Present Day Developments
Being able to advertise the book on the Ealing Fields Residents Association website yielded many interesting enquiries including people researching their family history. Most astonishing was a lady from Ottawa in Canada, Sue Bellefeuille, who contacted us on behalf of her mother, Joan, to tell us that Joan had lived in Little Boston as a child.
Joan Bellefeuille, now in her eighties, was the daughter of Charles Jackman the builder who had bought Little Boston and developed the site for the present day housing. As the following extracts demonstrate Joan has a remarkable memory of her childhood at Little Boston. She was able to confirm that Little Boston House must have been demolished in about 1930, whereupon her family had moved into the newly built 'Little Boston' (no. 236 Windmill Road). She was brought up in Ealing and attended St Anne's Convent School and Ealing Art School (what is now T.V.U. in St Mary's Road). She met her husband, a Canadian, in the air force during the war and they married in 1943 before moving and settling in Canada in 1946.
Joan Bellefeuille writes:
My memories are those of a child living there. The house had three floors and a basement. The top floor was like an attic and was used as servants' quarters. The second floor had many bedrooms and one very large room which was the ballroom with large windows each of which had a small iron balcony overlooking the garden. Downstairs there was a living room, dining room, morning room and drawing room. The large kitchen was in the basement, also a good sized wine cellar. The kitchen had a big old black stove, large cupboards and an old granite sink with a wooden plate rack over it.
Since this was to be a temporary home for us, we only used the rooms necessary for comfort. The attic and kitchen were not used and a makeshift kitchen was made in the morning room. My two brothers, who were ten and twelve years older than I, swore they could hear footsteps up in the attic at night and were scared that it was a ghost.
The grounds around the house were quite extensive stretching from the Ride along Windmill Road to the sports field and going down the Ride to Boston Manor Road. To one side of the house was a cottage and a carriage house, probably for a groom and gardener. At the back of the house was a large conservatory which produced a beautiful white rose every Christmas. The rest of the garden was much neglected and overgrown but there were the remains of a walled garden used for growing vegetables and fruit. It was fascinating because the fruit trees had been trained with their branches tied to the wall so that the sun could heat the brick and so hasten the ripening of the fruit. In this way even peaches were grown. There were many trees in the garden, one cedar of note was reputed to be 500 years old.
I loved the old house and was very sad when it was pulled down. The row of houses that my father built did not have a name, but were built in two blocks of 4 or 5 along Windmill Road starting from no. 244 and ending at no. 260 where there was a passageway leading to the sports ground (today still a sports ground now belonging Durston House school). Later he built a new 'Little Boston' on the site of the old one (number 236) and we lived in it for about 9 years. He also built another six single houses in the grounds; no.238 next to the 'new' Little Boston then no's 240,242 and 242A set back along a passageway behind Windmill Road and two more in the Ride.
Joan was able to explain the strange configuration of the site with no's 240, 242 and 242A set back on a cul de sac from Windmill Road. Initially Charles Jackman had built tennis courts here on what was the garden of Little Boston House which were used by the Boston Gardens Tennis Club. In the late 1930s the three houses were built over the tennis courts (to which a fourth no. was added in the 1990s).It had been Charles Jackman's intention to build houses on the grounds for all his children when they grew up, but the house intended for the youngest Joan and her husband on a spare site in the Ride ran into planning difficulties with Brentford Council – hence their ultimate decision to move to Canada.
Joan Bellefeuille's memories prompted a particular interest from the Langley family now living in Elers Road Ealing. The Langleys had lived at 240 Windmill Road (one of the set of houses set back from the road) until 1992 and had known Joan's late brother Ron who had lived at no.242. Ron had told them that his father Charles had moved into no.240 in his retirement so it was no surprise when they found a Jackman builders sign in the garden.
They also inherited an old garden bench which moved with them to Elers Road. What was a surprise was to discover that this was the self same bench which Joan Bellefeulle was sitting on in the photo of the garden of Little Boston over 70 years ago – Joan was delighted that the old family bench had given such sterling service over the years.
The discoveries didn't end there. A casual search through unidentified pictures at Ealing Local History Library produced a copy of a picture which, when compared to the only surviving photo looked remarkably like the frontage of Little Boston. The picture had no date and being itself a copy it was difficult to say whether it was a drawing or a painting. The picture was duly sent on to Joan Bellefeuille in Canada as she was probably the only person now who could confirm that this was Little Boston.
Joan was delighted with the discovery and able to confirm that this was indeed Little Boston House remembering the line of the roof, the situation of the chimneys and the eloquent front windows. She recalled that the roof was made of lead and that her father was very pleased about this as it meant he would gain a substantial amount of money for this when it was sold! Joan was doubly pleased to see the picture as she had no illustration of the front of the house and it immediately became a cherished family heirloom.
As to the source and date of the picture Joan was unable to shed any light. However she did remember the house had many trees surrounding it when she had lived there, so it would seem the landscape around the house had changed very little from when the picture was executed until her family came to live there.