estate, along Warwick Road by 1883 and the south part of Windsor Road from 1889. (fn. 45) The western roads were short ones, leading to the future Walpole park, opened in 1901, and Lammas park, acquired in 1881, which together helped to preserve the old north-south line of the village. (fn. 46)

In 1893 most business premises were in High Street, the Broadway, and the Mall, or in Spring Bridge Road, leading to the west side of Haven Green, and the Parade, a row of shops near the station at the south-east corner of Haven Green. (fn. 47) The almshouses made way for shops on the south side of the Mall in 1902. (fn. 48) Bond Street, leading due north from Ealing green to Uxbridge Road, was under construction in 1904, when Ashton House was finally pulled down. (fn. 49) Shopping parades were built in 1905 both there and along the south side of the stretch of Uxbridge Road known as New Broadway, (fn. 50) where electric trams had run since 1901. (fn. 51) So was created an urban centre along Uxbridge Road and its shorter offshoots, in contrast with the much quieter old village along Ealing green and St. Mary's Road.

Growth around Uxbridge Road was largely to serve new suburbs to the north, themselves the product of better public transport. In the 20th century rebuilding and infilling continued along the main road, where most of the town's shops and restaurants were said to be modern in style in 1954 (fn. 52) and where some imposing office blocks were built towards the west from the 1960s. (fn. 53) In the 1970s there were large modern stores on the south side of the Broadway, a street which also retained a refronted parade of 1883 and which had been altered much more than the Mall. Meanwhile at Haven Green some houses on the north side made way in the 1930s for the fivestoreyed block of 160 flats called Haven Court. In St. Mary's Road the technical college was built in 1929 opposite Cairn Avenue, itself laid out by 1934 on the site of a house called the Owls, but otherwise little change took place in the old village or the Victorian avenues which branched off it on either side. (fn. 54)

The Broadway and its neighbourhood was by far the busiest of Ealing L.B.'s shopping centres in the early 1970s, with a turnover twice that of Acton or Southall. Rebuilding south of the Broadway and east of High Street was suggested in the 1950s, approved by the council in 1969, and planned to begin in a modified form in 1980, by which date several small streets behind the shops and north of the Grove had been demolished. The new scheme included shops, offices, flats, car parks, and a pedestrian precinct. (fn. 55)

In 1980 a conservation area stretched from Pitzhanger Manor House to St. Mary's church (fn. 56) where the line of old Ealing village along the west side of the road contained several brown-brick houses of the 18th and early 19th century. (fn. 57) Those along Ealing green include the 18thcentury St. Mary's, the 19th-century pair formed by Pine Cottage and Thorpe Lodge, and a group of c. 1800 formed by St. Aidan and the neighbouring terrace of Morgan House, Wrexham Lodge, the Willow House. Farther south in St. Mary's Road stand the larger Ealing Court Mansions and Westfield House (no. 94), both of the early 19th century. The second faces the small St. Mary's Square, crossed by heavy traffic, where humbler buildings, including the former fire station, mark the southern limit of the 19thcentury village. In Church Lane, leading west from the square, nos. 1 and 17 are 18th-century cottages. At the north-east end of the village, the Mall contains a pair of stuccoed early 19thcentury houses, nos. 42-3, next to some shops.

Little Ealing, so called by 1650, (fn. 58) lay 1 km. south-west of the parish church. Equidistant from Uxbridge Road and Brentford, it was linked with them by Northfield Lane (later Avenue) and Windmill Lane respectively and grew up where they met Little Ealing Lane from the east. (fn. 59) The manor house of Coldhall was once thought to have stood farther east beside South Ealing Road, but more probably it was near the lanes' junction on the west side of Northfield Lane. (fn. 60) By 1664 the largest house was probably Place House, south of the junction and later called Ealing Park. (fn. 61)

Until the late 19th century Little Ealing was only a small hamlet, with 14 householders assessed for church rates in 1704 and 1719, (fn. 62) 19 in 1750, and 14 in 1766. (fn. 63) Its population was 129 in 1841. (fn. 64) Buildings included the early 18thcentury Rochester House, (fn. 65) at the corner of Little Ealing Lane and close to the Plough, perhaps the inn so called in 1722 and said in 1898 to be the parish's oldest building. (fn. 66) All the houses were close to the lanes' junction in 1746 (fn. 67) and remained so in the 1860s. (fn. 68) A residence inherited from King Gould in 1756 by his son Charles (1726-1806), later a baronet and Judge Advocate-General, (fn. 69) may have been replaced by a nursery garden of Hugh Ronalds, west of the south end of Northfield Lane, before 1822. (fn. 70) Charles Gould sold much Ealing property, changed his name to Morgan, and moved to Monmouthshire; on the other hand his heirs still paid rates in Little Ealing, where his house was said to stand empty in 1898. (fn. 71)

Ealing Park and 70 a. were sold for building in 1882. (fn. 72) The house, as a convent, retained some of its landscaped grounds in the 1890s, (fn. 73) and Little Ealing was still a quiet hamlet in 1898. (fn. 74) To the south, however, Murray and Whitestile roads had been laid out by the British Land Co. by 1883 (fn. 75) and some houses stood in Darwin Road by 1896, foreshadowing the joining up of the village and northern Brentford. Soon the spread of housing around South Ealing station reached Little Ealing, where the old Plough was demolished in 1905 (fn. 76) and a school was built east of Rochester House. A few small shops were built on the east side of Northfield Avenue, between the Plough and Julien Road, c. 1909. (fn. 77)

By 1920 the grounds of Ealing Park had been mostly covered with terraced or semi-detached houses, as had all the land stretching eastward to South Ealing Road and northward to the District railway line. Some open ground survived on the west side of Northfield Avenue, near Niagara House, but much of the avenue had been built up beyond the railway, where the naming of a halt as Northfields and Little Ealing signified the end of the village's separate identity. By 1934 Niagara House had gone and there were more shops and a cinema on the west side of Northfield Avenue. The last adjoining open spaces, to the west, had been taken for sports grounds and for housing which stretched along Swyncombe Avenue to Boston Manor Road. (fn. 78)

Both the former Ealing Park (fn. 79) and Rochester House survived in 1980. Rochester House was presumably built for John Pearce (d. 1752), a London distiller who bought land at Little Ealing c. 1712, and named after his son Zachary Pearce, bishop of Rochester (1690-1774), who died there. (fn. 80) A residence of the exiled General Charles François Dumouriez (fn. 81) from 1804 to 1818, it later became a school and in 1980 housed the Institution of Production Engineers. It is a threestoreyed brown-brick building, with a late 18th-century extension to the south-west. (fn. 82)

Ealing Dean, perhaps so called from 'valley' or denu, was recorded from 1456 and was known earlier, from 1234, as West Ealing. (fn. 83) It grew up along Uxbridge Road 1.5 km. west of the north end of Ealing village beyond the 7-mile stone, where a crossroads was formed by the junction of the high road with Northfield Lane and Drayton Green Lane. (fn. 84) Ealing Dean's householders probably included at least half of the 25 assessed at Drayton in 1710 and the 34 at 'Drayton and the roadside' in 1719; eleven were assessed at the roadside alone in 1766. (fn. 85)

In 1746 and 1822 buildings stood only on the north side of Uxbridge Road, west of the crossroads. They included the Green Man, licensed by 1722, and the Old Hat, by 1759 the name of two inns, farther west. (fn. 86) One of the Old Hats was also called Halfway House by 1845 (fn. 87) and the other in the 1880s was claimed to have existed for 300 years. (fn. 88)

The G.W.R.'s main line from 1838 marked off a strip of land between itself and Uxbridge Road, where the working-class cottages of Stevens Town were built at Ealing Dean between 1840 and 1860. (fn. 89) As part of the district of Christ Church at Haven Green, they probably formed the neighbourhood which in 1864 was said to be attracting large numbers of the poor, whose low standards threatened to reduce it to the condition of Brentford. (fn. 90)

In 1873 the buildings along the north side of the main road, in front of Stevens Town, still faced fields, market gardens, the parish allotments beside Northfield Lane, and a solitary inn. East of the crossroads, however, there was building on both sides of Uxbridge Road and also at the west end of Mattock Lane, where St. John's church was built in 1876. Houses, with a few gaps, lined most of Uxbridge Road between Ealing Dean and the town (fn. 91) and spread rapidly between the road and the railway after the opening of Castle Hill, later West Ealing, station in 1871. (fn. 92) The northern part of the parish's only working-class housing of that date was built east of Stevens Town c. 1880. Serious overcrowding was said to exist in the following decade, when Ealing Dean had c. 8,000 people in 700 cottages. (fn. 93) By 1886 building stretched continuously along Uxbridge Road towards Ealing and also filled the short roads such as Broughton Road which branched off it towards the railway. (fn. 94)

The last part of Ealing Dean to be built up was on the south side of Uxbridge Road west of the crossroads. There were a few houses near the Hanwell boundary at the top of Coldershaw and Grosvenor roads in 1886 (fn. 95) and many more, as far east as Seaford Road, by 1896. (fn. 96) St. James's church was built for the western end of the suburb in 1903-4, by which date a stretch of Uxbridge Road served as a shopping centre half way between Ealing and Hanwell. (fn. 97) Some rebuilding took place there in the 1930s, when the stretch was known as the Broadway, West Ealing, and Stevens Town was rebuilt in the 1960s. By 1979 the Broadway was the second busiest shopping area in the borough. (fn. 98) Only between Seaford Road and the crossroads did open spaces survive, in the form of Dean gardens and the allotments which in 1980 still gave a rural air to the north end of Northfield Lane.

The Ealing-born novelist Nevil Shute (1899- 1960) was the son of Arthur H. Norway, who lived at no. 16 Somerset Road by 1890. (fn. 99)

Drayton Green, near to the Hanwell boundary, was called Drayton in 1387 and later often Drayton in Ealing, to distinguish it from the separate parish of West Drayton. (fn. 100) Although often taxed in the 18th century with houses along Uxbridge Road at Ealing Dean, (fn. 101) Drayton Green remained a distinct hamlet until the spread of building in the late 19th century.

The hamlet grew up near the site of a house, perhaps once moated, (fn. 102) at the northern end of a green. (fn. 103) In 1636 the green consisted of a rectangle bisected by the way later called Drayton Green Lane, which was bordered by narrower strips of waste for much of its course northward to Perivale ford. About a dozen buildings stood on the northern, eastern, and western sides of the green, including David Walter's Drayton House by the road at the north end and William Baringer's house next to some cottages on the east side. Most of the surrounding land was held by Walter, who was to be assessed on 11 hearths in 1664, (fn. 104) or Baringer.

Drayton Green, remained a small hamlet, where in 1766 only 8 householders were assessed for church rates (fn. 105) and where buildings in 1822 occupied much the same positions as in 1636. (fn. 106) The G.W.R. line ran close to the south end of the green from 1838 and perhaps helped to keep it separate from Ealing Dean. In the mid 1860s the surroundings were still open, whereas building had spread along most of the north side of Uxbridge Road. A house on the green, west of the lane, was called Manor House, although Drayton had never been a manor, and a farmhouse, later called Drayton Farm, lay to the north. A residence set back from the east side of the green was called Drayton House, with grounds stretching southward to a lodge by the railway. (fn. 107)

To the east Argyle and Sutherland roads were laid out in 1870, when the G.W.R. was about to open Castle Hill, later West Ealing, station. (fn. 108) Housing was approaching along those roads by 1886, (fn. 109) although Drayton Green itself remained unchanged in 1896. (fn. 110) The iron church of St. Luke stood north-east of the green, at the corner of the new Courtfield Gardens and Lynton Avenue, from 1901. (fn. 111) At that time the east side of the green was built up, Drayton House being replaced by a school which opened in 1908, (fn. 112) while the hamlet was hemmed in to the west by the G.W.R.'s depot and the loop line through Drayton Green station, opened in 1905. Semidetached houses had encroached on the northeastern corner of the green by 1908, when its remaining 4 a. were fenced and improved as an open space. (fn. 113) Manor House survived until after 1920, by which date there was building over all the grounds of Drayton House around Drayton Avenue. (fn. 114)

Away from the old hamlets, building in the northern half of the parish in the late 19th century followed the sale of large estates. (fn. 115) Activity was often delayed, however, by problems over drainage, caused partly by the London Clay and partly by the fact that the authority of Ealing's local board of health, set up in 1863, was not extended to the northern boundary until 1873. A modest beginning was the Ecclesiastical Commissioners' sale in 1852 of 5 a. of glebe at Castlebar Hill, where two houses were built in 1853 and most plots had been let by the early 1860s. Houses formed an isolated row in the later Castlebar Road in the mid 1860s, when building was about to start nearby in Eaton Rise, which was laid out by John Galloway. (fn. 116)

The most ambitious building scheme was that of Henry de Bruno Austin, (fn. 117) lessee of Castle Hill Lodge, (fn. 118) who in 1864 began to build on 190 a. between the G.W.R. line and the northern boundary, on both slopes of the western end of the Hanger Hill ridge. The land included 107 a. leased from C. P. Millard of Pitshanger, Brent, and Drayton Green farms and 65 a. from F. C. Swinden of Castle Hill Park, but not Castle Hill Park itself. Several roads had been laid out north of Castle Hill by 1866, where Kent Gardens was lined with large semi-detached houses and Cleveland Gardens, to the west, had a few 10bedroomed villas. Austin went bankrupt in 1872 and building on the most southerly part of his estate, near Castle Hill station, was delayed until its purchase by a land company in 1882. The rest of his land, where avenues had been laid out around St. Stephen's church, consecrated in 1876, remained empty in the 1890s. Building was also delayed on the adjoining estates of Castlebar Park, where St. Stephen's Road was laid out in 1874 but plots were not marked out until c. 1880, and Castle Hill Park, partly divided in 1870 but built up only gradually from 1880. Such delays in fulfilling the extensive plans of the 1860s made the early growth of north Ealing 'the most notable failure in outer west London'.

The largest landowner c. 1850 was the Wood family, with over 920 a. in Ealing and northern Acton, including the compact 750-a. Hanger Hill estate, land along Uxbridge Road, and smaller pieces near the Perivale boundary. The antiquary John Bowyer Nichols (1779-1863) was an early resident at Hanger Hill. (fn. 119) Although the first villas in Uxbridge Road were finished in the 1850s, most of the Woods' land was built up only after c. 1877, when activity was so intense that in 1878 six times as many houses were completed in Ealing as in 1876. Craven, Culmington, and Madeley roads recall the Shropshire associations of Edward Wood (d. 1904), of Culmington Manor, Craven Arms (Salop.). (fn. 120) Just as the first villas in Uxbridge Road had been intended for buyers who kept their own carriages, so most of the Woods' property north and west of Ealing town was intended for the upper middle class. Probably the area's assured social status explained the successful sale of houses in Mount Park Crescent, Madeley Road, and similar avenues in the 1880s. Most of the Hanger Hill estate, however, was not built up in 1899, when Wood complained that progress had been impeded by the construction of the South Harrow railway. (fn. 121)

Meanwhile cheaper housing was being built in Arlington Road and its neighbours north of Castle Hill station and, more widely, south of Uxbridge Road. The Beaconsfield estate on the west side of old Ealing village was the forerunner of extensive lower middle-class housing around South Ealing station and Little Ealing, where such houses may have hindered the sale of larger ones on the British Land Co.'s property around Whitestile Road.

In the mid 1890s (fn. 122) building joined the new urban centre at the north end of Ealing village to both Ealing Dean and the western end of Ealing common. It was also approaching Drayton Green and from Haven Green it stretched westward along Gordon Road, northward, and northeastward. Farther north some houses stood in Castlebar Park, Mount Avenue, and Montpelier Road. There remained empty roads around St. Stephen's church, however, and the fringes of the parish were still rural: near Brentside farm in the north-western corner, Woodbury and Pits hanger farm north of Pitshanger Lane, Hanger Hill House in the north-east, and Fordhook at the eastern end of Ealing common. South of Uxbridge Road housing branched to east and west from the old line of Ealing village but open country lay beyond on either side. Housing was approaching Little Ealing, in the south-west, from both Ealing and Brentford, whereas the south-eastern corner of the parish remained open. Gunnersbury Lodge stood north of Gunnersbury Lane, with Manor House to the west and the two seats of Gunnersbury Park and Gunnersbury House to the south, overlooking parkland and fields which stretched south to Chiswick High Road. A few buildings, including St. James's church, stood on the Ealing side of the high road and many more, constituting the suburb called Gunnersbury, on the Chiswick side.

The prosperous middle-class character of Ealing as a whole was widely advertised and strenuously defended. Unlike neighbouring authorities, the local board did not encourage cheap railway fares and its successor, the U.D.C., opposed all projected tramways after 1885. (fn. 123) Promotional literature, often financed by tradesmen, presented Ealing as more of a separate town in its own right than any other outlying suburb, offering in 1893, amidst 'charming rusticity', 'every advantage of modern civilization'. Few of the shops were mere branches of London stores, the main streets did not peter out in cheaper ones, and there were many fashionable promenades, clubs, hotels, and entertainments. (fn. 124) A low deathrate was repeatedly stressed and in 1904 ascribed to the gravel subsoil, high housing standards, and good sewerage. Potential residents were also lured by the private schools, which for long had produced famous pupils, by modest local rates, and the absence of industry. Pride was taken in being free of such 'nuisances' as non-parochial cemeteries or asylums and even in the fact that criminals were sent for trial to Brentford. (fn. 125) In 1901 Ealing had a higher proportion of female domestic servants than any suburb except Hampstead and Kensington. (fn. 126)

Renewed building activity from the late 1890s weakened some of the claims that Ealing was an exclusive suburb. By 1904 it was admitted that cheaper houses were spreading, although large ones were still going up and the rich had not been driven away. (fn. 127) In 1911 the whole borough was described, with exaggeration, as a garden suburb, since 12,000 trees had been planted since 1873. (fn. 128) It would have been true to say that the prosperous areas retained their identity, with the result that Ealing was still predominantly middle-class in 1911. (fn. 129)

In the northern part of the parish many plots were filled after 1896, during a building boom which reached its peak in 1903. Houses were at last built in Egerton Gardens and other roads around St. Stephen's church. (fn. 130) Already there was rebuilding on desirable sites, such as that of no. 17 Ealing Common, which made way for an ornate five-storeyed block of flats. (fn. 131) Most building, however, was in the south and west parts, notably on market gardens south of Ealing Dean, and was for clerks and other lower middle-class occupants. (fn. 132) Council houses were built on part of 6½ a. off South Ealing Road, bought in 1899, where 131 cottages and flats in North and South roads were first occupied in 1902. (fn. 133)

Six working men combined in 1901 to buy plots for 9 houses in Woodfield Road, east of Pitshanger Farm. (fn. 134) Encouraged by Henry Vivian, Ealing Tenants Ltd. was formed as a copartnership, also in 1901, to build terraces in Woodfield Avenue, Woodfield Crescent, and Brunner Road, with support from Leopold de Rothschild and others. So originated the first true garden suburb and a national movement, similar tenants' associations being formed at Letchworth (Herts.) and Sevenoaks (Kent) in 1905 and later at Hampstead. (fn. 135) Land, much of it formerly part of Pitshanger farm, was bought piecemeal until Brentham, as the estate was called, covered 60½ a., where the last of 700 planned houses were finished in 1914-15. Ealing Tenants having been absorbed by CoPartnership Tenants before 1930, the estate was sold to Liverpool Trust Ltd. in 1936 and to Bradford Property Trust in 1940. A few houses had been sold privately by 1936 but despite further sales a third of the property was still rented in 1964.

The garden estate proper was begun in 1907, when Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin advised on the layout. They designed the distinctive nos. 1-7 Winscombe Crescent and were followed by F. Cavendish Pearson, whose work included Neville, Ludlow, and Meadvale roads, and then by G. L. Sutcliffe, whose last work was in Fowlers Walk. During the 1930s and after the Second World War there was some private infilling, and several of the original properties lost their privet hedges and acquired garages. Brentham nonetheless retained its character in 1969, when it was designated a conservation area. (fn. 136)

The establishment of Brentham combined with the building up of older roads on the northern side of the Hanger Hill ridge to create a small shopping centre along the north side of Pitshanger Lane. St. Stephen's school had been opened there in 1882, St. Barnabas's church was begun in 1914, and many shops stood between the two sites by 1908. In 1979 they served a district separated from the rest of Ealing by the Hanger Hill ridge and from more modern suburbs to the north by recreational land along the Brent.

Ealing and Brentford: evolution of settlement 1822-1914

(scale 1 inch to 1 mile)

Between the World Wars building covered most available plots and was carried to the edges of the borough, except where open spaces had been preserved. (fn. 137) In the north-west corner the Cleveland estate off Argyle Road was planned in 1924. (fn. 138) Semi-detached houses in Avalon Road ran from Vallis Way to the Crossway by 1928 and to Ruislip Road by 1932, while Cavendish Avenue ran along the Hanwell boundary by 1939. In the north-east corner Kingfield, Mulgrave, and neighbouring roads had been built up east of Brentham by 1935 and detached houses were built before and after the Second World War in avenues east of Hanger Lane. South of Uxbridge Road housing stretched from Ealing Dean or West Ealing southward to Little Ealing, except where allotments survived at the north end of Northfield Avenue: Camborne Avenue and Leyborne Avenue, projected in 1920, had been built up by 1934. In the southeastern corner of the borough, building drew closer to Gunnersbury park. Sunderland and Durham roads in 1920 led from South Ealing Road only as far as Roberts Alley, later Olive Road, but by 1934 they stretched eastward along Maple Grove and its neighbours between the District railway and Pope's Lane. Infilling included Ealing Village, where 128 flats in fourstoreyed blocks, apart from the gatehouse, formed a cheaply built private estate on a previously neglected strip of ground near the railway north-east of Ealing Broadway station. (fn. 139)

By 1951 there was so little land available that it was not thought possible to house all applicants within the borough. (fn. 140) Council houses multiplied from 3,484 before the Second World War to 8,639 by 1965 (fn. 141) but most building took place beyond the old parish, notably at Northolt. Many older houses in and around Ealing town had been subdivided by 1951, (fn. 142) as others were thereafter. There remained a contrast between the leafy avenues north of the main railway line and east of the old village around the common, on the one hand, and the denser housing of West and South Ealing. The area north and north-east of the town, in particular, remained exclusive, with blocks of private flats interspersed among the large Victorian villas. Characteristic of such high-density but expensive building were two ten-storeyed towers begun in 1963 on the north side of St. Stephen's Road. (fn. 143)

The population of Ealing parish, including Old Brentford, rose slowly from 5,035 in 1801 to 7,783 in 1831, after a recent influx of market garden workers, and 9,828 in 1851. (fn. 144) Old Brentford chapelry, with 6,057 inhabitants, remained more populous than the rest of Ealing in 1851 but thereafter Brentford's growth rate declined: (fn. 145) increases in the ancient parish to 11,963 in 1861, 18,189 by 1871, 25,436 by 1881, and 35,648 by 1891 resulted mainly from growth around Ealing itself. Separated from Brentford, Ealing M.B. had 33,031 inhabitants in 1901, 61,222 in 1911, and 67,755 in 1921, before the absorption of Hanwell and other areas. The population of the enlarged borough fell slightly between 1951 and 1961, from 187,323 to 183,077, as in neighbouring districts.


  • 1. Old Brentford, with New Brentford, is described separately below.
  • 2. C. H. Keene, Field Monuments of Ealing (Ealing L.B. Technical Svces. Group, 1975), 11-15 and maps; V.C.H. Mdx. i. 18, 69.
  • 3. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 78; P.N. Mdx. (E.P.N.S.), 90.
  • 4. Gtr. Ealing Local Hist. Soc. Broadsheet, Oct. 1960.
  • 5. P.N. Mdx. (E.P.N.S.), 91-2.
  • 6. M.R.O., F 51 A, B.
  • 7. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 21.
  • 8. K. J. Allison, Elizabethan 'Census' of Ealing (Ealing Local Hist. Soc. 1962), 7-9.
  • 9. There were changes in the areas assessed for poor rates: M.R.O., D.R.O. 37/B1/1, B2/4.
  • 10. Allison, Elizabethan Census, 8.
  • 11. K. J. Allison and E. D. G. Holt, Ealing in 18th and 19th Cent. 1.
  • 12. S. Simpson, Agreable Historian, ii (1746), 620.
  • 13. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 22.
  • 14. Below, churches.
  • 15. P.N. Mdx. (E.P.N.S.), 90.
  • 16. Norden, Spec. Brit. 19; Camden, Magna Britannia, iii (1724), 48.
  • 17. Allison, Elizabethan Census, 8, 10.
  • 18. M.R.O., D.R.O. 37/B1/1.
  • 19. Keene, Field Monuments, 20 and map; below, other est.
  • 20. Rocque, Map of Lond. (1746), sheet 14.
  • 21. M.R.O., D.R.O. 37/B1/1, B2/4.
  • 22. Ibid. B1/1.
  • 23. W. L. Cross, Hist. of Hen. Fielding, ii (1918), 290; D.N.B.
  • 24. Guildhall Libr., grangerized copy of Lysons, Environs, ii (2), illus. between pp. 228 and 229.
  • 25. Lysons, Environs, ii. 228.
  • 26. Complete Peerage, ii. 457; viii. 226.
  • 27. P.O. Dir. Six Home Counties (1845), s.v. Acton; Ealing As It Was, illus. 58.
  • 28. Rocque, Map of Lond. (1746), sheet 14; M.R.O., Acc. 649/6; M.R.O., F 51 A.
  • 29. Ambulator (1793, 1796, 1800).
  • 30. Brewer, Beauties of Eng. & Wales, x (5), 334; below, manors.
  • 31. Pevsner, Mdx. 43; Min. of Town and Country Planning, List of Bldgs. (1948).
  • 32. P.O. Dir. Six Home Counties (1845).
  • 33. T. Faulkner, Hist. and Antiquities of Brentford, Ealing and Chiswick (1845), 270.
  • 34. Pevsner, Mdx. 43.
  • 35. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 24, 32-4.
  • 36. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1873 edn.).
  • 37. Inf. from Mr. P. Hounsell; M.R.O., Acc. 1386/1069-81; date on pavement in Lamertons' bldg.
  • 38. Brentford, Ealing Dir. (1877); Ealing Illustrated (1893), 5; Ealing As It Was, illus. 26.
  • 39. Date on Midland Bank bldg.
  • 40. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 108; M.R.O., 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1894-6 edn.).
  • 41. Bacon, Atlas of Lond. (1886).
  • 42. Inf. from Mr. P. Hounsell; below, manors.
  • 43. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 108; M.R.O., Acc. 549/14; Acc. 1369/1.
  • 44. Bacon, Atlas of Lond. (1886).
  • 45. Gtr. Ealing Local Hist. Soc. Local Historian, iii. 40.
  • 46. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1894-6 edn.).
  • 47. Ealing Illustrated, 5.
  • 48. Ealing As It Was, illus. 26, 29.
  • 49. Ealing: Country Town Near Lond. (1904), 19.
  • 50. Dates on bldgs.
  • 51. Souvenir of Opening of L.U.T. (1901), 41-2.
  • 52. Ealing Boro. Official Guide [1954].
  • 53. Plate facing p. 193.
  • 54. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1920, 1934 edns.).
  • 55. Ealing Central Area (Ealing L.B. Technical Svces. Group, 1979).
  • 56. Ealing L.B. Official Guide [1973-4].
  • 57. Para. based on Pevsner, Mdx. 43; Min. of Town and Country Planning, List of Bldgs. (1948).
  • 58. P.N. Mdx. (E.P.N.S.), 92.
  • 59. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1873 edn.).
  • 60. Below, manors.
  • 61. Below, other est.
  • 62. M.R.O., D.R.O. 37/B1/1.
  • 63. Ibid. B2/4.
  • 64. Census, 1841.
  • 65. Below.
  • 66. M.R.O., MR/LV 3/95; E. Jackson, Annals of Ealing (1898), 163.
  • 67. Rocque, Map of Lond. (1746), sheet 14.
  • 68. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1873 edn.).
  • 69. D.N.B.
  • 70. M.R.O., Acc. 649/6; F 51 A.
  • 71. Ealing Local Hist. Soc. Local Historian (1966), 4-7.
  • 72. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 97.
  • 73. Rest of para. and following para. based on O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1894-6 and 1920 edns.).
  • 74. Jackson, Ealing, 221.
  • 75. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 112.
  • 76. Photo. in Chiswick libr.
  • 77. Date on bldgs.
  • 78. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1920, 1934 edns.).
  • 79. Below, other est.
  • 80. D.N.B.
  • 81. Dictionnaire de Biographie Française, xii.
  • 82. Min. of Town and Country Planning, List of Bldgs. (1948); Hist. Mon. Com. Mdx. 15; below, educ.
  • 83. P.N. Mdx. (E.P.N.S.), 92.
  • 84. M.R.O., F 51 A.
  • 85. M.R.O., D.R.O. 37/B1/1, B2/4.
  • 86. Rocque, Map of Mdx. (1746), sheet 14; M.R.O., F 51 A; M.R.O., MR/LV3/95, LV7/39.
  • 87. P.O. Dir. Six Home Counties (1845).
  • 88. Jackson, Ealing, 158-9.
  • 89. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 38.
  • 90. M.R.O., D.R.O. 37/A11/1.
  • 91. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1873 edn.).
  • 92. M.R.O., D.R.O. 37/A12/1.
  • 93. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 95-6, 118.
  • 94. Bacon, Atlas of Lond. (1886).
  • 95. Ibid.
  • 96. Rest of para. based on O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1894-6 and later edns.).
  • 97. Ealing: Country Town Near Lond. 19; Ealing As It Was, illus. 67.
  • 98. Inf. from Mr. P. Hounsell; Ealing Central Area (1979).
  • 99. D.N.B.; Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1890).
  • 100. P.N. Mdx. (E.P.N.S.), 91.
  • 101. M.R.O., D.R.O. 37/B1/1.
  • 102. Keene, Field Monuments, 18 and map.
  • 103. Para. based on P.R.O., MPA 7.
  • 104. K. J. Allison, Ealing in 17 th Cent. (Ealing Local Hist. Soc. 1963), no. E. 157.
  • 105. M.R.O., D.R.O. 37/B2/4.
  • 106. M.R.O., F 51 A.
  • 107. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1873 edn.).
  • 108. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 62.
  • 109. Bacon, Atlas of Lond. (1886).
  • 110. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1894-6 edn.).
  • 111. Below, churches.
  • 112. Mdx. County Times, 1 Mar. 1913.
  • 113. C. Jones, Decade of Progress, 1901-11, 42 and map.
  • 114. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1920 edn.).
  • 115. Following 4 paras. based on Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', passim.
  • 116. M.R.O., Acc. 1386/1053-68.
  • 117. Ealing As It Was, illus. 60.
  • 118. M.R.O., Acc. 1028/64-5.
  • 119. D.N.B.; Gent. Mag. cliii (2), 794.
  • 120. Inf. from Mr. P. Hounsell.
  • 121. Ibid.; M.R.O., Acc. 234/1-2.
  • 122. Para. based on O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. XV. NE., SE., XVI. NW., SW., XX. NE., XXI. NW. (1894-6 edn.).
  • 123. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 163.
  • 124. Ealing Illustrated, 3.
  • 125. Ealing: Country Town Near Lond. 4, 6, 15; Ealing Illustrated, 4-7, 10-11.
  • 126. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 156.
  • 127. Ealing: Country Town Near Lond. 20.
  • 128. Ealing Local Hist. Soc. Local Historian (1964), 39.
  • 129. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 156.
  • 130. Ibid. 153-4.
  • 131. Bldg. News, lxxxii. 307.
  • 132. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XV. SE. (1894-6 edn.); Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 153.
  • 133. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1908); Jones, Decade of Progress, 67.
  • 134. Following 2 paras. based on Ealing Local Hist. Soc. Local Historian (1964), 39-42; M. Tims, Ealing Tenants Ltd. (Ealing Local Hist. Soc. 1966); Brentham, England's Garden Suburb (Brentham Soc. 1977).
  • 135. V.C.H. Mdx. v. 13.
  • 136. Ealing L.B. Official Guide [1973-4].
  • 137. Para. based on O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. XV. NE., SE. (1920, 1934-5 edns.).
  • 138. Ealing libr., sales cats.
  • 139. Plate facing p. 193.
  • 140. Ealing, 1901-51, ed. F. W. Scouse, 35.
  • 141. Boro. of Ealing Year Bk. (1949-50, 1965-6).
  • 142. Ealing, 1901-51, 35.
  • 143. Contract Jnl. 6 June 1963.
  • 144. Para. based on Census, 1801-1961.
  • 145. Jahn, 'Rlys. and Suburban Development', 174.