Spotlight on Ealing
Ealing, queen of suburbs, continues her reign over west London and as you roam the leafy streets you can see why. The large, red-brick five- and six-bedroom Victorian and Edwardian detached family houses count among the finest in the capital.
Matthew Gilbert from estate agents Hamptons recently sold Ealing’s most expensive house, a 5,000 sq ft mansion on Blakesley Avenue for £3.19 million. This is a lovely family area with good schools and — with Crossrail on the horizon — the excellent transport links are about to get even better.
In the 18th century Ealing became a retreat for wealthy Londoners, and in the early years of the 19th century architect Sir John Soane bought and rebuilt Pitzhanger Manor as a place to entertain his friends. This intriguing house sits behind Ealing’s main shopping street, the Broadway, and is a popular local wedding venue and art gallery.
In the Forties and Fifties, the film studios on Ealing Green became famous for “Ealing comedies” such as The Ladykillers and The Lavender Hill Mob. The Ealing Studios are the world’s oldest working film studios. They were rescued by a consortium led by the Manhattan Loft Corporation and are once again home to major TV and film productions including the St Trinian’s film franchise and Downton Abbey.
Property for sale in Ealing: as well as a plentiful supply of large detached Victorian and Edwardian houses, there are semi-detached and terrace houses and self-contained maisonettes from the same era.
Later houses are found on the Haymills and Hanger Hill estates. Large detached houses start at about £1.5 million, while a three-bedroom terrace house in South Ealing or Northfields sells for up to £600,000. A four-bedroom terrace house is £650,000-plus and a two-bedroom self-contained maisonette is around £350,000.
The area attracts: Matthew Gilbert says families move to Ealing because they get more for their money than in nearby Chiswick. There are also smaller neighbourhoods such as Northfields in the south and Pitshanger in the north which have their own “village” feel.
Both areas have their own high street with independent shops and cafés, making them popular with young families. The Brentham estate in Pitshanger is a small garden suburb with a strong community spirit.
Staying power: Ealing has long-standing Irish and Polish communities and many families have lived in the area for several generations.
Renting: Michael Quinn, Hampton’s rental manager, says Ealing has recently seen the return of corporate rentals, with companies such as GSK among the clients.
Postcodes: the Ealing postcode is the desirable W5, although parts fall into the less desirable W13.
Best roads: south of the Uxbridge Road the best roads are Culmington Road and Mattock Lane. North of the Uxbridge Road people aspire to Blakesley Avenue and the roads around Mount Park Road.
What’s new: Dickens Yard (020 8568 1100) is the largest development of new homes ever seen in Ealing. St George is building nearly 700 studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom flats and penthouses — of which 10 per cent will be discounted for first-time buyers — on the site of an old builders yard on The Broadway. The second phase in the first Skyline block has one-bedroom flats from £329,000 and two-bedroom flats at £489,950. The scheme completes in 2018 and will include public squares, shops, cafés and restaurants.
Developer Redrow is selling the Walpole Collection (020 3302 3362) in Mattock Lane. Four refurbished six-bedroom double-fronted Edwardian houses cost from £2 million, and two modern-style five- bedroom villas start from £1.99 million.
Up and coming: West Ealing, where it merges with Hanwell, is an undervalued pocket.
Schools: there is a good choice of state and private schools. Many state primary schools are judged “good” by education watchdog Ofsted, while Christ the Saviour and Montpelier are “outstanding”. Twyford CofE (co-ed ages 11 to 18) and Drayton Manor (co-ed ages 11 to 18), both comprehensives, are also “outstanding”.
In the private sector La Chouette (co-ed ages three to six) is the local pre-prep; Durston House (ages five to 12) is a boys-only prep school; The Falcons School (ages two to 12) is a girls-only prep school; Clifton Lodge (ages three to 13), Avenue House (ages three to 11) and Aston House (ages five to 10) are all co-educational.
There are also a number of all-through private girls schools: Havington (girls ages three to 16), Notting Hill and Ealing High (girls ages four to 18), St Augustine’s Priory (girls ages four to 18, with boys in the nursery). St Benedict’s (co-ed ages three to 18) was until recently linked to Ealing Abbey where a priest was jailed for child abuse in 2009. Ealing Independent College (co-ed ages 14 to 18) is a sixth-form college.
Shops and restaurants: Ealing Broadway is a major shopping street but the town centre has struggled since the advent of Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush. The Broadway centre has an M&S, H&M and Primark.
The run-down Arcadia centre has recently changed hands and locals are noticing a few green shoots of recovery with the arrival of chains such as Pret A Manger and Carluccio’s, new noodle bars and upmarket fish and chip shop Kerbisher & Malt.
Charlotte’s Place, overlooking Ealing Common, and the Ealing Park Tavern on South Ealing Road are the two best local restaurants.
Open space: Ealing Common, Walpole Park and Lammas Park are where Ealing’s residents head on a sunny day, and there are longer walks along the river Brent.
Leisure and the arts: Ealing is home of the Questors theatre, the country’s leading amateur dramatic company, which puts on around 20 shows a year. Ealing Rugby Club is thriving.
Travel: there’s good access to the M4 and A40. Ealing Broadway is on the District and Central Tube lines, South Ealing and Northfields are on the Piccadilly line. Trains from West Ealing and Ealing Broadway take about 12 minutes to Paddington. All stations are in Zone 3 and an annual travelcard costs £1,368. Crossrail arrives in 2018.
Council: Ealing (Labour controlled); Band D council tax for 2012/2013 is £1,366.65.
Renting in Ealing
One-bedroom flat: £1,100 to £1,300 a month
Two-bedroom flat: £1,300 to £1,600 a month
Two-bedroom house: £1,600 to £2,200 a month
Three-bedroom house: £1,800 to £2,500 a month
Four-bedroom house: £2,200 to £3,500 a month
Five-bedroom house: £3,000 to £7,500 a month
Source: Hamptons International