These street and area guides are derived from the Conservation Area Guides from the London Borough of Ealing.
Acton is drained by two main streams. The Bollo Brook rises near Fordhook and flows south-eastward to Acton Green, passing into Chiswick. The Stamford Brook’s western branch, apparently rising near Acton Farm west of Horn Lane, flows south to meet another tributary, from Springfield near the Ealing boundary, at a point north of the Steyne and continues down the west side of the Steyne to cross the Oxford Road (today called Uxbridge Road) at the foot of Acton Hill. Thence it flows southeastward south of Berrymead and across Southfield into Hammersmith, where it joins the eastern branch of
Stamford Brook from Old Oak Common.
The village of Acton has a long history, and the Anglo-Saxon name Acton, or ‘oak settlement’, was celebrated by the acorn motif, the latest incarnation of which crowns the clock tower of the 1930s Town Hall in the High Street.
The Uxbridge Road connected London to Oxford. The Uxbridge Turnpike was opened in 1714, and a tollgate was opened in the Vale together with a coaching inn soon after. Acton was principally an agricultural community until the advent of the railways, and its growth in the later nineteenth century was spectacular.
Once an outlying hamlet, Acton Green became a parish with the building of St Alban’s Church in 1877/8. In 1642 the Area of Acton Green formed part of the battlefield of Brentford, when a Royalist assault on London led by Prince Rupert was repulsed by the Parliamentarians.
Acton Lane was originally called Bromcroft Lane and houses of the same name (demolished in 1870c.) stood on its west side immediately south of Antrobus Road. In the present day Acton Green is what remains of the ancient Common.
Acton Green had been famous for its many laundries since the 1860s when the gentrification of areas like Notting Hill displaced working class families who settled further west to continue their cottage industries.
Several trades to complement the laundries were generated: hand-woven baskets and hampers were made in Antrobus and Bollo Bridge Roads; mangles, wringers, washing machines and tubs were supplied from
Trussler in Bollo Bridge Road. By the 1880s Acton had its own soap-makers, including a soap works behind the Cambridge House Laundry. The need in the early days to transport the washing by horse-drawn vans also gave rise to the need for smithies and chaff merchants.
Light industries, some to support the laundries, were also established in the area at the end of the 19th century, and scattered remnants of these small factories or workshops can still be seen today. One of the largest factories was Evershed & Vignoles, built in 1933, at the bottom of Acton Lane, to where the company had originally moved in 1903 and which employed 4,000 people making many kinds of electrical test equipment.
When the railway first opened on the 1st of July 1879, “Acton Green” was the original name given to what is now Chiswick Park Station; it was renamed “Chiswick Park and Acton Green Station” in 1887, until it became simply “Chiswick Park Station” in 1910.
Acton Lane was originally called Bromcroft Lane.
ALLEYN PARK (1920s)
Norwood Green is a large open space with mature trees. It is not only the geographical centre of the settlement and the bonding element between the various parts of the CA, but it is the very core of the identity of Norwood Green community.
On the south west of The Green is Alleyn Park, a residential estate developed during the 1920 – 1930s and later. The section of the estate included in the CA comprises ordinary two-storey detached and
semidetached houses (the latter on the southern corner) with low-pitched roofs, covered in flat tiles or pantiles. The façade design is defined by prominent gables with mock Tudor timber embellishments, and by a two-storey angled bay window divided by a central band with hanging red tiles.
ARGYLE ROAD (1870)
Argyle Road was cut in 1870, finally allowing a direct route to the north from West Ealing. Previously, the only road was Drayton Green Lane, which deviated around the fields and through the ancient hamlet of Drayton. The current arrangement was not complete until the early 20th century.
On the east side of Hanger Hill there are three ‘Closes’ – Ashbourne Close, East Close and Heath Close. Between 7 and 12 houses are distributed around the keyhole shape of each Close.
Haymills first employed the architects Welch, Cachemaille Day and Lander in 1931 to design houses and estate layouts at Barn Hill, Wembley and then at Hanger Hill. The development of Hanger Hill, ‘superior suburbia’ according to Pevsner was unique among the London suburbs of the 1930s for the comprehensive development of houses, for the commercial development facing Western Avenue and for the new Park Royal tube station, all done by the same architects for a single developer.
The Haymills Estate is notable for the mix of architectural styles, as well as for the overall quality of house design and landscaping. The number of styles of house design, each of which has a number of variants, contributes greatly to the estate’s character.
The different house types are mixed throughout the estate, with the exception of Modern Movement houses, which are generally grouped together. Much of the southern part of the estate was completed before the Second World War. Many of the pre-war designs were adapted after 1945, to take account of the post war shortage of building materials. Accordingly, simplified versions with more economic detailing are to be found in the northern part of the estate.
The different styles give a sense of variety but also harmony and avoid either the monotonous uniformity or eclectic jumble of many modern estate developments. There are four main house types on the estate and they are rather easy to recognise. However there are many variations on these basics types.
AVENUE CRESCENT (1877)
The Mill Hill Park Estate was founded by William Willett in 1877. This is an enclave which is walled to the south on its boundary with South Acton Estate and to the north on its boundary with Avenue Road. The three roads that make up the estate – Heathfield Road, Avenue Gardens and Avenue Crescent – end with decorative gateposts at its northern limits.
AVENUE GARDENS (1877)
At the beginning of the 18th century, today’s Mill Hill Park Estate was part of the 58-acre Mill Hill Fields Estate, mostly meadows and pasture. Mill Hill Fields are believed to take their name from a wide circular mound marked “Windmill Hill” approximately in the area now occupied by 20-22 Avenue Gardens.
AVENUE ROAD (before 1865)
After Richard White’s death, his wife sold their Acton Hill estate to Walter Elliott Whittingham and the British Land Company. The fields north of today’s Avenue Road, including Mill Hill Road, were bought for house building. Soon after, in 1877, the house itself and its grounds – the area south of Avenue Road – were also sold for house building. The purchaser was the builder and property developer William Willett (1837-1913).
On the south side, Avenue Road contains the remains of the wall of Mill Hill Park Estate dating frm the 1870s with gated entrances to Avenue Crescent, Avenue Gardens and Heathfield Road.
Prior to 1875 the area now known as Bedford Park was mostly open country with farmlands and orchards. In 1793 John Bedford constructed the three villas Melbourne House, Bedford House and Sydney House as a symmetrical neo-Palladian composition on a twelve acre plot of land called Chambers Mead fronting onto Acton Green. Bedford House and Melbourne House still survive, although much altered and extended. The present Woodstock Studios are formed from the remains of the shared stables and coach house for the three villas. The lands to the north and west of this piece were enclosed in 1859, and the resulting layout can be seen on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1865.
The present street layout and character areas in the section of Bedford Park within the Borough of Ealing was heavily influenced by the layout and boundaries of preexisting fields. At around 1865, the time of the first OS map, the various parcels of land came into the ownership of Jonathan Carr, the original developer.
With the introduction of Richard Norman Shaw as principal architect for the estate, Bedford Park immediately started to gain its distinctive character and ambience. Also active contributors at this period were Maurice Adams and W Wilson, the latter who appears to have been clerk of works. Shaw introduced the fully developed “Queen Anne” style in its most delicate and balanced form for which Bedford Park is so widely recognised. It continues the language of materials established previously, with particular emphasis on moulded and enriched red brickwork and white painted moulded and turned joinery, offset with tile hanging and the introduction of panels of roughcast render.
Houses at this period were built closely on narrow plots to achieve a relatively high density, and were normally semi-detached or terraced. Nevertheless, streets were laid out as wide as possible to preserve existing mature trees, and were then generally tree-lined to enhance the leafiness of the area.
This phase ended with the resignation of Norman Shaw, the (apparent) loss of Wilson, and the refinancing of the estate development as a limited liability company.
Stylistically, development continued smoothly after 1880 in the same well-developed “Queen Anne” manner, as Shaw was replaced as principal designer by E J May, his pupil and protégé. This period is, however, marked by the loosening of the tight, street-oriented layout previously adopted, and the construction in the south-east of an estate of a range of free-standing villas on much larger plots of land, many of them designed to fit the requirements of individual owners, and giving a more open feel to the whole ensemble.
The end of this phase is marked by the failure of the Bedford Park Company. After this neither Jonathan Carr nor any of his chosen designers had any further influence on the development of remaining parts of the estate.
The remaining, unbuilt areas of the Bedford Park Company’s land holdings were completed by other developers. Following the success of the original estate, several of these continued to use elements of the established architectural language, although these were now superficially applied to standard generic house types of the period, creating a watered-down version of the main estate character.
Phase 1: 1875-6
The initial phase of the overall development comprised the southernmost residential part of The Avenue, and is made up of house designs by E W Godwin and Coe & Robinson. Carr was at this stage still developing his ideas for the estate, and not all the key features which contribute to the overall Bedford Park character were yet apparent. In particular, this section of work predates the introduction of the distinctive palisade fencing, first recorded in 1877. Present from the outset, however, was the fundamentally domestic form; the predominantly red brickwork, with some moulded detailing; the use of panels of tile hanging on gables and bay windows; the white painted joinery, and the small panes in the upper sashes of windows. All these qualities marked the houses out as different from the normal developers’ fare of the period.
The Creffield estate was an ideal location, with newly created Birch Grove being the limit of the 1d tram journey from London. Building restarted in 1904, with some parcels of land, including Birch Grove, being bought off by other parties. A large area was sold to the Gas Light & Coke Co. including The Elms and the current Twyford Sports Ground. The Ealing Lawn Tennis Club bought a smaller
area north of Creffield, halting the plan to extend Oakley Avenue southwards.
Blenheim Road is an east-west street which begins west of The Avenue and runs up to Woodstock Road.
The northern side of Ealing Green had Ashton House at the point were Bond Street was opened in 1905.
Bond Street is a good example of Edwardian commercial streetscape – red bricks and stone dressing and prominent, pitched front gables define the streetscape. The view to the north is closed by the fine Edwardian elevation of the New Broadway.
From 1870s onwards the land between Lower Boston Road and the canal was laid out in a rectangular street pattern and the development of housing in the southern part of the CA and along Green Lane for the growing population commenced in earnest.
Brunswick Gardens runs parallel to Clarendon Road, but is shorter and winds slightly. Its cluster of houses has the characteristic brick detailing on the bays and the road feels more secluded than Clarendon Road with the houses appearing to retire further behind the trees on their boundaries. The Clarendon houses, on the other hand, brazenly front the green with their elaborate architectural details.
Brunswick Road feels more like a thoroughfare than the other roads and traffic steadily speeds along it. However, it rises steadily to the east, which gives pleasing vistas in both directions. The views are enhanced by the tall trees which line the road and by those visible on the hill in the distance. The estate’s composition, which placed properties on the corners of neighbouring roads, facing outwards, has helped Brunswick develop a welcoming suburban character.
Field boundaries roughly correlate with the courses of Brunswick Road and Sandall Road.
Even at the end of the 19th century the Brunswick area was still largely farmland with farms, cottages and a few large houses set in substantial grounds.
Between 1919 and 1938 nearly three quarters of a million new houses and flats were built in Greater London. This was in response to the population doubling every 10 years. Private developers built four-fifths of these houses and Brunswick was one of these developments, built by speculative businessmen for the new aspiring middle classes in the ever-expanding suburbs of West London.
The optimistic spirit is evident in the construction of the Western Avenue in 1934, a new highway to rival the Great West Road and attract similar commercial heavyweights to the area. London, and Britain, was growing confidently and this spirit still oozes out of the design and presentation of Brunswick.
Further south, the CA is characterised by residential development which was largely built from the 1880s onwards, instigated by the convenience of Hanwell Station, which itself was rebuilt in the same period. This provided groups of well detailed detached or semidetached family houses, set back from the street with a common building line. The best examples are in the south part of Manor Court Road, Golden Manor and Campbell Road.
The Wood family, who were Ealing landowners from the eighteenth century, had by the mid nineteenth century assembled a large agricultural estate of about 900 acres bounded roughly by what is now Castlebar Road, Madeley Road, Hanger Lane and Montpelier Road but also extending into Acton.
The area around Mount Park is described by Pevsner as epitomising Ealing’s reputation as the “Queen of suburbs”. The estate was planned with an organic, picturesque pattern in mind. The land form is strongly defined by the residential roads of Castlebar Road, Blakesley Avenue and Mount Park Road. These form a layout of wide, gently curved tree lined roads, intercepted by the secondary residential roads of Charlbury Grove and Marchwood Crescent on the west side and Mount Park Crescent, Aston Road and Kings Avenue on the east side. The spacious character also better reflected the
middle class ambience of the area as opposed to the regimented street pattern of less grander and expensive housing to the south and west.
CHANNEL GATE ROAD
The old Mission Church and parts of three terraces, highlighted on the old map, have been demolished. A new street, Channel Gate Road, has been driven right through the estate, demolishing the School fronting Old Oak Lane, along with 8 houses in Goodall Street and Stephenson Street. This street, Channel Gate Road, provides access to heavy lorries servicing a Channel Tunnel Freight Depot, thus separating a small southern part, with the pub, from the rest.
The Hanger Hill (Haymills) Estate Conservation Area forms a neat semi-circle comprising four roads – Chatsworth Road, The Ridings, Ashbourne Road and Corringway. The four roads curve following a well defined circular shape with some obliquely directional roads cutting across. The layout relates well to the hillside site, giving extensive views from within the estate over the surrounding landscape.
Building works for the estate started in 1928 and continued until 1930. Much of the estate was completed before the start of the Second World War in 1939.
CHURCH ROAD, HANWELL
Runs north from the Uxbridge Road into a variety of suburban and semi-rural layouts.
Churchfields is an enclosure of Glebe (church) lands and common land, most of which has never been built on, rather than brown field which was identified as a public park. This adds to the area’s more natural, open, aspect and the public lands, coupled with the visual extension of the Golf Club, Brent Meadows, and the River Brent which continues past the southern boundary of the Uxbridge
Road into the adjacent conservation area of St.Marks and Canal side, lend the whole area a far more rural aspect than one would expect within the greater London environs.
This is a direct result of decisions made in the late 19th century to protect the area from encroachment of speculative house building, and ringfence some space for outdoor recreation for the burgeoning population which experienced exponential growth in the last 50 years of the 19th century. Two residents wrote to the local paper in February 1887 suggesting a recreation ground as a
suitable memorial for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, but it took many other residents and councillors 10 years to raise the funds to buy the land known as The Church Fields for £5000 (to be paid back over 49 years). As a result, Churchfields, Hanwell’s first public park, opened with much celebration in 1898. Subsequently, the Brent Valley Golf Course opened in 1910 and secured this wider area
of open land.
St Mary’s Hanwell was built in 1841. The recreation ground was opened to the public in 1898.
The Goldsmiths Company’s estate in Acton dates from the mid seventeenth century when John Perryn, a London goldsmith and alderman, left freehold properties to the company and copyholds to individual goldsmiths to be held in trust for the company. The Goldsmiths’ Almshouses of 1811 were a benefaction of the Perryn Trust.
Acton Park was opened in 1888, following the Local Board’s purchase of about 24 acres of land from the Goldsmiths Company, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and a private owner. Churchfield Road follows the line of an ancient track across the Church Field, from Acton to East Acton Lane.
The eastern end of Churchfield Road is marked by the railway tracks and by the Acton Central Station. The station was the first station in Acton and opened in 1853. The line was extended to provide
commuters’ route to Broad Street in the City in 1865 and the station was then rebuilt in 1876.
In early times Hanger Hill was covered in trees and by 1393, the hill was called ‘le hangrewode’, which means ‘steep sloped wood’ in Old English. However, by the 18th century the area was largely cleared for farming while country estates were established in the areas to the south.
The Brunswick Conservation Area is located on the northern slopes of Hanger Hill. It includes private houses on five residential roads.
Clarendon Road and Brunswick Gardens run north to south, connecting Brunswick Road and Sandall Road, which run on an east-west orientation. The CA also includes a few properties on Lynwood Road, which runs up the hill to the west.
The area sits between the Western Avenue (A40) and Hanger Lane (A406) to the north and east, Lynwood Road to the west and Hanger Hill Park to the south. The CA falls within the Hanger Hill ward of the Borough of Ealing.
Clarendon Road is much wider than the other roads in the area, accommodating a central green, surrounded by hooped railings. On either side of the grassed area are only narrow roadways, usually lined with parked cars (not all properties have or use garages). Midway along the road, two semicircular deviations break up its straight path, creating tiny crescents. The green and the crescent detailing not only demonstrate a degree of design sense by the developer, but also help produce an affluent 1930s suburban character. The green lies over a large water pipe that carries water from this hilltop reservoir to the waterways below in the Brent Valley. The green herbaceous borders in front gardens along this road add to this character, despite many being partly or wholly hard surfaced in recent years.
CLEVELAND ROAD (1860s)
Henry de Bruno Austin, a member of the Ealing Board of Health, had a grand vision to transform the Castle Bar area into an exclusive estate.
His plan was to build a large estate of fine detached villas across the hillside in a grid pattern with grand rectangular pleasure-gardens.
This ambitious scheme relied on the associations of the area with the Queen’s father and involved leasing 190 acres of land from two owners of farms and parkland. At the centre of this vision was the Church of St Stephen, standing on its island site at the brow of the hill.
New roads, water and gas were laid. The Avenue and Cleveland Road were cut and are shown on the 1865 map, but with no houses (or church) yet built on The Avenue. The scheme soon foundered when Austin had problems attracting tenants to the properties, which had very high rents, poor transport connections and no mains drainage. Delays improving the transport links meant that Austin’s estate was being administered under the Bankruptcy Act by 1867 (the year the Church of St Stephen was dedicated) and he was finally declared bankrupt in 1872. This led to a delay of the development of the St Stephen’s area for many years.
The land was sold off to various builders and developed in different stages. Cleveland Park stayed as parkland, a situation still enjoyed today. However, the original plan for a church came to fruition in 1876. Houses of relatively modest proportions followed in the 1880s and 1890s, although the 1896 map shows that the majority of The Avenue and all of North Avenue were not built on until the turn of the century. The subsequent developers did not favour the extravagant pleasure-gardens of Austin’s vision. Instead, houses were built closer together and with long, private rear gardens.
The Castle Hill and Ealing Dean Station provided the transport links necessary to attract purchasers to the new houses
The Cuckoo Estate was significantly encroached upon from the 1970s and 1980s when Copley Close, a later local authority housing estate, was built next to the railway cuttings and on parts of the back gardens of Harp Road and Templeman Road. The steady growth of both low and high density development in this area has stolen some of the more generous back gardens of estate houses, part of the corset of open space that was an element of the original design. Other original layout features that have been lost include the allotments gardens between Templeman Road and Westcott Crescent, which have also been infilled with flats and houses.
The Ealing Cricket Ground CA is notable for its two principal streets, Corfton Road and Woodville Gardens, which are lined with well detailed villas dating to between 1890 and 1910.
The main access road into the Hanger Hill Estate is Hanger Lane which defines the western boundary of the Conservation Area and has one turn off into Corringway and then has two accesses both south and north into Audley Road, Beaufort Road, Chatsworth Road, and Ashbourne Road. Western Avenue, the A40, runs along the northern end of the Conservation Area and has two access turn-offs into Hanger Green and two access turn-offs into Connell Crescent.
The main road defining the form of the estate is Corringway, which forms the southern and eastern boundary and partly follows the curving line of the Piccadilly Line which in turn acts as a physical and visual barrier to the CA on the eastern side.
Creffield is a late 19th and early 20th century residential estate of architecturally superior houses set around The Elms, an early 18th century villa.
From the earliest times, woodland spread across the hillside giving its name to the neighbouring area: Hanger Hill (formerly “hangrawudu” meaning “steep sloped wood” in Old English). The people of Acton (“Oaktown”) harvested the oak and elm to supply London with firewood in medieval times.
The splitting up of the 800-acre Fetherstonehaugh estate in Acton from 1800 produced four or five small estates, bought by Samuel Wegg and John Winter among others.
Winter built Heathfield Lodge, West Lodge and East Lodge.
Wegg added to his estate, which from 1750 centred on the house that was to become The Elms (built circa 1720). By 1827 the main residence was called Acton House and remained in the Wegg family until 1842.
Then, as The Elms, it passed with 169 acres to Charles Round, a distant relative from Colchester, Essex. The house is now part of Twyford Church of England School.
The woods around Creffield were cleared and the area given over to farming, until houses were built from the end of the 19th century.
By the 1896 OS map Creffield Road had been cut with a bridge over the tracks. The local landowners were very aware of the increasing value of their holdings.
There is also a history of industrial use in the area. The principal surviving historic residence, The Elms, has served as both an Electric Works and a toy factory before becoming a school. Also, for many centuries a mill stood very close by at The Steyne.
The winding east/west course of Creffield Road imitates an earlier field boundary a few metres to its south.
The Cuckoo Estate is located in Hanwell between Ealing and Greenford. The estate sits between Ruislip Road East to the north, Greenford Avenue to the west, Homefarm Road to the south and Templeton/ Harp Roads to the east. Cuckoo Avenue, a wide road with a broad central reservation lined with mature trees, is the backbone of the estate and runs through the centre of the area up the hill to the
Community Centre and Cuckoo Park.
Before the 1930s, it was mainly farmland, attached to Cuckoo Farm on the current site of Brentside High School. The remaining land, including Cuckoo Park and the Community Centre building served a 19th century poor-law school. Prior to the foundation of the school in 1856, this area had been part of an earlier Hanwell Park Estate. The main function of Cuckoo Farm became service to the needs of the school’s occupants. As with most planned estates from the 1930s onwards, Cuckoo Estate has many services located within the area: shops, churches and schools. Its construction around a community centre is a happy accident, the building was abandoned and condemned at the time, but its new purpose and use soon became indicative of the community ideal on which this estate was created, and on which it flourished.
Between 1919 and 1938 nearly three quarters of a million new houses and flats were built in Greater London – some populations were doubling every 10 years. Local authorities built the one fifth of new properties and the London County Council built the Cuckoo Estate around the defunct school, which it had acquired some years before. The estate was begun in 1933, just after the Great Depression, and was finished by the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. The scale and vision was similar in to St Helier in the London Borough of Sutton.
Families from all over London were housed here, attracted by the increasing amounts of work available on the industrial estates that were growing in Perivale and Greenford, as well as the ample transport services to London and Uxbridge.
The Cuckoo Estate is one of the last LCC estates to be built before the Second World War and one of the last cottage estates to be built by LCC at all.
Cuckoo Farm had fields running up the hill to Hanwell Park. It was called “Park Farm” on the 1800 map standing next to the River Brent. The owners of Hanwell Park had built a large house at the beginning of the century and they bought up large parts of the surrounding land.
The expansion of the Cuckoo area came with the foundation of the Central District Schools on Cuckoo Hill. This marked the beginning of the break up of the Hanwell Park Estate and the development of Hanwell as a residential area.
The opening of the schools (known locally as Cuckoo Schools) on 20 October 1857 doubled the population of the village overnight with around one thousand children plus many staff. The farm at the bottom of the hill, Cuckoo Farm, supplied the school with dairy products from cows grazed on the land surrounding the main driveway, which even now, as Cuckoo Avenue, has retained its tree-lined appearance.
In its early years the school was renowned for its harsh discipline, severe conditions and epidemics. Its famous pupil, Charlie Chaplin, is known to have hated his 18-month stay there. Although the schools were essentially a self-supporting community, by the end of the 19th century the children were trained in a variety of useful skills and the boys were formed into marching bands that had engagements at local social functions. The buildings were expanded and by 1900 the 140-acre site had classrooms, residential blocks, infirmary and sewage and gas works. Subsequently, a small reservoir was sited on Cuckoo Hill.
There is historical evidence of a triangular green at the junction of Church Road and Cuckoo Lane having existed for several hundred years. Sir Monague Sharpe (1924) described the green and the pond which it contained as “The ancient triangular Green and pondwaste of the Manor, bounded on the north by the grounds of The Grove… and to the east by St. Vincents Lodge.” The Grove, together with Brent Lodge, was a product of the break up of the Hanwell Park estate after 1782. Hanwell Park was located just to the east and the house was demolished in 1913.
Culmington Road was laid out in the 1880s.
EAST CHURCHFIELD ROAD
East Churchfield Road (that part to the east of the level crossing at Acton Central station) was made into a paved road in 1860.
The Goldsmiths’ Almshouses (Listed, Grade II*) are the main feature of interest on East Churchfield Road. Built in 1811 by Charles Beazley, it is a 2-storey yellow brick building with two wings coming forward towards the street. To the rear of the Almshouses is a walled garden and allotment gardens.
Eaton Rise was formed in 1864 on a single large plot and was developed sporadically over the next 30 years.
The 1870 OS map depicts the straight line of Eaton Rise running north-south, although the road is still completely free from houses. The rectilinear aspect of Eaton Rise can probably be attributed to the mid-Victorian scheme by Henry de Bruno Austin, who began to lay out a large estate of detached villas along a grid of roads around a rectangular pleasure garden.
On both side of Eaton Rise the road is flanked by 1930s developments – this gives a very distinguished feel to this section of the road.
Only the southernmost houses in Esmond Road can be seen on the Ordnance Survey map of 1896, and at this date the north side of Fielding Road was also incomplete.
The next edition map in 1915 shows the majority of the CA complete as it is now, including the full length of Esmond Road and the mansion blocks of Bedford Park Mansions and Sydney House (1906).
Part of the original Sydney House boundary wall of 1793 still survives with its rear facing The Avenue.
Following the death of Mrs. Agnes Fulton, Bedford House was converted to flats, and the shops of Bedford corner were built into the front elevation in 1924.
The original Tower House on Bedford Road was demolished in 1937 and St Catherine’s Court was constructed shortly thereafter.
FitzHerbert Walk (part of the Capital Ring footpath System) is a pleasant riverside walk through woodland that follows the River Brent, connecting Brent Meadow with the Grand Union Canal towpath at the Hanwell Flight. The FitzHerbert Walk and the canal towpath provide an informal recreational space ideal for walking, picnicking and cycling.
In 1860s Ealing, some of the semi-detached villas along the western end of The Grove appear already in place. The eastern end of the street is still free of buildings. Western Road is edified only in its southern section. Oxford Road, Windsor Road and Florence Road had already been laid although there are only 8 semi-detached houses on Windsor Road, two semidetached houses on Florence Road, and Oxford Road is completely free.
Development continued over the next 10 years and by the 1914 OS map the layout of the Creffield area was looking very much as it does today. Fordhook House had gone, replaced by houses on Fordhook Avenue and Byron Road (there is also a Fielding Terrace on Uxbridge Road). The Elms was a toy factory, J.F.K Farnell, which produced the famous Teddy Bear bought for Christopher Robin Milne.
GOLDSMITH’S CLOSE (1956)
East of the Goldsmith’s Almshouses was Manor Farm, later demolished and replaced in 1956 by Goldsmith’s Close.
GOODALL STREET (1889)
Houses in Goodall Street and Old Oak Lane had small rear extensions which would have housed the toilet and possibly the copper, or water boiler, and coal shed, which could be accessed from the rear
alleyways. Houses in Stephenson Street were slightly shallower. Their sheds are shown on a map of 1915 at the backs of their small yards. A typical plot would be approximately 16 feet wide and just over 50 feet deep.
GORDON ROAD (1870s)
Gordon Road branches from the west side of Haven Green south of Castlebar Road and runs up the western boundary of the CA where it meets with Longfield Road and Avenue. Houses were built between 1870 and 1890.
The Fox public house originally built in 1820 has strong connotations for Hanwell’s inhabitants. The pub – initially called The Fox and Goose – was still used as the meeting place for the local fox hunt at the turn of the 20th century.
14 early cottages are nicely arranged around it. The two-storey cottages in yellow bricks were originally known as Oak Cottages and were built sometime prior to 1875 which makes them probably amongst the earliest in the area.
Grosvenor Court, Uxbridge Road
This three-storey block of flats from the 1930s is handsome and striking. With black-and-white half timbering in the gables and unpainted stone mullions in full height canted bays, it is “Stockbroker Tudor” but is elegantly designed. Its symmetrical appearance includes clean lines and curves and the builders have used quality materials. Positioned close to Uxbridge Road, it is a suitably grand block in the series of tall blocks in the streetscape.
HALF ACRE ROAD
The Viaduct Inn – this locally listed public house stands on the eastern side of Hanwell Bridge and is a very attractive gateway to the village of Hanwell. An inn has been present on the site since 1730 and was formerly known as the Coach and Horses, changing its name with the coming of the railway. Core elements of the building appear to be quite early but extensive interior and exterior alteration over the centuries makes this an unlikely contestant for statutory listing. Its setting has also been severely undermined by intrusive transport infrastructure and road markings as well as the unattractive depot which separates it from the eastern abutment of the listed bridge. For all this the Viaduct still exerts an important atmosphere of Victorian expansion and is evocative through its positioning of the early turnpiked Uxbridge Road (1714) and the increasing development and encroachment on common land.
The Inn was also adjacent to both the poor-house and the school which lay directly behind it at the beginning of Halfacre (now Halfacre Road) up until the early 19th century. By the arrival of the railway in 1838 there were already several terraces of houses along the main road and nearby and some of these are included in the adjacent CAs, Hanwell Village Green and St.Marks Church and Canal, and Hanwell Clock Tower.
The backs of the late Victorian/Edwardian terraces of Half Acre road have gardens which run down to the rivers edge.
HALL DRIVE (1930s)
Hall Drive was an entry point in the Cuckoo Estate from Cuckoo Lane and Greenford Avenue.
Hanger Green is a very small area comprising the commercial and transport core of the Hanger Hill Estate. It is located at the northern end of the Conservation Area and at its centre is a triangular
shaped green arranged around which is Park Royal Station and a row of shops, another parade of shops and a bar and a block of flats called Hanger Court.
Hanger Court is locally listed. The flats curve around the shortest side of the triangular green and are also of modernist design. Hanger Court displays peculiar elements of the Modern Movement
style, in brick with metal windows and with continuous concrete bands and projecting eaves giving a horizontal emphasis to the architectural ensemble. The canted wings of the block have angular corner bays and external stairs lead up to recessed entrances to the first floor flats.
On the 1870 OS map Ealing Common already had very much of today’s configuration: in particular the expanse of the green land was crossed by the two diagonal roads running from north east to south west that we can still perceive today. Yet, one element that immediately attracts the attention is that today’s section of Hanger Lane (which takes the name of Gunnersbury Avenue) was little more than a narrow path flanked by the Common on the western side and woods on the eastern side.
Greystoke House was built on Hanger Lane for John Carve JP towards the end of the 19th century. The Brunswick area would eventually stand in the fields that adjoined this house and its neighbouring farm. Even at the turn of the 20th century, Hanger Hill had a very rural character: Hanger Lane was a winding track, still only surfaced with loose earth. It had the appearance of a drovers’ road or country lane, a far cry from the current broad highway.
In the late 19th century, this part of Hanger Hill was associated with the Fox Reservoir, which supplied water to the people of Ealing. It was eventually filled in during the Second World War. The land is now a nature reserve and playing fields, an important amenity space, which lies just behind the Brunswick area. Water pipes leading from the reservoir to the River Brent run down the hill and part of their course are marked by the strip of green grass that runs along Clarendon Road. The route was also a public footpath that from 1911 ran from the newly open Great Western Railway stop at Brentham Halt to Hillcrest Road at the top of Hanger Hill. The ownership by the water board of the strip of land is thought to have been the principle reason for it remaining undeveloped when the
estate was subsequently laid out.
Despite this new transport connection in the area, the Greystoke fields and the surrounding farmland lay relatively untouched even by the outbreak of the First World War.
The construction of the Western Avenue changed the character of the area forever. It was an entirely new highway: not even a path existed on that course before 1934. It became the new route to Oxford and Birmingham, bypassing the narrow Uxbridge Road a mile to the south. It coincided with the boom in the motorcar and the rise of the aspirational classes who filled a new suburbia. This outer rim of Greater London provided a better quality of life for businesses and their workers than the cramped conditions in the centre of the capital. The Hoover Company built their landmark factory directly addressing the new highway, close by, at Perivale. The quality of the environment, in the “Queen of the Suburbs” (as Ealing had been known since the 19th century), was a key factor in Hoover’s decision to locate their head office here.
In the early 1930s the Greystoke land was sold (it is thought to Percy Bilton, a local developer) and construction began, although the 1935 map shows only one side of each road as being complete. This could perhaps point to the Brunswick area being more market-driven than other interwar estates in the area. The completion of the houses may have relied on which style properties were bought by the new residents. This could also explain the slightly uneven mix of styles of house in some parts of the area.
Furthermore, the development of the Brunswick area could have been affected by the delay in the extension of the Central Line on the underground network.
Electrification had been granted in 1936, but due to the Second World War was not completed until 1947. This meant that the redevelopment of Hanger Lane station and new stations further down the line did not take place as soon as planned. The walk to the Piccadilly Line station at Park Royal is around three times further and the old GWR line was a less frequent service with less stops.
Brentham Halt did not close until 1947, suggesting that Clarendon Road continued to be a short cut for its first years as a residential area. Despite this, in the grounds of Greystoke House and the pastures of Greystoke Farm a “superior suburbia” had been created.
Haven Green has existed as common land from medieval times. Cary’s Survey of Middlesex (1786) shows a cluster of houses around a triangular shaped green at Ealing Haven, quite distinct from the larger settlement at Ealing Green. Haven Green was purchased as public open space by the Ealing Local Board, at the same time as other common land at Ealing Common and Ealing Green.
The development within the conservation area reflects the successive stages of Ealing’s suburban growth from about 1850 onwards. The earliest surviving parts include a short terrace on the north side of the Green, and a group of semi-detached early Victorian villas along Castlebar Road, facing the small open space known as Tortoise Green.
The north side of the Green is dominated by Haven Green Court, a 4-storey mansion block of flats from 1937-8, built in brick with stone features and metal windows (mostly all replaced now) typical of the period.
In 1877, Acton Hill House and its grounds were sold for house building. The purchaser was the builder and property developer William Willett (1837-1913).
Most of the appearance of Mill Hill Park is due to the work of William Willett and his son. After purchasing the land, they almost immediately laid out three new roads: Heathfield Road, Avenue Crescent and Avenue Gardens, and began to build houses on the land.
Richard White’s ‘Great House’ was partially demolished, leaving only the eastern wing in which the dining hall is believed to have been at 11 Avenue Crescent.
The Willetts became the most prominent house builders in both Hampstead and Kensington in the late 19th century. The two principal architects working in their office were Harry B. Measures of Brighton who worked for them between 1883-91 and Amos B. Faulkner between 1891-1940. But they also took exceptional care to oversee all the constructions and design work themselves. Both Willetts supervised and controlled every detail from materials to design, they also had their own brick field where most of the distinctive red bricks for the houses of the estate were sourced.
An important aspect of the design of the houses they built was the abundance of window light: “In all houses see that the basement especially is well lighted, and that all basement and staircase windows are kept up as high as they possibly can be. All passage staircase and hall windows require great care and attention, so as to obtain all the light possible. In London houses the heads of all
windows on the basement, ground and first floors must be kept high”. This insistence on maximising daylight eventually led to William Willett the Younger publishing a leaflet in 1907 entitled “The Waste of Daylight”. Today he is known worldwide as the promoter of Daylight Savings Time.
Helena Road runs north south from Montpelier Road and Mount Avenue gently rising up the hill. On the western side the road is flanked by the park and by some of school structures, while on the eastern side it is flanked by handsome Victorian properties.
HIGH STREET, ACTON
The High Street and Market Place are the historic core of Acton centred on the old London to Oxford coaching road on the top of Mill Hill and Acton Hill. There are signs of the original market town and one of the original coaching inns still exists, but the majority of the buildings were constructed in the Victorian period at the height of Acton’s prosperity. The area is considered to be one of
the few relatively unspoilt Victorian town centres in London, and many of the properties are included in the Statutory and Local Lists of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. At the top of the High Street, just before the church, a plaque in the pavement marks the first shop of Mr Waite and Mr Rose, better known today as the highly successful store – Waitrose.
The High Street has a lively and varied character due to the multitude of activities as well as the variety of architecture. The main character is that of a bustling commercial centre.
Institutional, religious, public, recreational buildings coexist along Acton High Street, resulting into a townscape of significant impact. There is an undoubted quality to many of the buildings
especially along the High Street, but is the relationship of the buildings, streets, and spaces as a whole that provides the key to its character.
A large landholding was owned by Henry de Bono Austin, who in the early 1860s published a very ambitious plan for the development of a large estate of detached eight to ten-bedroom houses.
The plan was rectilinear, consisting of 50 foot wide main roads, of which several were laid out (notably The Avenue and Kent Gardens). However, very few houses were built before Austin went bankrupt in 1872. His failure was largely due to the absence of main drainage and of a projected railway link to London.
Austin’s idea of a large planned estate of superior middle class houses was taken up by the Wood family, who were more fortunate in their timing. The key factors were the introduction of commuter rail services to London in the 1870s, with the Ealing extension of the Metropolitan District Line in 1879, and the installation of main drainage after the Ealing Board’s boundary was extended to the
north in 1863, followed by improved water supply when the Fox reservoir was built in 1888. All of the infrastructure was therefore in place for rapid development to proceed.
Building plots were sold on 99 year leases with detailed restrictive covenants governing the character and general design of all new development. The bulk of the development took place in the 1870s and 1880s so that by the time the Wood family sold out to Prudential Assurance in 1906, over 850 houses had been built.
In the early 19th century the area had an illustrious resident, the Duke of Kent. His house ‘Castle Hill Lodge’ was demolished in 1827, but in the 1870 maps it is still possible to read the pattern of the imposing gardens.
LONGFIELD ROAD (1880s)
Gordon Road and Longfield Road had been opened by the 1890 OS Map.
Lynwood Road is on the very edge of the CA and marks a western gateway. The character of Lynwood Road, although remaining firmly residential, is more expansive: views extend down the hill and across to the west towards Harrow. However, far-reaching views are obscured by the roofline of the houses on the opposite side of the road. Lynwood Road is long and has many houses, although most are not in the CA, having little architectural special interest or having been much altered. The road feels different from the others in the CA, which are shorter, more meandering, and with the houses huddling in a more welcoming, less urban, manner. This road is a junction between the more standard 1930s, which were built to the west and the higher quality examples to be found within the Brunswick
area. The properties included in the CA retain the more spacious Brunswick character, the buildings having been constructed with shared driveways leading to garages.
The economy of the area was entirely agrarian until the construction of the Paddington Canal from 1801 made it possible to export bricks made from local clay deposits. Although Northolt railway station was built in 1907, the sell-off of land for the mass residential development seen today really expanded after the construction of Western Avenue in the 1930s. This led to the building of
Mandeville Road. This may have helped to preserve Northolt village.
MASONS GREEN LANE
The 1865 map shows the area to be sparsely settled with a mainly pastoral landscape. Masons Green Lane, which is still there but now a pathway rather than a road, can be seen. The narrow byway, fringed with trees is seen running from south to north from the southeastern corner of the CA, then westwards towards Hanger Hill (Haymills) Estate.
Hedgerows define the fields that were probably much the same as they had been since the Middle Ages. The layout of the plots in relation to Masons Green Lane indicates that there was probably a “Row” or “Green Village”, a type of settlement distributed along a road and where behind each of the houses would have been small holding strips of land which would have allowed the villagers relative self-sufficiency. It is also possible that the domestic traces of this settlement were wiped out after the Black Death in 1348.
MILL HILL ROAD (before 1865)
Although high society had left Acton by the mid of the 18th century, many professionals and military men bought houses there until well into the 19th century. The break-up of the Featherstonehaugh Estate, which had no resident owner, produced several smaller estates whose owners were active in the parish affairs. Richard White was the gentleman who bought the part of the estate that is today’s Mill Hill Park.
The original White Estate and with the original Mill Hill formed out of tracks of farmland.
Richard White had a large mansion known as Acton Hill House built at the end of Windmill Hill. In the Acton Rate Books 1809-12, reference is made to “a house new built in Mill Hill Fields”. In the Tithe awards of 1842, Richard White appears as the owner of the land Tithe numbers 810-20, which comprised Mill Hill Lodge and garden, a second lodge and garden, Mill Hill Park, which was classified as a meadow, “Acton Hill Dwelling House, Offices, Pleasure Ground and Yard”, another “Pleasure Ground”, an orchard, a plantation, possibly of oak trees, and a large fish pond.
Contemporary visitors to White’s home described Mill Hill Park as “a beautiful estate with a fine avenue of Elms” running from Gunnersbury Lane (then known as Brentford Lane) to Acton.
In 1841, according to the Census returns for that year, Acton Hill House and its dependent dwellings were occupied by White, and 17 others including a gardener, four agricultural labourers who ran the Mill Hill Tavern, that was situated where it is today, on the junction of Mill Hill Road and Gunnersbury Lane.
The Hanger Hill Garden Estate at West Acton was built on the former Acton Aerodrome airfield and the site of the aircraft manufacturer, Alliance Aeroplane. In 1909 an enterprising man called Harold Piffard rented a field between North Ealing Station and Masons Green Lane.
He managed to raise a plane a few feet off the ground.
From 1910 to 1920 this triangle of land now occupied by the Garden Estate and the Westwood Park Trading Estate, bounded to the west by Masons Green Lane, on the north by the Birmingham-bound line of the overground train and on the south by the latterly built Central Line, was a working aerodrome. Between 1910 and 1914 it was called Acton Aerodrome or the London Aviation Ground, Acton. The main entrance to it was located where West Acton underground station is now.
Flying did not cease during WW1 and in 1917 the Aerodrome was used by the Ruffy-Baumman Flying School. Then in 1918 the flying school was taken over by the Alliance Aeroplane Company who were responding to government pressure to provide new aircraft manufacturing facilities. In this final year of the war the company helped to build hundreds of bi-planes and triplanes for De-Havilland and Handley-Page aircraft manufacturers. At the end of the war Alliance continued to build civilian aircraft until 1920 when the company was wound down. Waring and Gillow made gramophones there for a year and then in 1925 Renault Ltd took over the factory. Then in 1937 the Royal Airforce used it for storage.
In 1925 the area of land on which the Hanger Hill Garden Estate was built was purchased from the Wood family in 1925 by the The Hanger Hill Garden Estate Ealing Ltd.
The development was built in 2 phases and divided geographically, the first phase between 1928 and 1932 and the second between 1933 and 1936. The natural western boundary formed by the Acton Boundary Stream – the historic border between the Parishes of Acton and Ealing – helped to stagger the two phases of construction logically so that the first phase was located on the east side of the stream and encompassed Princes Gardens (which was initially called Prices Boulevard), Tudor Gardens, Vale Lane, the east side of Monks Drive and the east end of Queens Drive whilst the remainder of the estate was developed on the west side of the stream.
The construction was funded by capital from the sale of the eastern half to Capital and Counties Property Company Ltd. The architects Douglas Smith and Barley designed the houses and flats. The estate comprised 258 flats in 3 storey blocks along Queen’s Drive, Links Road and Monks Road, and 361 houses in Links Road, Queens Drive, Monks Drive, Vale Lane, Princes Gardens and Tudor Gardens. Pevsner described the “immaculate half timbered houses and flats” in the estate with “spacious lawns” and “attractive planting” as “the beau ideal of romantic Metroland.” The Estate Office originally
occupied the small building on Queen’s Drive at the southwestern periphery of the estate now used as an Estate Agency.
Montpelier Park was originally the grounds of Princess Helena College which opened in Ealing in 1882.
Princess Helena College was a private school for middle class girls which moved to Ealing from Regents Park. The school stayed in Ealing until 1933, when it moved to Hertfordshire. The Victorian school buildings were demolished and the grounds became an arboretum and public park. Part of the site was developed for flats in the 1930s (Helena Court) and Montpelier Primary School was added in the late 1950s and extended in the 1970s.
Montpelier Park is the core of the local residential area and, together with the rising topography, is the determinant of the land-form of the local streets. The layout is strongly defined by the rising topography from south to north and by the residential roads that gently follow this geographical trend: Park Hill, Mount Park, Montpelier Road, Helena Road, Eaton Rise and Woodfield Road.
MOUNT PARK ROAD
The land form is strongly defined by the rising topography from south to north and the residential roads that gently follow this geographical trend: Castlebar Road, Blakesley Avenue and Mount Park Road. These form a layout of wide, gently curved tree lined roads, intercepted by secondary residential roads, Charlbury Grove and Marchwood Crescent on the west side and Mount Park Crescent Aston Road and Kings Avenue on the east side.
The Mount Park Conservation Area is mainly a planned residential estate built on the Wood family estate during the 1870s and 1880s.
While this road does not have the same tree coverage as The Avenue, the space around the buildings and the lavish detailing is still present. These are fine late 19th century houses, which form part of an area that was middle class and prosperous. The views of the spire grant a superiority over some other surrounding roads. Historically, the church was the centre of the community and therefore a
desirable location. The special character of the CA is bolstered by the remaining early electricity lamps, which for the time being stand on the pavement in North Avenue.
NORTH HYDE LANE
The Grand Union Canal, when built, crossed the lines of several older lanes linking small settlements in the surrounding countryside, including Norwood Road, North Hyde Lane/Regina Road, and Western Road, which were carried over it by brick or stone built arched bridges, a number of which survive.
These crossings formed natural points for disembarking goods to be carried by road to settlements and a number of small wharfs, often accompanied by small public houses, developed along the route.
Set back from the road and approached by a path along the side of The Plough beer garden is Norwood Terrace Nos 1-17, a row of Victorian working-class cottages, that was possibly built for the labourers of the brickworks nearby. Walls are made out of local brown bricks laid in Flemish bond and low-pitched roofs are covered with slate. The two-storey, two-bay small houses have been considerably altered during the years with later window fixings and doorways; nevertheless they offer a most attractive piece of townscape. The 1860s garden wall that divides the cottages from The Plough beer garden survives.
An 1888 sketched map shows a predicted layout for the estate with these roads completed and connecting to Rosemont Road. The original intention was to infill the whole area with houses, but this was not carried out by the purchasers of the freehold. Also known originally as Freeland Road. (Might date from after 1908).
OLD OAK LANE
The survival of the Old Oak Lane Estate in more or less its original form as a planned workers development is a rarity. Few examples exist in London. This is partly due to destruction by enemy
action during the Second World War as a consequence of attack on rail lines and yards, but more significantly on account of postwar slum clearance and redevelopment for public sector social
Old Oak Lane is important in the landscape of labour history, and a reminder of the wider social/industrial history of the late C19 century. Many large enterprises built housing for their own workers during this period for various reasons: as a means of providing them with healthier conditions, a convenient location near the workplace or impose additional control (paternalistic, social
or economic) as landlord. The railway companies in particular built many estates and sometimes whole towns at key locations such as near their works, yards and sidings, where land was cheap and where no middle class developer would be interested on account of the smoke and noise which would have dominated the scene. These estates generally would compare favourably with the Dickensian private slum dwellings of the day, but unfavourably with the emerging middle class suburbs of Acton, where developers could provide more generous layouts, on higher ground and with cleaner air, away from the typical coal smoke-laden urban environment.
At Old Oak Lane Estate, the few densely packed streets of terraces display a characteristic layout, with small gardens, and narrow back alleys. This form is just not too dissimilar from the ‘back-to-back’ estates in which many industrial workers of the earlier C19th were forced to live.
Despite the railway company’s apparent benevolence – they constructed a school, pub and workers institute – they were not amongst the most progressive employers.
Park Hill branches eastwards from Mount Park Road. The wide, tree lined road raises gently along the hill following a curvaceous aspect. Park Hill is one of the best preserved streets of the Wood Estate, with good examples of the style of large, detached houses set within narrow but deep plots, resulting in large rear garden spaces with mature trees.
Shaa Road and Perryn Road appear in their present configuration on the 1865 OS map and all the houses today included in the local conservation area are represented.
Hanger Hill Garden Estate CA forms a partial L shape, or a slightly curving corridor, the main residential roads of which are Princes Gardens, Tudor Gardens, Queens Drive, Monks Drive and Links Road.
The form of the CA is determined by the constraints of the railway and underground tracks on either side and the layout maximises the corridor-like form. The estate is an interesting example of a large-scale commercial development in a mock-Tudor style. The houses are relatively simple in design but with interesting details; it is as a 1920’s group with neo-Tudor emphasis that the
estate derives its importance.
QUEEN ANNE’S GARDENS
Tucked behind The Avenue, on the east side, Queen Anne’s Gardens is a secluded and winding street leading from Bedford Road at the south to Blenheim Road at the north.
The Hanger Hill Garden Estate CA is situated within the ward of Hanger Hill in the London Borough of Ealing.
Hanger Hill Garden Estate CA is formed of a series of tightly formed enclaves of single family dwellings and residential roads arranged in distinct shapes and a looser layout of purpose built blocks of flats laid within spacious communal gardens to the front and service areas to the rear.
The Estate was built on a piece of land that had been used as an airfield during the First World War. In addition, the form of the estate was constrained by the location to the west, of the Metropolitan District Railway and the Piccadilly line to the south east which was under construction in 1910.
Building works for the estate started in 1928 and complete by 1936.
In the 1970s, five houses in Woodville Gardens were replaced with Regency Close.
The layout of the core of the area has remained relatively unchanged since the Cuckoo Estate’s completion in 1939. However, all of the adjoining land has seen development that has taken a very different form. After the Second World War the former site of Cuckoo Farm was redeveloped with a school (now Brentside High School) and post-war housing, which stretched along Ruislip Road East and the new Riverside Close. These houses were pulled down by the 1970s and replaced with sheltered accommodation, garages and tower blocks that sit incongruously next to the CA.
ST MARY’S AVENUE NORTH (1957)
After the demolition of Rectory Farm on Tentelow Lane in 1957, the construction of St Mary’s Avenue Estate (North Part) began.
ST MARY’S AVENUE SOUTH (1973)
St Mary’s Avenue residential estate unfolds at the back of Tentelow Lane on the eastern side. The estate was developed in two stages: development of the northern part commenced in 1957 and the southern part in 1973.
ST STEPHEN’S ROAD
House building in the Castlebar Road area began in the 1870s with the development of the Wood Estate, and the creation of new roads including St Stephens Road and Edgehill Road. White Ledges occupies the site of two large houses, called Oakhurst and Elmhurst, on the south side of St Stephen’s Road. The large pond on the Grange Estate survives from the mid-nineteenth century,
when the site was occupied by a house called Castlebar Park. This was succeeded in the early 1900s by the Grange, which gave its name to the point block built on the same site.
The Grange Estate was built by Wates Limited in two phases between 1963 and 1966, in a style strongly influenced by the contemporary Span developments in Ham Common, New Ash Green and elsewhere which
were pioneered by the architect Eric Lyons in partnership with the developer Geoffrey Townshend and the builder Leslie Bilsby.
Sandall Road dips and turns considerably as it runs from Brunswick Road to Lynwood Road. The rears of the properties mark a former field boundary. The rich canopy the trees in Hanger Hill Park serve as a backdrop to this former farmland. The trees give a more rural feel to Sandall Road than any of the other roads in the CA and reflect the area’s history as one of the last areas of farmland in Ealing. However, the architecture remains stridently suburban, complemented by a series of well-stocked front gardens running the length of the road.
Shaa Road runs parallel to East Churchfield Road and connects Perryn Road to the west with East Acton Lane to the east. The road is lined by imposing 3-storey semidetached villas.
ST MARKS ROAD and ST MATTHEWS ROAD
Further along The Common in Ealing are St Marks Road and St Matthews Road, two pretty artisan cul-de-sacs of c1880.
STEPHENSON STREET (1889)
The few rows of cottages had been built in 1889 by the LNWR for its employees in Old Oak Lane in a remote corner of North Acton, near Willesden Junction. Originally, the whole estate appears to have been the private property of the LNWR, simply called Railway Cottages. The former Borough of Acton may have named the streets when they were adopted, choosing names like Stephenson Street, Crewe Place and Stoke Place for their railway associations.
The Railway Institute, or club, and a mission church and school were added within a few years, but the whole had little connection with the rest of Acton on account of its relative isolation from
other residential areas. Webb Place and Goodhall Street complete the area.
STOKE PLACE (1889)
Stoke Place, to the east of Old Oak Road, is now a gated road.
Norwood Green has Saxon origins and developed around The Green and along the southern side of Tentelow Lane.
The Church of St. Mary’s (Grade II*) lies on the south west of Tentelow Lane. The building has a substantial early core that dates back to the 12th and 13th Century and this has been enclosed by a later structure. The exterior was refaced in 1864 with black flint and polychrome bricks. The wooden porch was added in the 15th Century and constitutes a distinctive feature of the façade composition. Old drawings portray St. Mary’s Church with a boarded westbell turret that was later substituted in 1896 with the present tower. The church is situated on a slightly raised plot of land and is surrounded by a small graveyard that provides an appropriate setting. The graveyard contains a few noteworthy monuments amongst which is the family grave of “John Robins of Regent Street” is of
special interest. The monument (Grade II) was designed by John Soane who also designed Norwood Hall for Robins. The church and graveyard are still surrounded by an early boundary wall in brown brick with stone coping that stretches to the rear of the plot. The boundary wall encloses the church and graveyard and separates the complex from the speeding traffic on Tentelow Lane thus helping to create a visually distinctive ensemble in the townscape, a microcosm of peace and shelter.
The Plough Inn (Grade II) is a single storey, four-bay early 17th timber-frame building. The brick walls in Flemish bond have been rendered in white with black painted woodwork. The earlier core has been considerably altered during the Victorian period with extensions at the two ends of the building and with the addition of two dormers and a chimneystack at the southernmost end of the modern tiled roof. Norwood’s residents reckon that the pub was on this site before the 17th Century and that the first Inn was built more than 600 years ago, which would make The Plough the oldest public house in Southall.
THE AVENUE, Bedford Park
Bedford Park is a residential estate of particular significance locally, nationally and internationally. During its brief heyday it became the place most identified with the Aesthetic Movement, and with progressive political and social thought at the time, and its character and consistent architectural style became a vital visual expression of a broadly shared sense of values. As such, it attracted sympathetic artists, architects, writers and politicians, forming a colony of unusual coherence, whose presence gives added strength to its present cultural value.
Bedford Park’s character is mainly defined by its distinctive architecture, complemented by detailing of streets and public spaces. The layout of Bedford Park was based on three main roads, The Avenue, Woodstock Road and Bath Road converging onto the church of St Michael & All Angels at a point just north of Turnham Green Station. The other roads were laid on an approximate grid but with irregularities.
THE AVENUE, West Ealing
The St Stephen’s Conservation Area is centred on The Avenue and North Avenue, which are primarily residential roads in West Ealing. The area is around a half mile west of Ealing Town centre.
The roads follow the same north-south orientation. Their intersection is marked by the impressive 19th century gothic-style former Church of St Stephen which stands on an island site circled by roads. North Avenue opens out onto the brow of Castlebar Hill, which looks out across Cleveland and Pitshanger parks to the Brent Valley. The wooded hills of Horsenden and Harrow lie beyond. The Avenue continues down the hill southwards towards the Great Western Railway tracks and subsequently Uxbridge Road.
The Avenue and North Avenue, extending from the heart of the CA, is the spine of the local streetscene. Most of the neighbouring residential roads were laid out after The Avenue and reacted to its path and orientation. This historic influence is not obvious today as Argyle Road, which runs almost parallel, is much busier, connecting Uxbridge Road with the Western Avenue. This bypass of The Avenue has given the CA a more sedate quality with less through traffic. Despite this, drivers avoiding the busy Uxbridge Road often use the road, particularly at its southern end. The neighbouring area to the east is residential and quiet, although the roads are narrower than The Avenue. The broad and straight characteristics of The Avenue, accentuated by the mature trees that line it, give a processional appearance to the road, which is grandly terminated by the former Church of St Stephen.
The “circus”, formed by the island on which the old church stands, represents an early example of the modern highway feature: the roundabout. However, its original design was not to marshal traffic, but as a setting for the church which itself was the centrepiece for an ambitious speculative venture: a new estate of lavish detached villas and pleasure-gardens. The broad area surrounding the building reflects the aims of this never-completed scheme, which were to provide substantial open spaces around the large houses. The generous space given to front gardens along The Avenue, unusual in an area where there is little amenity space, is perhaps another remnant of this ideal.
THE BROADWAY, Ealing
Ealing was a large village surrounded by country houses and smaller hamlets dotted along the Uxbridge Road until well into the 19th century. Before the 19th century it was predominantly rural.
Roque’s map of 1746 gives a clear impression of the pattern of land use in mid-nineteenth century and the location of houses. When Ealing was surveyed in 1840 there were only 834 acres of arable
land left but some 1978 acres of meadow and pasture.
Until well into the 18th century, shops only lined the High Street and The Grove, but the section of the Uxbridge Road corresponding to The Mall and The Broadway was almost empty except for inns like The Bell and The Feathers, which served as carriage trade. Brickfields and market gardens covered most of the south side of The Broadway.
In 1879 the District Railway built its suburban terminus at Haven Green and this lead to more drastic and speedy changes. A Broadway of shops was built around the station estate and Ealing was sponsored as dormitory town.
By the 1880s purpose built shopping parades appeared on The Broadway, and in the early 1900s the new shopping street of Bond Street replaced the remains of Ashton House and Sandringham Parade on New
Broadway was built. A parade of shops was also built at the same time on the northern side of the New Broadway, a first section in 1902 and then a second section much later in the 1930s, which replaced the parsonage of the Church of Christ of the Saviours.
The story was brought up to date with the building of the Ealing Broadway Centre in 1985 and the Arcadia Centre in 1987.
The Orchard, as its name implies, was laid out on an old fruit grove; its large plot size and generous rear gardens reflect its origins.
The Haymills Estate at Hanger Hill was built on the grounds of Hanger Hill House, the home of the Wood family who owned land on both sides of Hanger Lane from about 1775. In 1874 the house was leased by Sir Edward Montague Nelson, chairman of Ealing Local Board, who became the borough’s first mayor in 1901.
Between 1901 and 1930 Hanger Hill House was the headquarters of the Hanger Hill Golf Club but following Nelson’s death in 1926 the freeholder, Colonel Wood, sold the estate to Haymills Limited in 1927 who then employed the architects Welch, Cachemaille Day and Lander to build three estates in west and north-west London. The Head Office of Haymills Limited was in Forty Avenue in Wembley Park and they had branch sales offices on the three sites on which they built their suburban estates, the other two being Barn Hill Estate in Wembley Park and the Downage Estate in Hendon. At the Ealing site, the golf club remained open until 1930.
Much of the estate was completed before the start of the second world war in 1939 including Audley End, Corringway, Middleton Road (now Ashbourne Road), Beaufort Road, Ashbourne Close, Beaufort Close, East Close, Heathcroft and Rotherwick Hill. Other roads were started prior to the war but finished after the end of it in 1945, including Ashbourne Road, Chatsworth Road, Dallas Road, Heath Close and The Ridings.
No 37 The Ridings was built on the fifth tee of the old golf course.
By the Edwardian era, Acton was “already London-overthe-border” (Pevsner) although Acton was not officially incorporated into Greater London until 1965. Rapid growth continued and the character of Acton changed very quickly. Many new streets were laid out and lined with houses, turning the area into an effective suburb of London.
The remaining rural character was finally built over. The fishponds, which had stood by the Oxford Road for centuries and had watered resting stagecoach horses and grazing livestock, were sold to the council, covered over and turned into Twyford Gardens in 1903.
It is split into two sections by Twyford Avenue.
The landscape at Pitzhanger has associations with important personalities. There are records of designed Park Land at this site since 1685. The existing structure and layout of the site, despite minor alterations, remains mostly unaltered since these early days. Around Pitzhanger the design of John Soane and John Havertfield are still very much perceivable and provide a good record of the Regency garden design. Major structural elements such as the garden walls, entrance archway and ornamental bridge are still in existence. The earlier serpentine lake was replaced with a sunken garden in 1920s. At its north end is a picturesque bridge of flint and cyclopean stone fragments. The bridge is Listed Grade II*. It is early 19th century, built by Sir John Soane as an embellishment to his garden during his ownership of Pitzhanger Manor 1801-1811. The 3-arches bridge (the centre one being larger) is built of rubble, flint and dressed stone, in rustic classical style. The decorative features are on the parapet on one side only.
Also at the northern end of the Park is an early 19th century Portland stone bench with central grotesque mask. (Grade II, Listed)
Along the north boundary of Walpole Park is a late 18th century boundary wall fronting Mattock Lane from the entrance archway at Pitzhanger Manor to the public conveniences (Grade II, Listed). The wall is in stock brick with stone coping and it is about 10 ft high.
Walpole Park is Listed Grade II by English Heritage on the Register of Parks and Gardens.
There was increasing pressure to build larger estates with mass-produced materials. The quaint garden suburbs of turn of the century were not now achievable on ever-tightening Council budgets and the agreeable clusters of small groups of buildings were replaced with long roads of semidetached houses and terraced flats rigidly flanking the roads. On the Cuckoo Estate, the grid system is typically rather inflexible compared to earlier schemes. However, the rigidity does follow the manner of the straight 19th century field boundaries that previously existed on the land. Also, the small cul-de-sacs that are attached to the longer roads not only break up these lines and provide pleasant clusters of buildings, they also resulted in the need for less highways, which cut costs further.
Despite being the result of a response to the severe housing shortage after the First World War the LCC estates, including Cuckoo were not merely designed to cram as many people in as possible, they followed the example of the Garden City Movement, which championed low density development. The aim was to alleviate overcrowding while still providing a quality of life to residents that would be luxurious compared to the standards seen in Victorian and Edwardian times: with hot and cold running water, gas or electricity, a cooker or range, large gardens and indoor lavatories.
The houses lost many of the “rustic” details that were so typical of earlier planned estates. The similarity of most of the houses on this large estate, and the long building lines on which they stand, leads to a rather amorphous character. However, by putting Unwinian principles into the scheme, such as the grassed corners and angled corner buildings, it was guaranteed that the Cuckoo
Estate had a special character that would not be replicated in post-war estates that dispensed with these principles altogether. So, the layout, and the green space it affords, is vital to the special character of this CA.
The layout was planned around the historic layout of the schools and the two driveways. Westcott Drive was created from a peripheral road that ran around the northern half of the school buildings.
White Ledges was built in the late 1960s, by different developers but in the same style and materials as the Grange Estate.
WINDSOR ROAD, EALING
Windsor Road was developed between the late 1860s and 1890, the north western section of the road being developed first, as houses already appear on the 1870 OS Map.
Woodstock Road is one of the three main avenues radiating out from Turnham Green Station.
It is one of the chief roads of the Bedford Park Estate.
WOODVILLE GARDENS (1890s)
The CA comprises an area of Victorian and Edwardian family housing covering two streets, namely Corfton Road and Woodville Gardens. These streets lie at right angles to one another with the open space of Ealing Cricket Ground at its hinge.
The development of the area took place under the patronage of the Wood family from the 1880s onwards. The Wood family who had substantial interests in the London coal trade, arrived in Ealing in the late 18th century and built up huge land holdings in the north-east of the Borough and beyond.
By the 1840s the Wood Estate comprised some 900 acres in Ealing and Acton including a large house, Hanger Hill House, which was the family home occupied at the time by George Wood. Of their land holdings some 502 acres lay within what is now Ealing Borough.
On George Wood’s death, his son and heir Edward Wood moved out to Shropshire and the estate was let to Edward Montague Nelson, a leading political figure and chairman of the Local Board.
The construction of the District Railway across the Wood Estate in the mid to late 19th century stimulated new housing development. At about the same time the area north of the GWR line came under the control of the Local Board, and high up on the Board’s priorities was the provision of mains drainage for this newly included area.
Hugh Robert Hughes, a solicitor, administered the Estate from the Hanger Hill Estate Office and Robert Wiley, an architect who was involved in local affairs and became mayor in 1906, handled the design and technical aspects of development. The development followed a pattern common in the London suburbs of substantial detached houses set closely together but set back slightly from the road with relatively long gardens to the rear.
Plans for new roads north of Haven Green were approved in 1878. Some plots were freehold but most were on a long lease with ground rent payable to the Wood Estate. The scheme was developed in a cohesive style dictated by the Estate Office and to standards now regulated with by-laws.
Many street names reflected Wood family names and their link with Shropshire including that of Woodville and Corfton.
By 1906 Edward Wood’s son had sold the whole Estate to the Prudential Assurance Company. By this time over 30 new roads had been laid out with 850 new houses.
Virtually all the houses in the Wood Estate are based upon the Arts and Crafts tradition both in architecture and layout. This followed the work of the great architects of the day such as Edwin Lutyens, Norman Shaw, Herbert Welch, MH Baillie Scott and CFA Voysey who were all involved in the design of grand country houses and more modest family properties as well as being involved in
pioneering planning experiments such as Hampstead Garden Suburb or Bedford Park.