Sunday, 30 December 2018

Explorations of a largely unknown Ealing

Today I directed my walking south of the Uxbridge Road, between Northfields and South Ealing stations, discovering local streets and footpaths that I have never walked along, despite them being little more than a mile from where I spent a significant part of my life.

Some of the streets around here are well known to me; there's Elers Road - on the corner with Northfields Avenue, Pan Rozwadowski had his Polski Sklep here back in the 1960s and '70s; there's Walpole Park, backing on what used to be the main Ealing Public Library until the shopping centre opened in the 1980s; there's Lammas Park between Northfields Ave and Walpole Park. These two adjacent parks allow one to walk all the way from Northfields station to Ealing Broadway through greenery, away from the traffic's incessant roar. However, I had many streets to explore around here.

I turn off the main thoroughfare to seek out the paths less trodden. Mattock Lane yields the sight of St John's church, built in 1876 to accommodate the newcomers to West Ealing as working-class housing expanded into fields and orchards. Click to enlarge - look at the seagulls on the ridge of the church roof.

From Mattock Lane, I turn down a footpath named Radbourne Walk, separated from the busy Northfields Avenue by allotment gardens. And here I chance upon a row of Victorian 'model cottages' (below) - they are tiny (two small rooms on a single storey, another row on top). Built in 1869.

Below: corner of Carew Gardens looking into Lyncroft Gardens and an Edwardian pillar box - note royal cypher E VII R - serving Edwardian housing. "It's grand to be an Englishman in 1910 - King Edward's on the throne, it is the age of men", to quote the Sherman Brothers' libretto to Mary Poppins. For the reasonably well-to-do who lived here in those days, it was a splendid place; electric Central Line tube trains could take them to the City from Ealing Broadway in a little over half an hour, and the surrounding parkland gave a semblance of countryside.

Below: north-east corner of Lammas Park; note the turret feature on the house across Elers Road; many Ealing houses at ends of roads have turrets to this day. So much greenery, even in midwinter. British gardeners were always adept in choosing evergreens to give year-round verdure.

Below: cheaper late-Victorian or early-Edwardian housing across the road from Lammas Park, its gates protected by a small lodge house.

Below: St Mary's church, dating back to the 12th century, was Ealing's original parish church. Falling into disrepair in the 18th century, it was rebuilt in its current shape in the 1870s. In the foreground, the Rose & Crown; the atmosphere here resembling a village rather than a suburb.

Below: corners of quaintness are still to be found in Ealing. This is St Mary's Square, the building to the left being the old fire station. Reminding us of times when Ealing was still a village, before the railway came and began to turn it into a suburb from the 1840s on.

Left: how many lifelong residents of Ealing can say where this row of almshouses is located? South of St Mary's church, Little Ealing, it was built at the very end of the 19th century to house the elderly of the parish. These replaced mid-18th century almshouses that were knocked down to build a parade of shops, one of which features in the next photo...

Below: looking like it might have done 80 or 90 years ago, the North Star pub and next to it, a restored 'ghost sign' above the side of Flight Centre, a travel agent's shop on the Mall, where it meets the Broadway, on the Uxbridge Road.

The area around South Ealing and Lammas Park often appeared in Monty Python sketches. In 1999, Michael Palin (now Sir Michael) shot a short documentary entitled Pythonland, in which he revisits the locations of several well-loved sketches. The sketches were filmed nearly half a century ago, Pythonland was made nearly 20 years ago - interesting to see how this part of Ealing has changed since then.

Well worth watching - and proof is offered to those who doubt me, that 'the Uxbridge Road' is always preceded by the definite article.

Bonus quiz: two old(ish) cars, one a classic, the other less so. Name them (winner is the person who provides most details). One looks longer than its owner's house is wide!

This time last year:
Eric Ravilious

This time three years ago:
Dark thoughts at 2015 comes to an end
[Got that one right then, eh!]

This time four years ago:
Shots from the sky

This time five years ago:
One-millionth of a zloty 

This time seven years ago:
Random year-end thoughts

This time eight years ago:
Beery litter louts

This time nine years ago:
Miserable grey London

This time ten years ago:
Parrots in Ealing

This time 11 years ago:
Xmas lites, Jeziorki


John Savery said...

Both cars are Citroens. The top one appears to be an XS model, the lower a BX Rendezvous. If the latter is correct and it's on the road it appears to be the last one running.

Tony S said...

Both Citroens..the top gold one a CX maybe a Pallas model? and the lower one a BX model.
Both had the hydropneumatic suspension first developed by Citroen in the 1950s on the DS, hence the reason they are both sitting low to the ground, as they tend to "sink" when parked up for long periods [or there is a leak in the system]

The BBC used CX models with a camera on the roof to film horse races as the suspension meant the car didn't bounce around while keeping up with the race during the broadcast.

Michael Dembinski said...

@John Savery

Both cars are indeed Citroens and you are correct about the BX (extra marks for the special-edition Rendezvous!)

But a surprising 'AROOGAH!' sound from my rarely-used klaxon - completely wrong about the 'XS'. Indeed, two letters, but neither is an 'X' nor indeed an 'S'.

It's in much better nick than the BX, despite being some nine years older!

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Tony S

You are (very nearly) correct! The top one is the Citroen CX, though not Pallas but Prestige - the long wheelbase model, with an extra 25cm in the back door. The floorpan of the Prestige was shared with the Break (estate).

And indeed, the BBC began using Citroens for filming horse races earlier - using DS Breaks.