DID YOU KNOW?


This page contains information about the area which new (and even some more long established) residents may not know.

STREET NAMES IN THE HHERA AREA by Robert Gurd 

We don't often think about why our local streets are give the names they have but often they have an interesting history. Many of Hanger Hill's street names came from the family connections with the Wood family which were one of Ealing's largest landowners in the 19th century. 

The Wood family sold off the land at the end of the 19th and early 20th century mainly for housing for example in Woodville Gardens and Woodville Road. Boileau Road was named after a member of the family and developed before and after World War I by Messrs. Kendall Builders in common with many other roads in Ealing. 

Amongst the last areas of land to be sold off was the Hanger Hill golf course in 1927 to Messrs. Haymills on which they built their Hanger Hill estate. Here, as well using Wood family names (e.g. Dallas Road), Haymills used names they employed elsewhere in their estates in northwest London (Wembley and Hendon) or adapted them accordingly. For example, they re-used Corringway and Corringham Road in Barn Hill, Rotherwick Road in Hendon, Chatsworth Close and Avenue in Downage. 

Sometimes, names that they envisaged they would use in the original layout of the estate (see map) were changed. For example, the northern parts of Corringway and Ashbourne Road were due to be called East Way and Middleton Road respectively; and Heathcroft was due to be called Wildwood Close but both were changed on the estate as built. The footpath between the Ridings and Ashbourne Road was due to be extended to the Western Avenue and be called Brayden Hill and presumably have houses built on it but this never happened.  Instead, it was truncated and only runs between Ashbourne Road and The Ridings and today is called Deepdene on some maps. Most puzzling of all, two roads called Hill Top South and North, through Chatsworth wood, were never built.  Instead, Rotherwick Hill, which was due to be called Hill Top South, was built in truncated form with a curious stub which now serves the garages of Meadway Court. Connell Crescent was due to be called Western Green. But it is believed it is named after the builder who built the maisonettes after Haymills sold them the land before World War II.

 

MASONS GREEN LANE by Margaret Noble

The well-surfaced path which runs from Vale Lane alongside the Piccadilly Line to Park Royal andt hen under Western Avenue to Coronation Road is a remarkable survivor from the distant past. Masons Green Lane, for centuries part of the parish boundary between Acton and Ealing, is the last stretch of an old track, which began as a lane at Acton Ponds, (now Twyford Crescent and Gardens) and ran all the way to West Twyford. From parish records historians have linked the name to a John Mason (1559) and a William Mason (1628) and it is marked on maps from at least the mid-eighteenth century. Masons Green itself was an area of waste land somewhere to the North west of West Acton station shown as having one or two small houses. 

Keeping the path open from Masons Green to West Twyford was a struggle in the nineteenth century. From at least 1813 local landowners tried to block it off. The vestry of the parish church took steps to stop that, local people wrote to the newapapers, deploring "the fiery feet of change," while statutory committees were set up in 1868 and 1888 to protect rights of way such as this. 

About 1900 the southernmost part had become Twyford Avenue, a street lined with houses as far as Noel Road, while the stretch from there to Vale Lane was swept away when the Hanger Hill Garden Estate was built from 1923 onwards. Thereafter neglect was the main problem, but that seems to have been well remedied at present.

 

PARK ROYAL by Margaret Martin

 

Formed in 1838, the Royal Agricultural Society held shows throughout the country displaying the latest achievements in agriculture, farm machinery and animals. In 1879 the show came to Willesden, the site later becoming Queen's Park. Bad weather caused huge losses and the Society decided to create a permanent show ground to reduce costs.
They leased a 102 acre site near Twyford Abbey and formed Park Royal Ltd to administer it. Coronation Road was built to provide access, and the railways provided new lines. In 1903 Great Western Railway opened Park Royal station, Metropolitan District Railway (now the Piccadilly line) provided a station south of Twyford Abbey Road, while London and North Western Railway added a branch.
The first Park Royal show in June 1903 featured 1,000 cattle, 600 sheep, over 200 pigs, and facilities for 400 horses and ponies. It was attended by Kind Edward VII, Queen Alexandra and the Prince of Wales. Despite only 65,000 visitors (a third of the 1879 attendance) it was regarded as a success. In August 1904, just after that year's show, the Plumes Tavern was completed, named from the feather in the Prince of Wales' coat of arms. He opened the show and allowed the area to be called Park Royal.
Attendances however kept falling and the permanent site was judged to be a mistake. It was sold in 1905 and developed into an industrial site. By the late 1930s it was the largest in Southern England.Formed in 1838, the Royal Agricultural Society held shows throughout the country displaying the latest achievements in agriculture, farm machinery and animals. In 1879 the show came to Willesden, the site later becoming Queen's Park. Bad weather caused huge losses and the Society decided to create a permanent show ground to reduce costs.
They leased a 102 acre site near Twyford Abbey and formed Park Royal Ltd to administer it. Coronation Road was built to provide access, and the railways provided new lines. In 1903 Great Western Railway opened Park Royal station, Metropolitan District Railway (now the Piccadilly line) provided a station south of Twyford Abbey Road, while London and North Western Railway added a branch.
The first Park Royal show in June 1903 featured 1,000 cattle, 600 sheep, over 200 pigs, and facilities for 400 horses and ponies. It was attended by Kind Edward VII, Queen Alexandra and the Prince of Wales. Despite only 65,000 visitors (a third of the 1879 attendance) it was regarded as a success. In August 1904, just after that year's show, the Plumes Tavern was completed, named from the feather in the Prince of Wales' coat of arms. He opened the show and allowed the area to be called Park Royal.
Attendances however kept falling and the permanent site was judged to be a mistake. It was sold in 1905 and developed into an industrial site. By the late 1930s it was the largest in Southern England.
 

With acknowledgement to the Journals of the Willesden Local History Society
 
Estate boundaries by Margaret Noble

In Ealing, as all over the country, developers who were building on what had been farms, often laid out their estates of houses along pre-existing field boundaries.  Sometimes streets were aligned along these boundaries, sometimes the ends of gardens.  Where the field boundaries were marked by mature trees, as they often were, the presence of these trees enhanced the appearance of the newly-built estate, while sparing the developer the extra cost of removing them.  Many of these boundaries dated from mediaeval times.

Hanger Hill is no exception. The nineteenth century Ordnance Survey Maps of this area show that Hanger Hill House, built in the eighteenth century, stood on the crest of the Hanger Hill, set back a little way from Hanger Lane itself.  That whole area was wooded - the name comes from "hangra", meaning a wooded slope in Old English, and presumably much of the woodland was cut down to clear the land for the building of Hanger Hill House.  What is now the Haymills estate was in the nineteenth century open fields, which slope down to Masons Green Lane.  These fields clearly have trees to demarcate the boundaries, which run at right angles or parallel to Hanger Lane and Masons Green Lane.  The only other track in the area at this time was Hanger Vale Lane, which runs from Hanger Lane to meet Masons Green Lane, exactly as it does today.

But how many of the trees on the old field boundaries have survived?  From 1901 to 1930 the land on which the Haymills Estate was built was leased as a golf course.  Possibly many of the boundary trees would have been cut down when the fairways were created, and so were already gone when building of the Haymills Estate began in the 1920s. Heathcroft, however, seems to follow a boundary, and there is a magnificent oak tree there; it is said to be the largest tree in Ealing.  The lower part of The Ridings and Ashbourne Road also roughly follow the lines of old fields.  Trees still stand on field boundaries along Hanger Vale Lane and its continuation, Vale Lane. There are also mature oaks growing at the end of the gardens of Corringway and one on the corner of Hanger Vale Lane and Boileau Road.

While there is therefore not much left of the old field boundaries, later plantings still ensure that the area has an attractive appearance and Hanger Hill wood provides a clear indication of the original character of the area before the houses were built. 

The Golf Road Vale Lane and Green Vale area by Robert Gurd & Margaret Martin

The flats of Thackeray, Gilbert and Marryatt Courts in Green Vale and Hanger Vale Lane are in the Residents' Association area but lie outside the conservation area. The road names give a clue to the area's history. On old maps this area was originally the site of a tile kiln (from the 17th and 18th centuries) with a house called Tile Kiln House. Evidence of the tile kiln survived for many years in the form of fishponds from which the clay was presumably originally dug.

The house was rebuilt and changed its name in the 19th century to Green Vale and subsequently became the Old Court nursing home. The nursing home was demolished and the fish pond filled to make way for the flats we see today. The only evidence of the building surviving today is the entrance gate posts on to Hanger Lane opposite the former Barclays Bank sports ground.

The Haymills Estate by Robert Gurd

"Situated on the favoured Haymills estate" is a familiar sales pitch by estate agents. But why 'Haymills?' The Hanger Hill estate was one of three built in north-west London by Messrs Haymills in the 1920s and 30s. Others were in Wembley (Barn Hill) and Hendon (Downage). Messrs Haymills were formed in 1911 and built homes for "the man of moderate means." Their houses were never cheap (starting at £1000, a lot of money in those days) but had a reputation for being well designed and sturdily built. They had as consulting architect Herbert Welch from the highly respected practice of Welch and Lander which designed Park Royal Station, garage and public house, and Hanger Court (with Herbert Cachemaille-Day who went on to design many churches including the extension to St Mary's, West Twyford, recently restored and reopened after many years of closure). Haymills bought the land in 1927 when the Hanger Hill golf club was sold by the Wood family, owners of large tracts in Ealing. Their names and home towns were often used in street names, e.g. Boileau Road. 

Haymills' sales literature noted that the main part of the estate is 'on the southerly slope of Hanger Hill, which rises to 200 feet, bounded to the west and south by a magnificent belt of stately trees, which form a fine setting to the estate.' They noted that the two Piccadilly line stations gave a 5½ minute service to Piccadilly Circus and North London! There was also a tennis club with five all-weather courts and "close proximity to Ealing which has always been noted for its excellent shopping facilities." The brochure included plans for houses ranging from £1000-£2000 depending upon size and location -  probably one thousandth of their value today! 

Hanger Hill by Margaret Martin

 

Hanger Hill only rises to 200 feet but is a prominent landmark to the west of London. In the years before Ealing was built up by the coming of the railway it stood out on the horizon for miles around and was the location for one of the first triangulation points set up to map the country in the late 18th century. The tower (pictured below) was demolished at the end of the 19th century to make way for Fox's Reservoir. This was later filled in and replaced by a playing field; an underground reservoir remains at the summit of Hanger Hill. There is now a water tower standing to one side of the reservoir which provides extra height for water supplied to properties near the brow of the hill.

Opposite Hillcrest Road stood the entrance lodge to Hanger Hill House, built for the Wood family c.1790. Sir Edward Montague Nelson, chairman of Ealing Local Board and later of the District Council, leased the house from 1874. From 1901 it was used as the headquarters of Hanger Hill Golf Club but was demolished after the golf course was purchased in the late 1920s by Haymills and the site is now covered by the Hanger Hill (Haymills) Estate. Cherry & Pevsner's "The Buildings of England: London NW" (1991) describes the estate as a flagship for progressive modern design and Park Royal station, rebuilt at the same time, as the focus for one of the few 1930s suburban centres which sought to escape the cosy garden city image. The estate was declared a Conservation Area in 1996.


The Church of the Ascension By Simon Reed

In 2009 the Anglican Parish Church of the Ascension in Beaufort Road will be seventy years old. Designed by Seeley and Paget, a different firm of architects from those who were responsible for the Haymills Estate, the foundation stone was laid on Sunday 19th March 1939, and the building consecrated as a place of worship for the new parish on Sunday 23rd July 1939.

 

Designed in a modern style in keeping with the rest of the estate, the plain brick exterior with its unusual curved east end conceals a light and airy interior whose clear glass windows allow the full brightness of the sun to illuminate the building. The eye is drawn immediately to the large wooden statue of Jesus, Mary and John which tops the central arch. Christ is depicted in kingly robes, standing in front of the cross, symbolising his free choice to undergo suffering in order to overcome evil and death. The statue was added in 1946 as a war memorial.

The church community hopes to mark this anniversary with a project to create a hospitality area in the rear of the church that will make the building more versatile (for example when it hosts the HHERA AGM!) and to re-roof the church hall, which is used by many local people and groups


Ritz Parade by Robert Gurd

Ritz Parade is named after the former Ritz Cinema which stood on the site from 1938 until 1983. The cinema was designed by Major William King for London & District Cinemas but became an Odeon cinema after the war. It ended its days as the Paradise Cinema showing Asian films. In between, it operated as a part-time bingo hall and a cinema club showing risqué movies. The entrance was in the centre of a parade of shops and was dominated by a large brick tower that had inlaid glass tiles which were lit from within and topped by a glass lantern light.


The cinema was demolished following a period of dereliction after it closed in 1980. No pictures of the interior are known but local residents plucked the old projectors and a few light fittings from the derelict building during the demolition process. It was replaced by Orbit House office block -- a rather featureless red brick affair which does no favours to the area. This building has now received planning permission to be converted into an hotel.

The Life and Times of Boileau Road by Michael Black

Go back more than 100 years, to August 13, 1904, and stand outside North Ealing Station. The station, built on the site of Hanger Lane Farm, is just over a year old and was opened last June by the Metropolitan District Railway for its line to South Harrow. Around you are fields, though you can make out the newish houses in Madeley Road and a few at the southern part of Hanger Lane - but this is mostly a country lane leading up to the Hanger Hill woodlands. A motorcar chugs up the hill towards the wood, watched by a solitary stroller taking a short rest under the trees, on the wooden fence edging the road. About 50 yards right ahead of you is another line of trees - could they be oaks? - and a few grazing cows, and beyond, the boundary of the golf course. You have brought along that day's Middlesex County Times and you open it at page 5, where the death of Edward Wood in Shropshire is reported. The Wood family, since the late 1700s, has owned a great amount of land in Ealing and Acton, more than 700 acres, and with Edward's death the estate will fall to the surviving, younger son, Charles Peevor Boileau Wood: Charles' mother was Isabella Annie Boileau, of Ealing, hence this part of his name. The Boileau family in England and Ireland were prominent Huguenot refugees of the 17th century. 

Go forward now to 1906. Charles has sold the land that you looked over in 1904 making way for its development for residential purposes. The first road is soon planned and to mark the original landowner it is registered as Boileau Road, continuing the practice of naming roads in Ealing after the Wood family. The line of trees that was there in 1904 will have to be sacrificed, as they lie almost on the route of Boileau Road, which will run parallel to the railway track.

Boileau Road first enters the records in the street directory for 1912, but it is likely that it existed in 1911 when data were collected. The builders did most of their early work on the western side of the road (the odd numbers): so by 1912 numbers 1-27 were inhabited, and only the solitary number 2 on the other side. Numbers 2-18 were occupied by 1913 but there had been no further construction on the 'odd' side. Houses were gradually added and occupied - except in the last years of the Great War and immediately afterwards when there was a break for two years - until all houses were built and with residents in 1923/24. 

At the Hanger Vale Lane end, the road departed from the line of the railway to leave a plot of land on which lock-up garages were erected in 1924/25. Attention shifted back to the station end of the road when a large building was put up, listed in 1927 as The Ealing Car Agency (on the site of the present Balcon Court).

A firm of builders, Kendalls, erected the garages, and possibly also was responsible for the whole of the road. Several features of the Edwardian houses, many of which survive, indicate that the homes were intended for gentlemen and gentlewomen of the middle classes. The halls of most houses had ceramic tiles, and in the larger, older houses, rather impressive columns. Pattern books or catalogues were in vogue in 1910 from which prospective house buyers could choose tiles, stained glass and fireplaces. Indeed, some existing fireplaces in the houses are very similar to ones shown in the books: so it is possible that house fittings were at least partly customised to the owner's choice. Each living room had a bell-push by the fireplace, which, with the one for tradesmen by the back gate, was linked with a cabinet of bells mounted on the kitchen wall. Here worked the servant, ready to be summoned by bells, to attend to the requirements of the master or mistress, and to take delivery from the coalman at the back door. Residents were predominantly professionals - engineers, teachers, musicians, and at least one writer.

In its history, Boileau Road has had its adrenalin boosted by danger and excitement. At about 2.30 am on September 26, 1942, a bomb fell on number 94 but fortunately it failed to explode: there was some damage but no casualties. Later in that year, in early morning of November 14, a land mine exploded in mid-air over the station end of Boileau Road, slightly damaging several houses and blowing out the windows in Queens Parade shops. Almost exactly forty-five years on, in October 1987, Boileau Road was struck again, this time by the storm which tore along the road, uprooting almost all the lime trees that had stood for 60 years and more. Many houses and cars were damaged but one positive outcome was that residents were united in their horror of the disaster and exchanged words for the first time, even though they had been neighbours in the road for many years. Thus adversity makes brothers and sisters of us all!

The building of Boileau Road therefore initiated residential development in the area. Shortly after it was finished, in 1926 the freeholder Charles Wood sold the remainder of his Hanger Hill estate to Haymills Limited who started building (at the Hanger Lane end of Corringway) in 1928. The old golf clubhouse was pulled down in 1930, the club was wound up, and the Haymills Estate burgeoned. And just as Boileau Road was there at the birth of the Estate, it now sustains it, its bloodstream as it were, as its major point of entry and exit to the rest of Ealing.