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Park of the Month - April 2024
Ealing Common

This month we focus on the iconic Ealing Common

in the heartland of the Borough of Ealing

About Ealing Common

The Ealing Common open space, a wide expanse of flat open land, is bounded by Gunnersbury Ave

(A406) to the east and the Uxbridge Road to the north.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Middle Ages Ealing Common covered some 70 acres but its extent was reduced as a result of progressive encroachment. Medieval tracks have been upgraded to become the roads that now frame and cross the Common.

 

Ealing was primarily agricultural until the mid-C19th with villages clustered along Uxbridge Road. From Norman times commoners had rights to graze cattle and fowl on Ealing Common. But by the 1840s, like most of England, much of the other common land in the region had been enclosed.  In 1878, as a result of the 1866 Metropolitan Commons Act, Ealing Local Board - the forerunner to Ealing Council - purchased the area of Ealing Common from the Bishop of London, the landowner.  At this stage avenues of Horse chestnuts were planted on the boundaries and white metal posts and rails were installed in 1887, some of which have survived to today.  In 1904 the road across the Common was widened and a new footpath created.  Today you can also see the two water fountains which were erected by local subscription in 1878 by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association (trough has now gone)

 

At the southern end of the Common is Warwick Dene, once part of the Rothschild Estates. A visitor from Victorian times would today still easily recognise it,  as it has not significantly changed - including the metal gate bearing the legend Frasers Patent Disinfecting Apparatus. The garden dates from shortly after the Ealing Board’s acquisition of Ealing Common and it was the result of a land swap in 1895 between Ealing Council and the Rothschild family. Leopold De Rothschild exchanged Warwick Dene for land near Ealing Common station to provide a road. The Rothschilds owned much of the land between Ealing Common and Acton Town station, which they then developed for housing.  The Grange public house across the road is significant as it is just outside the Rothschild estate, where public houses and off-licences were not permitted. It is on the site of an earlier hostelry called The Cricketers which gives an indication of how the area was used.  In fact a significant cricket match was played on the Common on Monday, 20 August 1733 between Ealing & Acton and London Cricket Club. The result is unknown but the terms of the match were "for £50, play or pay", a substantial prize! 

 

Across from Warwick Dene is All Saints Church by W A Pite (1905) is a memorial to Spencer Perceval Great Britain's only assassinated Prime Minister. From 1809 until his assassination in 1812, Spencer Perceval lived at Elm Grove House, at the south-west corner of the Common. His son’s widow later sold the Elm Grove estate to the East India Company. In the early 19th century the manorial rights to the common were transferred from the bishops of London to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. At that time the scrub was mostly cleared, more trees were planted and the ponds in the south-east corner were drained.

 

Why Visit

Ealing Common is an iconic part of the Borough and provides a large green space for walking, looking at the historical areas, admiring the avenues of Horse Chestnuts and the majestic Oak Tree.  A great place for a kick around with a ball, picnicking and walking the dog - or just walking in a wide open space that rarely gets crowded.  It is easy to get to being on a number of bus routes, close to Ealing Common Tube Station and and short walk to Ealing Broadway.  It is an important area for flora and fauna and has a large wildflower meadow as will as the imposing trees.  

 

In the south corner of the Common a hay meadow has been created and during May and September a local farmer takes cuttings. The common was used for grazing and for any and donkey rides into the C20th.  During the Second World War it also had allotments and bomb shelters.  Today the Common still hosts fairs and circuses.

How to Get Here

Bus: 207, 483, SL8, E11

Tube:              Ealing Common Station - Piccadilly and District Lines

 Tube:             Ealing Broadway Station - Central Line, 

Overground: Ealing Broadway Station - Elizabeth Line, GWR

 

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A smaller area of the common extends to the east of Gunnersbury Ave, including Leopold Road.The western boundary includes The Common and Warwick Dene, with Elm Avenue to the south.  It is c. 47 acres or 19 hectares.​

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