Ealing and Acton in old picture postcards

Ealing and Acton in old picture postcards

:   Pamela D. Edwards
:   Greater London
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-5658-5
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Ealing and Acton in old picture postcards'

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Present-day Ealing and Acton are remarkably dissimilar places; but this has not always been the case. Early records show that both were capable of resourcing Auglo-Saxon settlements, and the Dornesday survey reveals that both were included in the Manor of Fulham which was owned by the Bishop of London.

Tbere has been a Church on the site of the present St. Mary's, Ealing, since 1130. It stood at the heart of the village which grew up around it. The Parish Church of Acton is also dedicated to St. Mary, and its origins can be traeed back to 1228. It, too, was the focal point of village life. During the Middle Ages, Ealing and Acton were agricultural areas, with woodland at the northern end of Acton: hence the derivation of its original name 'Actun' , meaning the settlement among the oak trees.

By the 14th century, Acton's location grew in importance compared with that of Ealing, for it found itself strategically placed on the route to Oxford, via Uxbridge and High Wycombe, which was in effect a natural continuation westwards of the section of the old Roman road which led from the City of London to Shepherds Bush.

First distance and then circumstance ensured that East Acton would have and maintain a separate identity from the main village of Acton. Under the will of the Worcestershire goldsmith, John Perryn, who died in 1657, his house and generously proportioned estate at East Acton became vested in the Goldsmiths' Company. At the time of Perryn's death, his house was known as Foster's, but its name was subsequently changed to the Manor House. The Goldsmiths' Company still retains an interest in this corner of Acton, and the names given to many of the streets in the vicinity have some conneetion with either Perryn or the Company of which he was so justly proud.

At the beginning of the 17th century three mineral springs were discovered in the north-eastern corner of Acton, approximately where WelIs House Road is located today. Acton Wells, or Old Oak WelIs as they were known by the 18th century, ensured that Acton attained a place in history as a resort spa for the affluent and fashionable, until their attention was drawn towards some more novel attraction to which they progressed, There were, however, a few among the wealthy set who were quick to perceive

that Acton's healthy country air commended it as a place in which to settle, having regard to its close proximity to London, where they could still conduct their affairs on a daily basis. Severallarge houses and minor mansions were therefore erected from the 17th century onwards, and this pattern continued long after the Wells had been forgotten until the opening decades of the 19th century.

Notabie residents were the Duke of Kingston, Sir Matthew Hale (the Lord Chief Justice), Richard Baxter (the non-conformist), Francis Rous (the Puritan), Sir Joseph Ayloffe (the Keeper of the Records), Sir Henry Garraway (Lord Mayor of London), the Marquis of Halifax and the Countess of Derwentwater.

During the same period, a scattering of grand houses set in spacious grounds sprang up across Ealing: a couple were erected in the tiny hamIet of Little Ealing in the south, whilst more concentrated development taak place along St. Mary's Road (then known as Drum Lane) north of Ealing Village to Ealing Green. Hanger Hill, Castlebar Hill and Drayton Green were also deemed of sufficient salubrity to me rit the building of a few minor mansions.

Ealing's most famous inhabitants at this time included the Duke of Kent (later to become the father of the future Queen Victoria); General George Elliott (before conferment upon hirn of the title Baron Heathfield of Gibraltar); Spencer Perceval (the Prime Minister); Sir John Soane (the architect); Henry Fielding (the novelist); Doctor John Owen, M.P. (the dissenter); Lady Byron (the poet's widow); T.H. Huxley (the philosopher).

It is recorded that in 1831 agriculture was still the main form of employment for the hum bier folk of Acton, giving way to market gardening in the extreme south of the area. The only industrial pocket was to be found at The Steyne.

Ealing's land usage was evenly divided between arabIe and pasture.

Even the much vaunted arrival in 1838 of Brunel's Great Western Railway - the forerunner of a whole variety of railways which were to slash through Ealing and Acton - was somehow accommodated without causing too much change in character to the area. However, the rapid introduetion of more railways and the improvement in local and longhaul rail services swiftly brought about the demise of mail and

shortstage coaches which had for sa long been a familiar sight along the Uxbridge Raad/High Street, Acton.

It was the 1860s which marked the parting of the ways, sa far as the respective destinies of Ealing and Acton were concerned. This decade witnessed the start of large scale housing development for bath the wealthy middle class and the workers. It was then the custom for developers to acquire a considerable acreage of land - usually the spacious grounds of a minor mansion - lay down the roads and stake out the plots which would then be sold off piecemeal to interested builders. Development was slow to get off the ground at first; but by the 1870s much building was in progress.

Henry de Bruno Austin's plans for the Castie Hill estate, Ealing, in the 1860s were among the earliest and were so grandiose as to be impracticable. Not surprisingly, he was bankrupt by 1872. The score of houses which were erected to his design, however, set the tone for the future development of the area exclusively for the most affIuent among the middle class.

In contrast, much of South Acton was laid out with

hum bie terraeed dwellings for letting on a weekly rental basis to the working classes. The builders were rather over-optimistic, as Acton at the time did not have a large enough population to take up all the new housing. Instead, it was gladly accepted by families from Notting Dale, North Kensington, who had been displaced as the result of a large slum clearance programme in that area. Many of them made a living of sorts by establishing little laundries in their own backyards, to the extent th at South Acton became the butt of many jokes about soapsuds and washtubs.

By the early years of the 20th century, industry had become much diversified and firmly entrenched in Acton which now had the benefit of electric trams to transport the workers to and from work in addition to the various rail services. The only middle class housing was to be found in the Heathfield Road/ Avenue Crescentl Avenue Gardens area, along part of Hom Lane and on the Springfield Park estate. Ealing continued to develop on exclusively middle class lines, the only working class pockets being skilfully hidden away. There were two such enclaves to the north and south of the Uxbridge Raad at the

western end of West Ealing; one in the Mountfield Road area and another contained in the network of small streets which used to exist behind the shops on the eastern side of Ealing High Street. Save for the Autotype Works in West Ealing, there were no industrial sites of any size. Thus, Ealing became the firm choice of the more discerning home seeker and, even before the dawn of the 20th century, was known as the Queen of the Suburbs, in estate agents' parlance. To accommodate the needs of the affiuent new residents, a wide variety of shops rapidly spread along The Broadway and The Mall and on the eastern side of Haven Green and the approach road to Ealing Broadway Station from the 1880s onwards. Similar development took place along Uxbridge Road, West Ealing.

Most of the views contained in this book were photographed during the first decade of the 20th century. This was a time of prosperity for the middle and upper classes and of relative calm, when the nation was basking in the glory of the remarkable achievements of the Victorian era.

It was also aperiod when there was still a very cIear

demarcation between the middle and the working classes.

The typical middle class family enjoyed a very comfortable life style, and it was the norm for there to be at least one live-in servant in the home. There was no lack of employment for the unskilled workers, but they generally had to work very long hours for minimal pay. In consequence, their families were of ten undernourished and inadequately clothed; but they accepted this as their lot, without demur.

In retrospect, this era can be regarded as the lull before the storm. The First World War, which so suddenly erupted in 1914, had far-reaching consequences beyond the initial impact of the terrible carnage of young men in the prime of life representative of all classes, and was to be responsible for reshaping the whole structure of society in the years to follow.

St . .i{elena' s 'J(ome

Tbe Wrencb Series No. 20122

1. When St. Helena's Home was built in the 1890s on the eastern side of Drayton Green, it became the close neighbour of severallarge houses set in spacious grounds. Until the opening of the Great Western Railway's loop line to Greenford in 1904, St. Helena's Home enjoyed an uninterrupted view over the fields and meadows which sloped gently away to the River Brent. The Home was established by the Community of St. Mary the Virgin, Wantage, for the accommodation of delinquent girls and was in use as such until the outbreak of the Second World War. The main building has survived, but the annexe on the left in this view has been demolished.

2. A view of The Avenue, West Ealing, looking northwards towards St. Stephen's Church, the main body of which was erected in 1875176 to a design by J. Ashdown. The church's tower, surmounted by a graceful spire, was the work of Sir Arthur Blomfield and was added in 1888-1891. The church forms the focal point for the surrounding roads which were laid out in accordance with Henry de Bruno Austin 's scheme,

3. This view shows the most southerly section of The Avenue. In the left foreground can be seen part of Stowell's Wineshop, Castle Hili Parade, next to which are G.H. Pulman, tobacconist, and W.H. Read, house agent. St. Stephen's spire is just visible above the line of trees. The Drayton Court Hotel is on the extreme right in this view.

4. The eontinuation of Stowell's wide frontage ean be seen on the right in this view of Argyle Road which forms an apex with The Avenue. Charles Eustaee, house fumisher, window blind maker and upholsterer, oeeupies the building with lowered blinds, beyond whieh are the premises of Frederick Hardy, hairdresser, and Homby's Hygienic Dairies.

5. Uxbridge Road, West Ealing, looking westwards. The short section of cobbles on the left marks the turning for Northfield Lane (now Northfield Avenue). On the extreme right can be seen W.H. Mara & Co's china and glass warehouse, with plates and dishes displayed on the pavement. Usher's covered wagon stands in Drayton Green Road. The prominent corner premises belong to Jeayes Kasner & Co, coal merchants, house, estate and general agents and contractors.


The Broad ay, West Ealing.

6. This view of Uxbridge Road, West Ealing, was taken in about 1905. The building on the left bears the legend 'Broadway, West Ealing'. It incorporates Leeland Mansions. On the right, Mr. Ratcliff can be seen in his white coat and long apron standing close to his fishmonger's shop which has an open display extending onto the pavement.

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