Area history

The London borough of Ealing was once forest and countryside.

There is evidence of Stone Age people yet not in settlements. Fixed settlements started from 410 to 1066AD the Anglo-Saxon period. The county of Middlesex coming into existence in the sixth and seventh centuries.

The Domesday Book, in 1086 has evidence for the manors of Greenford and Hanwell.

Later in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries local governments created the parish's.

Ealing, Hanwell, Acton and Southall all lay on the main road from London to Oxford. Greenford, Perivale and Northolt, were rather off the beaten track. They were small villages until after the First World War.  But even Ealing was small, with only 428 residents in 1598.

Life for most people revolved around agriculture. There were also a few craftsmen and traders, but little industry.

In 1838 the railways arrived. Yet having small initial impact, as the small villages grew into small towns. The population starting to increase. At the end of the eighteenth century the Grand Junction Canal was dug. It sat through Southall, Greenford and Perivale.

Ealing, became a borough in 1901 (the first in Middlesex). Greenford, Perivale and Northolt remained small agriculture villages. Less than 100 people lived in Perivale in 1901.

By the end of the nineteenth century, transport improved. Introduced, trams, buses and trains had made access to and from central London easier. Many residents worked in central London, travelling there and back each day. The town of Ealing became a desirable residential centre. Acton and Southall became hives of large-scale industry.

In 1926, Hanwell, Greenford and Perivale became incorporated into Ealing. Northolt later joining in 1928. Acton and Southall became boroughs in their own right in 1921 and 1936.

Industry grew in the 1920s and 1930s in Greenford and Perivale. Leading to the building of Western Avenue in the 1930s. Acton and Southall later becoming larger industries areas.

East London had the worst of the bombing in the Second World War and Ealing less so. Yet, after the War, Ealing and Northolt's remaining rural areas had new council houses built.

Windrush arrival

Many Caribbean people came to the Ealing borough encouraged by the government. They were to help rebuild the country after the Second World War. Some in the borough refused housing and jobs.

In the 1960s, further large-scale immigration occurred. People arrived from India, Pakistan, Poland, and many other countries.

In 1965, Ealing, Acton and Southall boroughs combined. The new local authority of the London borough of Ealing coming into existence.

For more information, please contact the county historian, Dr. Jonathan Oakes:

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