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Ealing - Queen of the Suburbs


First recorded in the 8th century as Gillingas and later known as Illing and Ylling, it was not until the 19th century that the name Ealing stuck. A rural village until the 1890s. The largest settlement in the Ealing area was on St Mary's Road, near the parish church. You can still see today the old fire station and a number of 18th century cottages close to the roundabout were St Mary's Road meets Church Lane and South Ealing Road. There were also small clusters of properties at Haven Green, Drayton Green, Castlebar Hill, Little Ealing and Ealing Dean, which was the name given to the area around St Johns Church in Mattock Lane.

Ealing became a popular stopping point along the busy Uxbridge Road in the days when horse drawn carts travelled between London and Oxford. The majority of Ealing was open countryside used as farmland but over time, affluent Londoners settled in the area, attracted by its green open space and proximity to the capital. The fields were used by local landowners for market gardens, and were later developed into housing as Ealing became a suburb of the sprawling city. Many of these new properties were large semi-detached and detached houses, built in the late 1890s for the rising middle class who commuted into central London. The bustling business district of Ealing Broadway was developed from around 1880 and was complete by 1901. Town planners ensured that the green space that initially attracted people to the area remained in the form of all of Ealing's parks.

London's first modern drainage and sewerage systems were installed in Ealing, gas mains were laid, an electricity generating system was built and two enormous drinking-water reservoirs were constructed in the area, which put Ealing streets ahead of other London suburbs for technological advancement at the time. A railway station, electric trams and horse buses enabled the easy movement of Ealing's population around West London and beyond. Ealing was known for its schools, its entertainment scene and the absence of noisy, dirty industry. In 1901 Ealing ranked third in London after Hampstead and Kensington for its large population of female domestic servants. Some more cynical commentators noted that Ealing retained its respectable status by sending criminals to Brentford, but nonetheless Ealing's title of Queen of the Suburbs was coined and sticks to this day.

Whilst Ealing suffered some bomb damage during World War II, it was lucky compared to much of London. There was a large public air-raid shelter built beneath the grass of Ealing Common, and many homes had private Anderson shelters. The department store Sanders, which stood where Marks and Spencer is now in Ealing Broadway, was badly damaged and later rebuilt, but the vast majority of Ealing's architecture and its population fortunately survived the war.

Modern day Ealing made a name for itself thanks to its film studios on Ealing Green. Ealing Studios produced films from the 1900s through to the 1950s and subsequently the BBC made many pre-recorded television programmes there up until the early 1990s. Today the site is still used for the production of films, only not quite to the extent that it was in the first half of last century.

Grand changes are on the horizon in Ealing, pioneered by the Dickens Yard development on the site of the old public swimming baths. Uxbridge Road was redeveloped in the 1950s and 1960s, demolishing large family homes to make way for new office blocks, and now some of these office blocks are being replaced by luxury residential accommodation again. The site of the old Odeon cinema is being comprehensively redeveloped to provide Ealing with a new cultural quarter, and discussions are ongoing to improve Ealing's retail provision with larger units along the Broadway.

Join the leafy yet busy community of Ealing by renting or buying a modern apartment, a period cottage, or even an imposing Victorian villa. Speak to our Ealing team on 020 8567 6757 to start your property search today.