Ealing (/ˈiːlɪŋ/) is a district of west London, England, located
7.9 miles (12.7 km) west of Charing Cross. It is the
administrative centre of the
London Borough of Ealing, and identified
as a major metropolitan centre in the
Ealing was historically a rural village in the county of
formed an ancient parish. Improvement in communications with
London, culminating with the opening of the railway station in 1838,
shifted the local economy to market garden supply and eventually to
As part of the growth of
London in the 20th century, Ealing
significantly expanded and increased in population, becoming a
municipal borough in 1901 and has formed part of
Greater London since
1965. It now forms a significant commercial and retail centre with a
developed night time economy.
Ealing has the characteristics of both
suburban and inner-city developments. Ealing's town centre is often
Ealing Broadway, the name of both a rail interchange
& a shopping centre.
Most of Ealing, including the commercial district, South Ealing,
Ealing Common, Montpelier,
Pitshanger and most of
Hanger Hill fall
under the W5 postcode. Areas to the north-west of the town centre such
as Argyle Road and
West Ealing fall under W13 instead. A small section
north-east of the town centre, near Hanger Hill, falls under the NW10
postcode area. The population of
Ealing (not including
Northfields), comprising the
Cleveland, Walpole and
Hanger Hill wards, was 71,492 in the 2011
census. The area of
Hanwell is strongly associated with Ealing;
however, it is a separate district with its own postcode. Northfields
on the other hand, despite sharing postcodes with
Ealing is generally
considered to be a separate area in its own right.
1.2 Early history
Ealing as a suburb of London
1.4 Old inns and public houses
1.5 The expansion of Ealing
Ealing as a modern Victorian suburb
1.7 Queen of the Suburbs
Ealing in fiction
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
The Saxon name for
Ealing was recorded c.700 as 'Gillingas', meaning
'place of the people associated with Gilla', from the personal name
Gilla and the
Old English suffix '-ingas', meaning 'people of'.
Over the centuries, the name has changed, and has been known as
'Illing', 1130; 'Gilling', 1243; and 'Ylling', 1254, until 'Ealing'
became the standard spelling in the 19th century.
Archaeological evidence shows that parts of
Ealing have been occupied
for more than 7,000 years
Iron Age pots have been
discovered in the vicinity on Horsenden Hill. A settlement is recorded
here in the 12th century amid a great forest that
carpeted the area to the west of London. The earliest surviving
English census is that for
Ealing in 1599. This list was a tally of
all 85 households in
Ealing village giving the names of the
inhabitants, together with their ages, relationships and occupations.
It survives in manuscript form at The National Archives (piece E
163/24/35), and was transcribed and printed by K J Allison for the
Ealing Historical Society in 1961.
Settlements were scattered throughout the parish. Many of them were
along what is now called St. Mary's Road, near to the church in the
centre of the parish. There were also houses at Little Ealing, Ealing
Dean, Haven Green, Drayton Green and Castlebar Hill.
The Church of St. Mary's, the parish church, dates back to the early
12th century. The parish of
Ealing was divided into manors, such as
Gunnersbury and Pitshanger. These were farmed; the crops
being mostly wheat, but also barley and rye. There were also animals
such as cows, sheep and chickens.
Great Ealing School
Great Ealing School was founded in 1698 by the Church of St Mary's.
This subsequently became the "finest private school in England" and
had many famous pupils in the 19th century such as William S. Gilbert
and Cardinal Newman. As the area became built-up, it declined and
closed in 1908. The first known maps of
Ealing were made in the
Ealing as a suburb of London
With the exception of driving animals into
London on foot, the
transport of heavy goods tended be restricted to those times when the
non-metalled roads were passable due to dry weather. However, with the
passing of the
Toll Road Act, this highway was gravelled and so the
old Oxford Road became an increasingly busy and important thoroughfare
running from east to west through the centre of the parish. This road
was later renamed as
Uxbridge Road. The well-to-do of
London began to
Ealing as a place to escape from the smoke and smells. In 1800 the
John Soane bought Payton Place and renamed it Pitzhanger
Manor, not to live but just for somewhere green and pleasant, where he
could entertain his friends and guests. Soon after (1801) the Duke of
Kent bought a house at Castlebar. Soon, more affluent Londoners
followed but with the intention of taking up a permanent residence
which was conveniently close to London. The only British prime
minister to be assassinated, Spencer Perceval, made his home at Elm
House. Up until that point,
Ealing was mostly made up of open
countryside and fields where, as in previous centuries, the main
occupation was farming.
Old inns and public houses
London grew in size, more food and materials went in and more
finished goods came out. Since dray horses can only haul loads a few
miles per day, frequent overnight stops were needed. To satisfy this
demand a large number of inns were situated along the
where horses could be changed and travellers refresh themselves,
prompting its favour by highwaymen. Stops in
Ealing included The
Feathers, The Bell, The Green Man and The Old Hats. At one point in
history there were two pubs called the Old Hat(s) either side of one
of the many toll gates on the
Uxbridge Road in West Ealing. Following
the removal of the toll gate the more Westernmost pub was renamed The
The expansion of Ealing
London developed, the area became predominantly market gardens
which required a greater proportion of workers as it was more
labour-intensive. In the 1850s, with improved travel (the Great
Western Railway and two branches of the Grand Union Canal), villages
began to grow into towns and merged into unbroken residential areas.
At this time
Ealing began to be called the "Queen of the Suburbs".
Mount Castle Tower, an
Elizabethan structure which stood at the top of
Hanger Hill, was used as a tea-stop in the 19th century. It was
demolished to make way for Fox's Reservoir in 1881. This reservoir,
with a capacity of 3 million imperial gallons (14,000 m3),
was erected north of Hill Crest Road, Hanger Hill, in 1888 and a
neighbouring reservoir for 50 million imperial gallons
(230,000 m3) was constructed c. 1889. This supply of good water
helped to make
Ealing more attractive than ever.
Mount Castle Tower was also known as
Hanger Hill Tower, and as such it
was a vital viewing point for the Anglo-French Survey (1784–1790),
which linked the
Royal Greenwich Observatory
Royal Greenwich Observatory with the Paris
Observatory via a chain of trigonometric readings. This survey was led
England by General William Roy.
Hanger Hill Tower was its
northernmost observation point, and from it sightings were made to
places such as St Ann's Hill in Chertsey, Banstead, Upper Norwood, and
Greenwich Observatory itself.
Ealing as a modern Victorian suburb
The most important changes to
Ealing occurred in the 19th century. The
building of the
Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway in the 1830s, part of which
passed through the centre of Ealing, led to the opening of a railway
station on the Broadway in 1879, originally called Haven Green. In the
next few decades, much of
Ealing was rebuilt, predominantly
semi-detached housing designed for the rising middle-class. Gas mains
were laid and an electricity generating station was built. Better
transport links, including horse buses as well as trains, enabled
people to more easily travel to work in London. All this, whilst
living in what was still considered to be the countryside. Although
much of the countryside was rapidly disappearing during this period of
rapid expansion, parts of it were preserved as public parks, such as
Lammas Park and
Pitzhanger Manor and the extensive 28
acres (110,000 m2) grounds on which it stands, was sold to the
council in 1901 by Sir Spencer Walpole, which had been bought by his
father the Rt. Hon.
Spencer Horatio Walpole
Spencer Horatio Walpole and thus became Walpole
It was during the Victorian period that
Ealing became a town. This
meant that good, well-metalled roads had to be built, and schools and
public buildings erected. To protect public health, the newly created
Board of Health for
Ealing commissioned London's first modern drainage
and sewage systems here. Just as importantly, drinking fountains
providing wholesome and safe water were erected by public
Ealing Broadway became a major shopping centre. The man
responsible for much of all this was Charles Jones, Borough Surveyor
from 1863–1913. He directed the planting of the horse chestnut trees
Ealing Common and designed the Town Hall, both the present one and
the older structure which is now a bank (on the Mall). He even oversaw
the purchase of the Walpole estate grounds and its conversion into a
leisure garden for the general public to enjoy and promenade around on
Queen of the Suburbs
1895 lamp standard. Mount Park Road
It was in 1901 that
Ealing Urban District
Ealing Urban District was incorporated as a
Walpole Park was opened and the first electric
trams ran along the
Uxbridge Road. As part of its permit to operate,
the electric tram company was required to incorporate the latest in
modern street lighting into its overhead catenary supply, along the
Ealing section of the
Uxbridge Road. A municipally-built generating
station near Clayponds Avenue supplied power to more street lighting
that ran northwards, up and along Mount Park Road and the surrounding
It was of this area centred around Mount Park Road that Nikolaus
Pevsner remarks as ”epitomising Ealing's reputation as 'Queen of the
Suburbs'..” In a very short time,
Ealing had become a modern and
fashionable country town, free of the grime, soot and smells of
industrialised London, and yet only minutes away from it by modern
Who first coined the term Queen of the Suburbs is not known, but the
name sticks to the present day. The Mount Park Road area still retains
much of its original character and is still dominated by grand family
homes. For the most part, it has resisted the conversion into
dormitory bed-sitters, an effect which has over taken so many of the
With the amalgamation of the surrounding municipal boroughs in 1965,
Town Hall became the administrative centre for the new London
Borough of Ealing. Today, this also includes its offices at Perceval
House just next to it.
Ealing Broadway in 2006
The largest ethnic group in the 2011 census for the
ward was White British, at 45%. The second largest was Other White, at
21%. In a speech to mark the 70th anniversary of the Indian
Journalists' Association and of Indian independence on 15 August, 1947
Ealing MP Stephen Pound said: " There is North Ealing, South
Ealing and Darjeeling" referring to the relatively large Asian
The preserved facade of the Walpole Picture Theatre
Ealing is best known for its film studios, which are the oldest in the
world and are known especially for the
Ealing comedies, including Kind
Hearts and Coronets, Passport to Pimlico,
The Ladykillers and The
Lavender Hill Mob. The studios were taken over by the
BBC in 1955,
with one consequence being that
Ealing locations appeared in
television programmes including
Doctor Who (notably within an iconic
1970 sequence in which deadly shop mannequins menaced local residents)
to Monty Python's Flying Circus. Most recently, these studios have
again been used for making films, including
Notting Hill and The
Importance of Being Earnest. Most recently, St Trinian's, a remake of
the classic film, was produced by
Ealing Studios; some locations in
Ealing can be seen in this film.
Ealing now lacks any cinema houses in which to show
these films; the
Ealing Empire cinema has now been closed since 2008.
Although renovation has now begun on the New Broadway street cinema in
late 2012; with plans for a 20 screen Cineplex and a Film museum. Work
is due to be complete in 2018. Local group
Pitshanger Pictures shows
classic movies in
St Barnabas Millennium Hall on
Ealing has a theatre on Mattock Lane, The Questors Theatre.
Further information: Transport in London
A goods train passing through
Ealing in 1962
Ealing is served by
Ealing Broadway station
Ealing Broadway station on the Great Western Main
Line and the
London Underground in
London fare zone 3. It is also
served by four other tube stations at North Ealing, South Ealing,
Hanger Lane, Northfields and
Ealing Common. The Piccadilly line
operates at North Ealing,
Ealing Common, South
Ealing and Northfields;
the Central line at
Ealing Broadway and Hanger Lane; and the District
Ealing Broadway and
Ealing Common. The stations at Ealing
West Ealing are served by
National Rail operators First
Great Western and Heathrow Connect. Early in the 21st century
London (TFL) planned to reintroduce an electric tram
line along the
Uxbridge Road (the West
London Tram scheme), but this
was abandoned in August 2007 in the face of fierce local opposition
and a switch in priorities and funding to Crossrail. A total of 18
buses (including night buses) serve
St Mary's Church, Ealing
Regarded as Ealing's premier architectural work, St Peter's Church,
Ealing is located on Mount Park Road north of
Ealing Broadway. The
ancient parish church of
Ealing is St Mary's, in St Mary's Road.
Standing near Charlbury Grove,
Ealing Abbey was founded by a community
of Roman Catholic
Benedictine monks in 1897. Twinned with the convent
of St. Augustine's Priory, the giant abbey is an example of a
traditional, working monastery. There are over fifteen churches in the
suburb of Ealing, including Our Lady Mother of the Church, a Polish
Roman Catholic church in the Mall, near
needed] There are two well-established synagogues, the
Synagogue (Orthodox), which celebrated its 90th anniversary in
November 2009, and the
Ealing Liberal Synagogue, which was founded
in 1943. In surrounding suburbs, there are two mosques in Acton, one
in West Ealing, and two in Southall.
Southall also has a large Sikh
and Muslim community and is famous for being a focal point of London's
diverse society.
Blue plaque for
Ealing Jazz Club
Mick Jagger and
Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones famously first
Brian Jones in 1962 at the
Ealing Jazz Club, opposite Ealing
Broadway station. Other artists who performed at the club include Rod
Stewart and Manfred Mann. The Jazz Club is now a nightclub called the
The Who also met their drummer
Keith Moon at the Railway public house
Brand New Heavies
Brand New Heavies core members (drummer Jan Kincaid, guitarist Simon
Bartholomew and bassist Andrew Levy) all hail from Ealing, where they
formed the group in 1985.
An August 2013 article in the
Huffington Post claimed that Ealing
could claim to be the home of rock music because of the catalyst
effect of the
Ealing Club on British musicians.
Two members of the punk band
Zatopeks grew up in Ealing, and the group
frequently makes nostalgic or ironic references to the borough in its
Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience was born there in
White Lies are also from Ealing.
Ealing is home to
Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club and
Rugby League Club. Due to the nearby football teams, Brentford
Football Club and Queens Park Rangers,
Ealing has previously not had
its own football team, despite its size. However, in late 2008 a team
by the name of '
Ealing Town Football Club' had been registered with
the Football Association and will therefore start playing competitive
matches in the 2008/09 football season.
Gaelic Games have a prominent role in the Irish community in Ealing
with successful clubs such as St. Joseph's GAA and Tir Chonaill GAA in
Perivale and Greenford. Despite not having its own
football team, many youth football clubs such Old Actonians FC,
Pitshanger FC (www.pitchero.com/clubs/pitshangerfc) and
FC play in local leagues and are popular among the children of the
borough. Most of these teams compete in the Harrow League or the Hayes
and District Sunday Youth League, although some teams compete in other
leagues based further away from
Ealing also boasts a successful local running club in Ealing, Southall
Middlesex AC, founded in 1920. The club counted double
Kelly Holmes among its members and she has
several club records to her name.
Ealing is home to a very successful cricket club,
Club, whose home ground is the
Ealing Cricket Club Ground and
which has been the leading club in
London for a number of years.
Triathlon Club is also based in Ealing. D3 Triathletes compete
in triathlons both locally and internationally across all distances
and formats including Olympic Distance and Ironman. Though an
independent club it is supported by the
Ealing Swimming Club based at
Gurnell Leisure Centre.
Ealing is the host to several annual festivals. The first festival to
be regularly staged was the Jazz Festival which is held in Walpole
Park. An annual
Beer Festival was then started and organised by the
Campaign for Real Ale
Campaign for Real Ale and originally held in the
Ealing Town Hall. Due
to its popularity, it had outgrown the space available at the Town
Hall after a few years, so it too then transferred to the park, where
they now have room to offer over 200 real ales. Each cask is supplied
with individual cooling jackets to maintain the beer at exactly the
right temperature. This event is run by keen volunteers. The success
of these events encouraged the local council to license a broader
range of festivals.
Beer Festival in Walpole park
Ealing Music and Film Valentine Festival
Opera in the Park
Ealing in fiction
Ealing was the setting for children's comedy show Rentaghost.
A blue plaque commemorating the birthplace of Charles Hamilton,
creator of Billy Bunter, is located in the
Ealing Broadway Centre.
In James Hilton's novel
Goodbye, Mr Chips
Goodbye, Mr Chips (1934), Katherine, the
lovely young wife of the shy schoolmaster protagonist Mr Chipping, is
said to have been living with an aunt in
Ealing following the death of
Ealing and the surrounding area is mentioned in Aldous Huxley's Brave
New World (1932). Lenina observes a Delta gymnastic display in the
Ealing stadium as she flies overhead in a helicopter with Henry
Doctor Who and related media:
The John Sanders department store (now a branch of Marks &
Spencer) was the location for the scenes of the Autons breaking
through the shop window and beginning their killing rampage in the
1970 story Spearhead from Space.
Upon returning Ace home to the adjoining village of
Survival (the final serial of the 1963–1989 series), she and the
Seventh Doctor ventured into
Ealing and visited The Drayton Court.
Doctor Who spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah
Jane and the other regular characters lived in Ealing, and the
majority of the stories were set there (although actually filmed in
and around Cardiff, Wales). The series' settings made cross-over
appearances in Doctor Who.
Clara Oswald and the Maitland family live in South
The main character Kendra Tamale of the book Marshmallows for
Breakfast by Dorothy Koomson, was said to have grown up or lived in
Ealing or nearby.
George Bowling, the main character in
Coming Up for Air by George
Orwell, lived in
Ealing before moving to West Bletchley.
The police station featured in the opening titles of Dixon of Dock
Green was the previous
Ealing police station, located at number 5 High
Street, just north of
H. G. Wells'
The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds Ch. 16: "The Exodus from London".
The author describing the alien deployment of poisonous, ground
hugging, black vapour: "Another bank drove over Ealing, and surrounded
a little island of survivors on Castle Hill, alive, but unable to
escape." 'Castle Hill' was the name given in the author's time to the
Victorian housing estate that sits upon
Castlebar Hill and the
original name of
West Ealing railway station.
Thomas Merton, in his autobiography Seven Story Mountain, tells of
Ealing for a time with his Aunt and Uncle.
Hugh Grant's character in the film Bridget Jones's Diary recites a
limerick about Ealing.
Keith Stewart, the main character in Nevil Shute's Trustee from the
Toolroom, lives in West Ealing.
Jenni Fortune, a character in Sebastian Faulks' A Week in December,
lives in Drayton Green, West Ealing.
Robin Ellacott, character from the Cormoran Strike series by Robert
Galbraith (J.K. Rowling), lives with her fiancé in West Ealing.
Ealing has been described by the Guardian as "the nation's hotspot for
Westside 89.6FM is a local community station covering the area from
studios based in neighbouring Hanwell, there is also
Blast Radio the
student station for University of West
London based at
they broadcast across the area on (RSL) in May. There is also a
digital local newspaper for the area.
3 August 2001
List of people from Ealing
The Questors Theatre, Ealing
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Places of worship
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Christ the Redeemer, Southall
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Our Lady of Hungary, Ealing
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Holy Trinity, Southall
St Anselm, Southall
St Alban, Acton Green
St Barnabas, Ealing
St Christopher, Hanwell
St Dunstan, East Acton
St Edward the Confessor, Greenford
St Gabriel, North Acton
St George, Southall
St Hugh, Northolt
St James, Ealing
St John, Ealing
St John, Southall
St Mary, Acton
St Mary, Ealing
St Mary, Hanwell
St Mary, Norwood Green
St Mary, Perivale
St Mary, West Twyford
St Mary and St Nicholas, Greenford
St Mary with St Richard, Northolt
St Mellitus, Hanwell
St Paul, Ealing
St Peter, Ealing
St Peter, Acton Green
St Stephen, Ealing
St Thomas the Apostle, Hanwell
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