Known today as the ‘Queen of the Suburbs’, Ealing in West London has an extensive history dating back to a small settlement during the Saxon period, when the county of Middlesex was formed.
Originally a part of Middlesex, Ealing (excluding Old Brentford) was a small hamlet of only 85 households in 1599. Like many hamlets at the time, the area was mainly countryside and fields, with the main occupation being farming.
By the 18th Century, both Ealing and Little Ealing were described as very pleasant villages near Brentford. With an important road from London to Oxford running through Ealing, later known as the Uxbridge Road, several inns began to appear in the Ealing area.
During the 18th Century, Ealing became home to several royal and noble residents, with the upper class beginning to see Ealing as a place to escape from London.
During the Victorian period, Ealing grew rapidly and transformed from a small village into a town. New roads and homes were built, the majority of which were semi-detached houses, as part of a major expansion to accommodate the increasing number of middle-class workers moving to the area.
From a population of 5,035 in 1801 (including Old Brentford), the area had grown to a population of 33,031 residents (excluding Old Brentford) by 1901.
The building of the railway in 1838 and opening of Ealing Broadway railway station in 1879 brought more people to Ealing. With better transport links, Ealing was an attractive place to live as people could easily travel to work in London but live in what was still considered to be the countryside.
As London developed, the area became predominantly market gardens. With improved travel, villages began to grow into towns and merge together. Although it is not known who invented the name, Ealing soon become known as the ‘Queen of the Suburbs’ due to the local greenery and its location halfway between London and the countryside.
Building work extended the town to Ealing Dean and Ealing Common towards the end of the 1800s. Large, detached houses were built along North Common Road, while the area to the east of Ealing Common was still bordered by open countryside.
1901 saw the town becoming a borough, the opening of Walpole Park and the first electric trams running along the Uxbridge Road. Ealing also became the first borough in Middlesex to receive a charter and to have a mayor.
During the interwar period lots of new building work sprung up across the Borough. Several garden estates, like the one at the Brentham Garden Suburb, were built. The Ealing Village apartment blocks, which are today Grade II listed, were also built during this time.
By 1920 the grounds of Ealing Park had been mostly covered with terraced or semi-detached houses, as had the land stretching East to South Ealing Road and North to the District railway line.
In 1926, Hanwell, Greenford and Perivale became incorporated into Ealing, and these were followed by Northolt in 1928.
In the 1950s, Ealing’s main claim to fame was the film studios which produced the Ealing comedies.
In 1965, Ealing became part of Greater London, with the old boroughs of Ealing, Acton and Southall being abolished and merged into one new local authority, the London Borough of Ealing.
Today Ealing covers multiple Central London postcodes, including W5, W13 and NW10, and has a large population, which is 2011 totalled 85,014 (including Northfields).
Ealing Town Hall
Designed by Charles Jones, who was the Borough Surveyor from 1863-1913, Ealing Town Hall was built in the Gothic Revival style and is today Grade II listed.
The building replaced the previous town hall, which is now a bank, that was also designed by Charles Jones. The Victorian town hall was built by Hugh Knight and officially opened on the 15th December 1888. It was designed with an asymmetrical front and oriel windows on the first and second floor.
Significantly extended in 1930, the town hall is still owned by the council today, although since 2016 the council has been in talks with a hotel developer to convert a part of it into a boutique hotel.
Pitzhanger Manor, a Grade I listed building, has several sash windows and was designed in a neo-classical design, with elements of Italian Renaissance architecture.
Before the current building was built, a large house (Payton Place) stood on the site from at least the late 17th Century. In 1768, George Dance was commissioned to build an extension to the original property, with a young Sir John Soane, later to become one of Britain’s most influential architects, as an apprentice.
In 1800 John Soane, having become a successful architect, bought Payton Place as somewhere to entertain his friends and guests and renamed it Pitzhanger Manor. Soane designed a new building and demolition of the original house began in 1800, with most of the rebuild complete by late 1803 and the new house complete by the end of 1804.
In 1810, Soane sold Pitzhanger Manor, which then passed through several owners until in 1843 it became home to the daughters of Spencer Perceval, the former UK Prime Minister.
The house stayed in private hands until 1900, when it was purchased by Ealing District Council to use as a public library. Work on converting the building started the following year and included a sympathetic extension, designed to the same architectural style as the building designed by John Soane. Work was completed and the library was opened to the public in April 1902.
In 1938–40 the Lending Library block was replaced by a newer building, which today is used for the gallery. The library then moved out in 1984 and in 1985 the further restoration work began.
The manor house opened to the public again in January 1987, but this time as the London Borough of Ealing’s main museum and as a heritage attraction. In 1996, contemporary art exhibitions also began to be showcased at the property.
In March 2015, the building closed for a major conservation project, which lasted until 2019 when it reopened to the public.
Norwood Hall is a Grade II listed building with traditional, 19th Century stone mullioned and transomed windows.
Like, Pitzhanger Manor, Norwood Hall, originally known as Norwood Lodge, was designed by Sir John Soane. The building was originally built as a house in 1801 – 1803 for John Robins, an auctioneer and estate agent.
Towards the end of the 1800s the house was extended and altered by its new owners, the Unwin family. It was then brought in 1945 by Middlesex County Council. It originally operated as an old peoples’ home, before it became Norwood Hall Institute of Horticultural Education in 1955.
Following the dissolution of Middlesex County Council, the college was run by a number of local London boroughs. It later became Ealing Tertiary College, before being purchased by Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall as the site for a new faith school.
Norwood Hall has since undergone a £1.3 million refurbishment, with many of the original features remaining.
Timber Windows in Ealing
Aided by several conservation areas, and with over 450 buildings within the Borough being listed, a lot of Ealing’s historical character and traditional look remains. A couple of examples are Hanwell, which still has several roads of terraced Victorian properties, and Mount Park Road in the Montpelier area, which is dominated by grand family homes and still has much of its original character.
At The Sash Window Workshop, we have extensive experience working on timber windows and doors in period properties, including carrying out various work in the W5, W13 and NW10 postcodes across the London Borough of Ealing.