Why a return to Ealing Broadway? In my first Ealing Broadway blog, I referenced that the station acts as a terminus for two lines: the Central and the District lines, so this concludes my travels to Ealing. Hard to credit it’s 6 months (almost to the day) from my first visit – so much fun and so many interesting things seen since then.
The station is the same, of course, so a quick pass through, but as I do I take note of an evangelical saying written up on the Tfl update board that displays the current train status. Such boards have become popular across the network providing an opportunity for local staff to humanise the customer experience as you pass through. Today’s quote was from Robert H Schuller, a US televangelist who wrote ‘…Today’s accomplishments were yesterday’s impossibilities…’
I march out of the station careful to follow a different route from my earlier visit.
Town Centre Development
The area around the Town Hall in New Broadway has seen significant redevelopment in recent years, and continues to do so, but some are now close to completion. Adjacent to Christ the Saviour Parish Church stands the newly built Dickens Yard development. A mix of housing and soon to open retail opportunities on the ground floor. In the piazza between the church and this development stands an homage to George Formby in the form of a sculpture by Gordon Young celebrating words from one of his songs sung during a 1940 film produced at Ealing Studios – ‘…Make life go with a swing and a smile, Laugh at trouble and sing all the while, Now count your blessings and smile…’
Close by is the former Fire Station, now repurposed into a smart retail outlet but sympathetically restored, and overlooking New Broadway is the imposing 19th Century Town Hall, a gothic masterpiece. A wander inside reveals intricate architecture and window displays, but alas I’m not allowed to take pictures although I was told a request to the council’s Chief Executive would get me permission – alas too late for my purpose. It turns out the Town Hall is also in line for redevelopment with one wing being turned into a boutique hotel, however there appears to be some residual opposition to this.
Across the road there’s another development branded Filmworks, which will blend historical art deco and contemporary styles into a functional and modern complex. Both this and the Dickens Yard developments have both been built by the Berkley Group under their St George brand.
I turn to head down Barnes Pikle heading for Walpole Park, but stop to consider the place name. Research suggests that Pikle is a derivation of Pightle – a small field or enclosure usually near or surrounding a building (as a house, barn, shed)…the place name made me smile.
An Arboreal Study
Returning into Walpole Park was my aim but the park wasn’t as busy as my first visit in April.
Not surprisingly as although still sunny and bright, the ambient temperature was probably at least ten degrees (celsius) lower, nevertheless, lots of dog walkers, runners and mums with pushchairs about. In fact at one point there was a fitness class being taken by Jo Martin, a fitness instructor, with several new mums in tow. How do I know it was her? Well her t-shirt with her name emblazoned across it was a give away. Looking at her website, I see she specialises in pre and post natal fitness. I left all the ladies to it…
The main tree lined avenue is a pleasant walk and there is evidence of good tree management around as there are two distinct mounds of logs left around as play areas, so I took the opportunity to capture the autumnal colours and leaf fall.
Heading for the southerly exit, I meet Ed, who is perched against a tree and is pencil sketching a tree ahead of him. We chatted for a while and I learn that as a Mancunian he had spent time in Australia, and now enjoys sketching trees and life drawings. He explains he finds a synergy between the two formats as he works to capture how the tree growth and shapes created by trunks and branches symbolise life itself. The work he shows me clearly demonstrates his passion and eye for detail.
Out of Walpole Park and directly across the road into Lammas Park where I try my hand at more tree studies. I’m not sure the pictures I take are in themselves of particular interest but after some post production Google Photo editing, cropping and colour filtering, this might help to bring the form and colour to life. You be the judge.
An Autumnal Walk Through Suburbia
Out of Lammas Park, I reach Northfields; not an intended destination, but the beauty of not having a plan is in itself a plan. That is – to just follow my nose to see where I end up.
Northfields is a small collection of shop , like many in London that have sprung up over the last century or so as suburbia has sprawled out of London to meet the demands of the growing population. Housing is typically London 1930’s terraces constructed from London brick, a colour easily recognisable.
I follow the main road through to South Ealing, a route I could have done on the Piccadilly line, but I walk instead in the anticipation of finding some interesting distractions. The first comes in the guise of St Mary’s C of E Church north of the station. The church’s tower is the first thing I see from a distance, a somewhat imposing bell tower which no doubt helps to draw the congregation together when the bell tolls? The church has an interesting history which can be tracked from the 16th century to date, and outside, the church does much to promote this.
South of the station, I go into South Ealing Cemetery to explore, but I soon realise it’s a 21 acre site so I stop to look at a couple of headstones and feel drawn to one in particular, and to my surprise I find interred therein is a Joshua Thomas. No relative (as far as I know), but it does so happen to be the name of one of my grandfathers. Because of this I take a closer interest and read the following:
- Joshua Thomas aged 75 died 30/12/1868
- Maria Thomas (wife) aged 87 died ??/12/1877
- Elizabeth Jane Thomas (daughter) died 12/12/1905
- Maria Pyne Sharp (eldest daughter) died 04/07/1906
- William Sharp (husband) interred at Southport
Out of interest, I take note of the adjoining gravestone which records the following:
- Marie Louise Kight aged 3 died 20/03/1870
- Mary Louisa Maud Kight aged 3 months died 07/07/1872
- Clara Agnes Kight aged 5 died 24/12/1874
- John Kight (father) aged 74 died 18/03/1906
- Louisa Kight (wife) aged 74 died 06/11/1906
Sad that the children died so young. But maybe a reflection of the squalour and disease associated with the urbanisation that accompanied the industrialisation of England at that time, and no doubt contributed to the Smallpox epidemic of 1871 along with its spread by refugees coming to England to escape the French-Prussian War. God bless the little children!..
I decide to end the day by heading to Acton via Acton Town station, which is only one stop on the tube and walk northerly into the heart of the town along Gunnersbury Lane. It’s a short hop, but along the way I pass the Passmore Edwards Cottage Hospital. Now a nursing and dementia care home, but originally built by John Passmore Edwards, a victorian philanthropist, reported in The Times as someone who “… did more good in his time than almost any other of his contemporaries…”
All in all, another varied and eventful day…
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For more info, look up Ealing Broadway Station on Wikipedia