Ealing West London
The Queen of The Suburbs
Known as the Queen of the Suburbs, Ealing has one major claim to fame - it has the oldest continuously-working film studio in the world. Ealing Studios was established in 1902 and is best known for its post-second world war comedies, including The Ladykillers and The Lavender Hill Mob. For four decades it was owned by the BBC and it is still in action today. Fans of the television series Downton Abbey will have seen footage of the servants' quarters filmed at the Middlesex studio.
Ealing became a town in the Victorian era thanks mainly to the building of the railways, but its history dates back many centuries. In Anglo Saxon times the settlement was known as Gillingas (meaning the people of Gilla). Over time, its name changed to Yealing, Zelling, and even Eling, until Ealing became the standard spelling in the 1800s.
Until the industrial revolution, Ealing was a farming community. A road ran through it from west to east, which today is known as Uxbridge Road. It links Oxford with London and would have been used for agricultural traders heading to London to sell their animals and farm produce.
But it was the construction of the Great Western Railway in the 1830s that saw Ealing begin to develop. Ealing Broadway station opened in 1838 and in the following years many houses were built. These were mainly semi-detached homes for the middle classes that wanted to live outside the capital and could now travel to work every day by train.
Sadly, the rapid suburban growth swallowed up much of the greenery that the new residents sought. But thanks to the foresight of developers and planners, parts of it were preserved in parklands such as Lammas Park and Walpole Park.
In 1901, Ealing became the first town in Middlesex to have its own mayor.