Memories of Little Ealing

Following the publication of "Little Ealing a walk through history" we received letters from several former residents of the area describing their recollections when growing-up in Little Ealing. On the following pages we show extracts from some of the letters.

Growing-up in Murray Road

Mrs Cantwell, now living in Dublin, grew up in the Little Ealing area. When she saw a copy of our book she wrote with some memories of her childhood.

I grew up in Murray Road, born in 1936 in Clayponds Hospital near the Great West Road. My grandparents Mr and Mrs Charles Collis had moved to no. 75 Murray Road in 1912 and so my mother grew up in Murray Road also.

I was evacuated with my mother in September 1939 to Tring, with a lot of other Ealing people, but most of us returned before Christmas, and lived out the War in Ealing. My sister was born in Murray Road in 1942 (luckily no air-raids that day). I was at Little Ealing Infant and Junior Schools during the War and reading the 1944 extract of the School Log Book reminded me of the time when we kept going to the shelters with alerts, and all-clear delayed for hours on that day.

We had a great street party in Murray Road on VE day, and the "grown ups" danced to the late-night dance music from the BBC from two radios put side-by-side for volume.
After the street party we had a Magic Show and a Punch and Judy show, plus the bonfire was marvellous for the children. We didn't remember them before the war. We collected everyones old furniture to burn.

The shops mentioned in Junction Road were run by:
Mr Esling - Baker
Mr Pether - Butcher
Tom Studd - Greengrocer
Mr Rooke - 1st grocer
Mr Green - 2nd grocer, corner of Junction Road and 57 Murray Road
Mr Vinni Combe - Stationer and newsagent

Essling, Carlyle Road, from Kelly's Middlesex Directory, 1937Essling, Carlyle Road, from Kelly's Middlesex Directory, 1937

Also on the corner of Ealing Park Gardens and Junction Road was "Madams" - a laundry agents and tobacconist shop. Madam was really Madame - a Belgian bride brought back by a local soldier after the First World War. After he died she lived for years working in the shop, speaking in her broken English. Very nice person.

Incidentally my grandmother Mrs Collis worked for years in the Ealing Steam Laundry pictured in your book. My Uncle worked in the foundry in Junction Road, and opposite was the fish and chip shop run by Mr and Mrs Jackson - Lancashire people who spoke like Gracie Fields!

Ealing Steam Laundry, from Kelly's Middlesex Directory, 1937Ealing Steam Laundry, from Kelly's Middlesex Directory, 1937

"Dan's" sweet shop was next to the fish shop and then the church entrance to the Mission Hall, which had another entrace around the corner in Carlyle Road. We went to Sunday School there.
The streets had gas lights, but officially "Black Out".

My mother bought her coal from the South Ealing Coal Co. pictured in your book, around the corner in Carlyle Road.

I had four aunts and uncles in Murray Road houses, an aunt & uncle in Carlyle Road, and another in Junction Road.

Every picture in your book brought back memories. By the way, I can remember the railings being removed from Murray Road to be melted down for the war effort, and I remember the air-raid shelters being built.

One day my mother took me along the Great West Road, 1940, and we saw the camouflage being painted onto the lovely 1920s-1930s factory buildings. Green, brown and black paint so that from the air the Great West Road might look invisible, otherwise the white buildings would be a landmark.

Jean Foreham, now living in Wales, also wrote to us.

I was born at 46 Murray Rd in Jan 1951, my name was Byham, my parents Dennis and Kathleen. We lived there until 1961/62 when my parents, brother and I moved to Essex. I attended Little Ealing Junior School.

My grandmother, Ada Smith, a widow since 1954, lived in North Rd, not far from us. The houses in North Rd were pulled down many years ago. Both my grandmother and grandfather are buried in Ealing Cemetery.

I remember the public baths at the end of Murray Rd simply because we, as a family used them. We did not have a bathroom at 46 so a tin bath was used once a week until the public baths were built. Presumably all the houses have  been redesigned with a modern bathroom now, not such good old days when I was growing up but we knew no different. I can remember to this day taking my toiletries and a towel to the baths each week.

Childhood in Little Ealing

Mrs Pat Bailey wrote with some memories of her childhood.

We all grew up in Murray Road - I was born in May 1939, when the war started I was just a couple of months old. My brother was 7 years older than me and went to Little Ealing School. We were evacuated with our mother down to the West Country to get away from the bombings but my mother didn't like it so we returned. My brother and another boy went to Derby and I joined them when I was about three and returned when I was six. I started school in Derby and then went to Little Ealing for a year when I returned, until a place could be found for me at St.Anne's Convent in Little Ealing Lane. I was there from age 7/8 years until I was 15.

I knew most of the history of the convent but you have much more detail than I knew and it is so interesting.

I lived in Murray Road until I was 21 and moved to Hanworth when I got married. Have lived in this house on Hounslow/Whitton borders for 37 years.

She had some wonderful stories to tell about the area, so did my mother who died nine years ago at the age of 84. she always told me about the fields and country lanes up to Boston Manor through the Ride, and Northfields - just like the description on pages 6 and 7.

Chris Hazell, now living in Devon, also wrote.

I was born on 5 November 1944, apparently in the middle of an air raid, and put under the bed for safety. I lived at 11 Bramley Road until 1958 when we moved to Buckinghamshire. I attended Little Ealing Primary School, and then Walpole Grammar School.

Numbers 9 and 11 did in fact have a Bramley apple tree in the garden, and I have always thought that the houses may have been built on the site of an orchard.

Bramley Road was a very peaceful place in those times. Very few people in the street owned cars. My dad was a mechanic at Perivale Motors, and so we were the exception.The road was however very dangerous, as the crossroads near us had no road markings whatsoever, and there were some serious accidents there. One particular hazard was the laundry vans driven at high speed up and down the road by Teddy Boys.

My childhood was spent in the parks, or playing on the street, using the 'rat runs' created by the maze of alleyways, which we of course knew like the backs of our hands.