Ealing Town Hall
Ealing's Town Hall is a distinctive late-Victorian gothic building on Ealing Broadway, which is still being used for its original purposes. However, few people know much about its history.
The task of building the new town hall began in 1886 when the old town hall became too small for the prospering and populous suburb of Ealing. A new, more impressive town hall was also seen as a status symbol for the borough.
Charles Jones, the council's surveyor, negotiated the sale of the land on Uxbridge Road on which the town hall now stands. The owners were the Wood family, Ealing's major landowners. There had previously been a falling out between the Wood family and the council, and as a conciliatory gesture the Woods sold the land for £500, a fraction of its true value.
Jones designed the town hall in 1888 with similar materials and in a similar style to the previous town hall. However, the new building was considerably more ambitious than its predecessor.
The town hall cost £16,000 to build, but has stood the test of time and proved a valuable investment.
One feature of the town hall was Victoria Hall (named to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887), which was designed to accommodate the various clubs and societies that existed in Ealing. This hall was paid for by the subscriptions of local people. Chief among these were Baron Rothschild and Sir Edward Montagu-Nelson (after whom the Nelson Room is named), each contributing £500.
Also housed in the town hall was a public library, swimming baths. There was also a fire station in the complex behind the building.
Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) opened the town hall on 15 December 1888. Jones recalled that the occasion was 'a red letter day for Ealing'.
During the First World War, a tank was parked outside the town hall in order to help promote voluntary contributions towards the war effort. War came closer to Ealing Town Hall in 1940 when a wall was built around it to protect it during the blitz, though unlike some prominent buildings in the borough, it survived relatively unscathed.
When further office space was needed in the 1980s, it was decided not to expand the existing building or to sell it, but simply transfer most of the offices to the new building (now known as Perceval House).
We would like to thank Dr Jonathan Oates, borough archivist and local history librarian, for the use of his information.