Thu 08 Sep 2016
A suburb of Ealing, Hanwell's origins can be traced back to an ancient village on the banks of a stream in the fifth century. The Domesday book cites that peasants and villains were amongst the 100 residents who worked on the meadowland nearby.
The great 19th century civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel designed Hanwell's Wharncliffe Viaduct as a means of travelling from Paddington Station, another of his projects, to the West of England where, incidentally, he also designed the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It was the advent of rail travel in Hanwell which created a demand for housing for those working in Ealing, Southall and central London.
The Wharncliffe Viaduct is not just a local landmark but an incredible feat of Victorian engineering and hard work, bisecting the rolling fields of Brent Lodge Park below it. Brent Lodge Park, affectionately known as Bunny Park to local children, houses a variety of exotic birds and mammals in a dedicated animal centre, a rare find in a London postcode.
To the north of the area lies Hanwell Community Centre, which was once a boarding school for poor children from Central London. One of these impoverished urchins was Charlie Chaplin who went on to find great international fame on stage and screen. The Cuckoo Estate was built in the 1930s in the grounds of the old school and is now an area popular with first time buyers looking to find a freehold house in London for less than £500,000.
The River Brent and the Grand Union Canal converge in Hanwell alongside Ealing Hospital, the site of the former Hanwell Pauper and Lunatic Asylum. Halfway up a flight of six locks, the canal had a dedicated branch which led to the cellars of the Asylum to deliver coal. St Bernard's Gate, a magnificent development of smart new apartments is underway on the fringe of the old Asylum site, offering much sought after modern living spaces in an area dominated by period property.
Nestled between the River Brent and Elthorne Park are the quaint Victorian streets of Olde Hanwell which are home to middle class families whose children attend the excellent St Marks Primary School and Elthorne Park High School.
The most exciting aspect of 21st century Hanwell harks back to its 19th century development, as the arrival of Crossrail's Elizabeth Line will take Hanwellians into central London in under 15 minutes from the end of 2019. City workers who had previously thought that the green spaces and warm community spirit of Hanwell were beyond a reasonable commute to work are now settling in the area to take advantage of the uplift in prices that the area is currently experiencing.
A weekend can be wonderfully whiled away in Hanwell by starting with brunch at The Clocktower Café, followed by a browse through the treasured vintage furniture in Studio 151 and a wander through Bunny Park to mingle with the marvellous menagerie there. Round off the day with dinner at The Pasta Lab and a drink in the beautifully restored Edwardian surroundings of The Grosvenor.
To become Hanwell's newest resident, speak to our Ealing team to rent a modern two bedroom apartment in Cherington Road for £1,400 per month. Alternatively you could take your first step on the property ladder and buy a one bedroom period conversion flat in Boston Road for £325,000.