An American President in Ealing

Between 1815 and 1817 Ealing had a perhaps surprising resident. John Quincy Adams, later to become the 6th President of the United States, was appointed US representative in Great Britain and came to live with his family at Little Boston House in Windmill Road on the border of Ealing and Brentford in West London.

Throughout his time there Adams kept a detailed diary recording not only his daily life but his impressions of all aspects of Ealing life and society at the time. These range from the local aristocracy to penniless vagrants, from entertainments such as a grand cricket party at Gunnersbury Park and a ball at the New Inn in Ealing Village to rough and rowdy local fairs and pony races, from religious observance to education, and the many health issues that afflicted both the family and their neighbours.

It provides a fascinating insight into the life of the area in the early nineteenth century.

A 96-page book written and compiled by Duncan Cameron, Andrew Dick, Paul Fitzmaurice, Helen Johnson, Rosmarie Matter, Joyce Mistry, Rita Smith and Mary Woods.

Published by Little Ealing History Group, September 2014.

ISBN 9780992767907


“An extraordinarily rich tapestry, weaving together international relations, diplomacy, economics, social and local history, and the human story of John Quincy Adams and his family. But the golden thread running through the whole book is a deep knowledge and love of what life was like in Ealing and its sister villages in the first decades of the 19th century. Beautifully written and carefully crafted, this little historical gem is a must read”.
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Chair Pitzhanger Manor Trust, former British Ambassador to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
“An American President in Ealing is attractively produced and well illustrated, well set out, reads well and reproduces a great deal of valuable material which will be new to many”.
Dr Jonathan Oates, Ealing Borough Archivist and Local History Librarian.
“This readable and attractively-designed little book reveals one of those social networks which makes sense of the life of a parish in the past. Here John Quincy Adams turns his outsider's eye onto the place to which he had come to live, recording details about the members of his circle as well as his family. And he offers an affectionate glimpse of the way lives of the wealthy families of the neighbourhood (including the owners of the two new mansions at Gunnersbury) who welcomed him and his family”.
Val Bott MBE, curator and historian, who runs


  • Illustrations
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 John Quincy Adams: his life and career
  • Chapter 2 The man, his character and family life
  • Chapter 3 Ealing in 1815
  • Chapter 4 Little Boston House
  • Chapter 5 Ealing society
  • Chapter 6 Ealing life
  • Chapter 7 Education and Great Ealing School
  • Chapter 8 Church and religion
  • Chapter 9 Social conditions
  • Chapter 10 Walking the area
  • Chapter 11 Sickness and health
  • Chapter 12 Farewell
  • Postscript – Life after Ealing
  • References and further reading
  • Index

Sample pages

To get a flavour of the book you can download two pages from Chapter 7, Education and Great Ealing School as a pdf file.

The Spring 2015 issue of Around Ealing included an article about Adams' time in Ealing, written by Mary Woods.

Purchasing the book

The book is available at £10.00 from:

The book is also available by mail-order at £10.00 with free delivery within the UK, and £18.00 for USA. To pay through PayPal using a credit or debit card please click the button below (you do not need to have a PayPal account).

Delivery destination

You can also order by post. Please send your cheque made payable to 'Duncan Cameron' to: Duncan Cameron, 8 Bramley Road, Ealing, London W5 4SS.

Please contact us if you want to order more than one copy so that we can calculate the delivery charge.