Sunday, 26 March 2017

Acton Town - Gunnersbury Park

Avenue Crescent
Part of estate laid out by William Willatt in the 1880s.
11 Blue plaque to 19th lawyer, Richard White, co-founder of the Law Society, and creator of the Mill Hill Park estate. The house is the east wing of White’s Mill Hill House.
Mill Hill or Acton Hill House. Richard White bought part of the Lethieullier estate in 1809 and built Mill Hill House. His widow in 1859 sold the estate to the British Land Co, for building. The house remained as a private home until 1885.  Most of the house was pulled down, but the east wing remains

Avenue Gardens
Part of estate laid out by William Willatt in the 1880s said to be “Too near the piggeries for much success”.
Bronze Age crematorium.  This was found in 1883 while excavation work was done for the foundations of houses. Cinerary urns are now in the British Museum. Later there were finds of Roman material.


Bollo Bridge Road
South Acton Methodist Chapel. This was the United Methodist Free church built before 1880. Initially this was an iron church and a new church was built alongside in brick.  It was demolished after 1955.
157 Acton Model Laundry. Present in the 1930s ‘soft water and best soap only’.
Elite Laundry. Dating from the 1890s with frontages in both Osborne and Bollo Bridge roads.
170 The Anchor Pub. Dated from the 1870s. Now demolished.
204 Victory Pub. This dated from the 1870s. Now demolished.

Bollo Lane,
Bollo Lane is along the line of Bollo Brook. The Brook rises near Ealing Common tube station and follows the District Line to Acton Town Station and from there follows Bollo Lane. The Brook, and thus the Lane, marks the boundary between the boroughs of Ealing & Hounslow.
Railway- Bollo Lane runs parallel with the District and Piccadilly Lines for about half a mile,
229 Royal Mail Acton Delivery Office. Large square building with a chimney. Looks 1960s
Frank Pick House. This  is a very large bright blue building now in use by Tube Lines. It is named after Frank Pick, the London Passenger Transport Board's chief executive and is used by engineering and scientific departments for London Underground. Also Escalator services and Mechanical Services
130 Acton Works.  In 1921 a central overhaul work was opened on a site south of Acton Town Station and later the overhaul of all London Underground’s fleet was undertaken here. It became the central overhaul and engineering works for the London Underground. Experimental work was also done here and test trains were run on adjacent Piccadilly Line tracks.  In the Second World War tanks and other vehicles were prepared for landings in the invasion of Europe. In 2002 the engineering works were sold off to TubeLines.
Acton Works - Canteen from 1921,  now used as offices and originally featured a plaque of a pie and knife and fork by Eric Aumonier
Acton Works Office block - a brick modern movement office block by Holden built in 1932. Signal House is the Main Office Block which was used by the  Chief Mechanical Engineer (Rail) until 1994; and then the Signalling & Engineering Contractors 1995-to the  present. It was empty from late 1994 to early 1995 when it became known as Signal House and a refreshment/mess area was created in it soon after.  
Acton Works Railway Engineering Workshop and loading bay opened 1988 as the Engineering Overhaul Workshop built on the site of a previous Overhauls Workshop, the Lifting Shop and Trimming Shop all dating  from 1921. The Signal Overhaul Shop amalgamated with it in 1993 to become, the Railway Engineering Workshop. Flammable Material Store – this opened in 1921 and remains.
Acton Works. Other buildings dating from  1921 include the Motor Shop and Secure Vending Store which became the Motor Shop and  Taping Room in 1987 and the Signal Training School since 1999;  the Emergency & Custody Stores which has been the Experimental & Plant Shop since 1946 and the Plant Store since 1987; the Seat Trim Shop which has been a Store since 1946; the Emergency Response Unit and Seat Trim Shop was the Reconstruction Shop in the 1940's and  Experimental & Plant Shops in 1987;  the Nursery (Vegetation Control Section) ; the Ex Truck Shop Workshop & Store and Train Modification Unit which was the Wheel, Truck Smith Shops; Carbody Shops A&B; Paint Shop in 1987; the Spaceway Building, Plant Technical Office ; the Ex-Wood Store, barn & Vending Store which was the Timber & Pattern Stores in 1987; the Ex-Heavy Repair Shop which was the Heavy Repair Shop & Woodmill in 1987; the Signal & Electrical Main Training Building; London Underground Ltd Facilities Furniture Store  which was the Toolroom,Machine Shop & Escalator Chain overhaul area in 1987 and then the Signals & Engineering Training from 1993 until 1999;. 1921 buildings also include Old Office Block, Prestco Building - S&E Work Training, Ex-Boiler House, Ex- Surgery & Oil Store, Distribution Services Manager, Quality Hut, Clothing Unit, Rolling Stock Maintenance, Training Hut -Greenwich Building,  Stonecraft Building, Electronic Development, Inspector's Cabins, Railway Engineering, Workshop Oil Store,Garages. Later buildings include the 1960s Signal & Electrical Safety Training Centre which has been the Electronics Shop since 1987 and the original Apprentice Training Centre, dating from 1958
270 Bollo House which is the Piccadilly Line West End Operating Centre opened in 1996. It is partly on the site of the Signal Engineering  Offices built in 1965 and closed because of presence of asbestos.
Branch line to South Acton. The branch crossed over the lane in an easterly direction by the entrance to the old London Transport Acton Works, on a girder bridge. This collapsed during demolition in 1946.  The abutments of the bridge are apparently still there on the west side of the road. This was the District Railway’s South Acton Branch which in originated in 1878 and was built in 1898 from Bollo Lane Junction to South Acton Station. It appears to have been used for coal and building materials  but a passenger service started in 1905. Originally single track it was doubled in 1905 and provided with a signal box – from which tickets were later sold. Freight traffic ceased in 1914 and the passenger service became a shuttle . By 1932 it was back to a single track and the signal box was demolished in 1934. It was said that the staff could start to make a cup of tea leaving South Acton, and drink finish it when they returned. It closed in 1959.
Level Crossing of the Public Highway with Manned Barriers and CCTV Monitored

Boddington Gardens
Previously called Gunnersbury Gardens
Liverpool Victoria Sports Ground . This sports ground which once belonged to the insurance company  has a full 11 a side astroturf pitch. This was locked up for several years by Taylor Wimpey  but was recently reopened back up to the public. A number of clubs use the site including Old Actonians and some youth teams
Pavilion. Recent new pavilion with extensive changing facilities together wth a social room and kitchen and for the Old Actonians Sports Club.

Castle Road
South Acton Children’s Centre
Berrymead Infant School

Colville Road
The road is entirely industrial units but up until the 1980s it was residential.
Berendsen. This was previously The Davis Group and is a a European textile service business. Sophus Berendsen had textile service operations in Scandinavia, The Netherlands, Germany and Poland. These were combined with the UK Sunlight and Spring Grove brands.
Stoneworks. Bespoke natural stone contractor
18 Pai Skincare – they make skin care products and were started by Sarah who understands sensitive skin.
Boss Printers. Described as Printsmiths – doing brochures, etc
18 Cumberland and King. Regent joinery works
Chris James. Colour filter works. Specialising in colour correction
Rivermeade Signs. A works founded in the 1980s with another factory in Newcastle. They make high quality sign products with a range of digital signs
PJ print. Greeting card printer founded in the 1980s
The Sofa and Chair Company. Furniture manufacturers
Brunner Machine Tools. Supply Swiss and German machine tools.
Film and Photo Ltd. One-Stop Laboratory'for motion picture film printing and processing services
Mcdonald Roofing Centre. Roofing contractors founded in 1973

Enfield Road
Albion Works, Townend & Co. Laundry Engineers in 1913. Colour Sprayers in 1919. The works is on the corner with Bollo Lane and later known as Enfield Works
Direct Mineral Water Supply, 1920s
Henderson Engineering. 1959

Greenock Road
3 Paragon Business Solutions. They date from the early 1990s and sell proprietary in-house scorecard development tools
6 Bell Percussion, musical instrument hire company
6 Bell West Studios – studio space for hire
Durable House. Construction Company
Trust Towers. Studios
7 Treats. Snack/sandwich bar chain in London established in 197

Gunnersbury Avenue
This is a stretch of the North Circular Road, the A406. Originally this was part of the North Orbital road of 1922, A405  now changed to be part of the Noh Circular

Gunnersbury Lane
Acton Hospital. In 1897 an Appeal was launched to establish a hospital in Acton to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. John Passmore Edwards, the philanthropists  promised money if to someone gave the land – and this was given by the Rothschilds.The Passmore Edward Cottage Hospital opened in 1898 by Mrs Creighton, first President of the National Union of Women Workers, plus her husband, the Bishop of London. The Hospital was supported by voluntary subscriptions and donations and local GPs gave their services free.There were also two Queen's Nurses who provided care for patients in their homes, and an Invalid Kitchen which would deliver to out patients. Later there was an outpatients, a Committee Room and a telephone line to the doctors – and in 1909 and operating theatre and children’s ward. In 1915 it was renamed Acton Hospital and the Committee Room became a ward for servicemen. After the Great War an appeal raised money for a War Memorial wing, opened in 1923. It was renamed the Acton War Memorial Hospital and continued to expand. In the Second World War it became part of the Emergency Medical Scheme and a Decontamination Unut was built which later became the Casualty Department. It joined the NHS in 1948. In 1979, it became a geriatric hospital and the operating theatre was converted into a Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Department. In 1980 the Casualty Department became the Gunnersbury Unit, for the elderly mentally ill. The Hospital finally closed in 2001. The central building is  a multi-faith centre, with signage and the foundation stone still in place. The rest has been replaced by the Acton Care Centre, which in 2003 for care of the elderly. A Passmore Edwards Memorial Garden was created in 2011 where stonework from the War Memorial Wing is preserved
61 Mill Hill Hotel. Also called Mill Hill Tavern. This pub was closed in 2013. It dated from at least the mid-1860s
Acton High School. The school first opened as Acton County School in 1906 in Woodlands Park. The school was rebuilt in 1939, presumably in Gunnersbury Lane  In the 1940s 80 girls were admitted, it later became a comprehensive school and was named Reynolds High School. Falling rolls led to closure in 1984 and a merger with Faraday High School to reopen as Acton High School. The current building opened in 2006, and Sixth Form buildings in 2012.
Reynolds Sports Centre. This sports centre is part of the school site and open to the public after school hours.
Heathfield Gardens Open Space. This area which as a public park is now included in the school site in front of the sports centre
Heathfield Lodge. Built around 1800 and later owned by the Rothschilds.
123 London Underground Apprentice Training Centre  which opened in 1975 . By the 1990's that had become the Engineering Training Centre; and Safety & Engineering Training Centre. Piccadilly line trains were kept here until 1964. At the same time, the District line ceased stabling at Northfields. There is a separate yard to the north-east corner of the depot which is now used by the London Transport Museum Depot.
Bollo Bridge. The bridge itself would have been to the immediate north of the station and can be seen on 19th maps with a series of fish ponds along the line of the brook on both sides of Bollo Bridge Road.
Railway Automatic Electric Light works . Present in the 1890s on the corner with Bollo Lane
Acton Town Station. This opened in 1879 and lies between Turnham Green and South Ealing Stations  and also Ealing Common Station on the Piccadilly Line. It is also between Chiswick Park and Ealing Common Stations on the District Line. It was built by the Hounslow and  Metropolitan District Railway and originally called ‘Mill Hill Park’.  Like other stations on this line it was in grey stock brick by J.Wolfe Barry . There was also a stationmaster’s house. In 1910 the name was changed to ‘Acton Town’ and the station was rebuilt  by H.W.Ford with a building over the line and shops either side of the e entrance.  In the 1930s the station was rebuilt again, this time by Heaps working with Charles Holden in a modern style using brick, reinforced concrete and glass. Reinforced concrete platform canopies replaced the original timber.  The entrance hall was lined with quarry tiles and gangways designed to separate passengers who were entering or leaving. However the old branch platform and stairways remain.
Gunnersbury Lodge. This was originally a farm from the 18th which became a gentleman’s house with some illustrious residents. 19th maps show a  lake adjacent to the hosue with a boat house. More ponds are shown to the north
The Old Manor House

Gunnersbury Park
Gunnersbury Park. (this square covers only a portion of the park in its north east corner)  The name comes from Gunylda, the niece of King Canute who lived there until 1044. The manor was later owned by the Bishop of London and occupied by a series of prominent family, many state legal officers. Sir John Maynard built a Palladian mansion here in the mid 17th. The park became an 18th formal garden, altered mid 18th with some involvement from William Kent.  In 1760 George II’s daughter Amelia bought Gunnersbury House as a country summer retreat. She landscaped the park in the 18th landscape style. After her death the estate passed through a number of owners until 1801 when  John Morley, a manufacturer of floor coverings, demolish the old house and sold the land off as thirteen separate plots for development. Twelve plots were bought by Alexander Copland who built the Large Mansion, with its grounds, as Gunnersbury Park. One plot was sold separately and the Small Mansion was built nearby Stephen Cossor and it was known as Gunnersbury House. In 1835 Nathan Mayer Rothschild purchased the Large Mansion and park. The Small Mansion and its grounds were also acquired in 1889 by the Leopold Rothschild. In 1925, following Leopold’s death, the estate was sold to Brentford. Ealing and Acton Councils and was opened as a park..
The Large Mansion. This was built as a  country house 1801-28 built for Alexander Copland and remodelled in 1836 by Sydney Smirke for Nathan Rothschild. The building houses the local history museum for the boroughs of Hounslow and Ealing. Repairs were carried out in 2012 and the building is now weathertight.. The Museum is temporarily closed in 2017. It opened in 1929 and uses the grand staterooms for displays.
The Small Mansion.  This was there around 1806-9. It is a long, rectangular building in the neo-classical style, with a ow of cast iron bells decorating the South front. In 1899 it was bought by Leopold de Rothschild, who knocked down the dividing wall – although a line of trees still marks the division.. The Rothschilds then used the Small Mansion as spare rooms for their guests, including Edward Vll. It has been used as an art gallery and is now under consideration for renovation as a private school.
East Lodge. Entrance lodge built 1837. All that remains are small sections of south west elevations but these have been stabilized. It was built by William Fuller Pocock for Thomas Farmer in 1837 for the Small Mansion after the estate was divided.
Archway to East Entrance. This is a stucco pedimented archway built around 1837.  In disrepair
Princess Amelia's Bath House. This is part of an early 19th arcade with other late 18th gothic outbuildings. It has four arches and a battlemented top. The outbuildings include a grotto shelter, and a room known as Princess Amelia's Bath House - - or is it a diary, or a cottage or a chapel.  This is at the east end of the small mansion. There are is imitation rock surfaces and a semi-octagonal shelter with a central doorway and side windows. It was damaged by a Second World War fire.
Stables built by Rothschild. 19th stables  possibly incorporating earlier structure. Over the centre parapet are the carved Portland stone Rothschild arms. There are East and West blocks.
Horseshoe Pond.  A depression in the lawn marks the site of the pond. This was directly below the original mansion. When the estate was divided the lake was split in two but was remained in water until the late 20th when it dried out. At what was the east end is a brick sham bridge, and at what was the west end is a 20th rock garden.
Orangery. Architect: Sydney Smirke, 1836.  This was built to overlook the Horseshoe Pond. It is glazed with a central semicircular bay.
Gothic ruins.  These the brick-built ruins were made for the Rothschild family in the mid 19th.
Boundary wall along Gunnersbury Lane. This is listed.
Garden screen. Erected by Thomas Farmer with with niches and drain pipes to hide Rothschild's stables
Lampposts. Six lamp standards for 19th gas lamps. These are on the curving approach road to the mansions from the West Lodge (the lodge is in the square to the west).
Japanese Garden. This was created in 1901 designed by James Hudson, gardener to Leopold Rothschild after Japanese models
Archway. This is 18th and south west of the house near the terrace. .It is made from cement-rendered brickwork

Hanbury Road
7 Bollo Bridge Tavern. Dating from the 1890s this has since been demolished.  In the 1940s it was a house for the ‘Pioneer Catering Co.’ which was a subsidiary of Ind Coope.

Museum Way
This private road goes to what is now the London Transport Museum Depot.
118-120 London Transport Museum. . This is the reserve collection of historic rail and road vehicles. It opened in 1999 and has the majority of collections which are not on display in the main museum in Covent Garden and for items too large to be accommodated there.
Acton Miniature Railway. 
Site of miniature rifle range

Osborne Road
Oak Tree Community Centre, Catering for a wide range of organisations
Berrymede Schools. Berrymede school is on a number of sites in the immediate vicinity. The Junior School is in a building which has been here since the early 1900s; South Acton School was the first school to be opened by Acton School Board in 1880 on the south side Osborne Road. The original building was enlarged in 1897 and 1898 and after 1905 it was renamed South Acton Girls and Infants. On the north side of the road South Acton School opened in 1904  taking pupils and staff from All Saints' School. A manual centre stood in the grounds. The schools were reorganised in 1931 as Berrymede Junior School and later Berrymede Junior Boys and later amalgamated with Berrymede Junior Girls. Berrymede Middle School opened here in 1931 in the upper floor of the building. In 1961 they became part of Berrymede Junior Mixed and as the Middle School occupied both buildings in Osborne Road from 1974.
83 Crown Pub. This later became the Osborne Hotel, and a B&B. It dated from the 1890s.
30 George Forrest and Son, Ltd., electrical engineers and contractors; 1950s
Mission church from All Saints. 1890s

Roslin Road
This road was residential until the 1960s, it is now trading and light industrial units
Learning Curve. This is (or was) a centre for disabled people teaching essential skills, from maths to cooking, five days a week and provides paid work experience. It dates from the 1980s,
Blissets. Bookbinding firm and Royal Warrant holders/ printers. The company was established in 1920 by Frederick Blissett and now run by his son and grandson. They are the largest specialist bookbinder in the south of England.

Stirling Road
This road was residential until the 1960s, it is now trading and light industrial units
Stirling Road Centre. This provides activities, training and a meeting place for those with severe learning disabilities.  It dates from the 1980s.
Mayfair Laundry. The company moved there in 1970s. It has since been dissolved
London Fan Company. This is owned by the Webber family and was set up in 1928. They made industrial propeller fans and electric motors as ‘Breeza Fans’ and were based in central London. In the Second World War the company made hand-driven ventilators for tanks and air-raid shelters but were bombed out in 1943. The machines were dug out of the rubble and moved in order to maintain production for the Air Ministry. They moved to Stirling Road in 1965. They then made a wide range of ventilating equipment and industrial fans and the name changed to The London Fan Company Ltd. The company is now managed by the grandson of the original Mr. Webber.
N & P Thermo Plastic Moulders. This firm dates from the 1980s and have a wide range of modern micro-processor controlled Injection Moulding Machines specialising in domestic appliances, lighting and motor industry,
The Stone and Ceramic Warehouse. This dates from the 1960s as an importer, distributor and retailer of sophisticated natural and ceramic wall and floor coverings. They once sold 40% stone and 60% porcelain, now it's 20% stone, 75% porcelain and 5% mosaics.
Acton Waste and Recycling Centre. This is operated by Ealing Council.
Creative Staging. Rental company for audio visual equipment.
Science Projects. A non-profit organisation bringing science to the public

Triangle Way
A roadway round the back of suburban houses enclosing a tennis club - Gunnersbury Triangle Club. Baron Rothschild owned, and occupied Gunnersbury Park until 1926 when passed to a Joint Committee of the Acton, Brentford and Chiswick and Ealing Borough Councils. At the same time Baron Rothschild also sold George Cooper, to a builder an area of land adjoining the Park.  Cooper built 400 houses here. The shape of this land was triangular and the houses estate followed. This left a piece of land at the centre which Mr Cooper gave to the residents of the estate for leisure purposes. So in 1928 the Club was set up.
Gunnersbury Triangle Club 

Sources
Acton High School Web site
Barker and Robbins. A History of London Transport
Barton. Lost Rivers of London
Bell Percussion. Web site
Berendsen. Web site
Berrymede Schools. Web site.
Boss Printers. Web site
British History Online. Acton. Web site.
Brunner Machine Tools. Web site.
Chris James. Web site
Clunn. The Face of London
Day. London Underground
Diamond Geezer. Blog
Ealing Hammersmith and West London College. Web site
Film and Photo Ltd. Web site
Gunnersbury Lodge. The lost house of west London. Web site
Gunnersbury Triangle Club. Web site
Harper Smith. Soapsud Island 
Historic England. Web site
Horne. The Piccadilly tube
Howson. London Underground
Jackson. London’s Local Railways
Kingston Zodiac 
Knights. History of Electricity in Acton 
London Borough of Ealing. Web site
London Borough of Hounslow. Web site
London Encyclopedia
London Fan Company. Web site
Lost Pubs Project. Web site
London Railway Record
Lost Hospitals of London. Web site
Mcdonald Roofing Centre. Web site
Middlesex Parish Churches
N & P. Moulders. Web site
Oates. Acton in History
Paragon Business Solutions. Web site
Pai Skincare. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. North West London
PJ Print. Web site
Pub History. Web site
Rivermeade Signs. Web site
SABRE. Web site
Stevenson. Middlesex
Stoneworks. Web site
The Sofa and Chair Company. Web site
The Stone and Ceramic Warehouse. Web site
Transport for London. Web site
Walford. Village London
Wheatley and Meulenkamp. Follies
Wikipedia.Web site. As appropriate

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