Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hanger Lane

This is station number 43 on my journey along the Central Line. The name of the station has been taken from the nearby Hanger Hill. The word 'Hanger' comes from the Anglo-Saxon word hangra meaning wooded slope. Although the hill still exists it can no longer be described as a wooded slope.

                                                                               I enjoyed looking at  the list of stations on the Central line, knowing I had visited all the stations Eastbound and just have seven to visit Westbound.

The circular ticket hall is spacious and light. This station has been in my mind for a while after a comment from Wendy 'Definitely another really interesting post. Can't wait to see what you find at Hanger Lane though. on St Paul's '  Once I left the station I could see what she meant.

From the outside the building reminded me of a Gondolier's straw hat. The station is in the centre of a very large roundabout.

The morning traffic report wouldn't be complete without a mention of problems at the Hanger Lane Gyratory System. It is too large and has too many lanes to just be called a roundabout hence the word Gyratory. It is not a junction for the inexperienced or nervous driver. If you get into the wrong lane then hard luck as there is no chance whatsoever of someone allowing you to move into the correct lane. In some sections there are seven lanes to negotiate. At  rush hour it carries 10.000 vehicles an hour. In December 2007 it was named Britain's scariest junction.

So in the midst of this roundabout is  the Hanger Lane Underground station and a small nature reserve.

Crossing the roads above ground is impossible so there is a large subway system. I left the busy roundabout and walked south on Hanger Lane which took me to the top of Hanger Hill. Here there was a park with a pitch and putt course, nature reserve and children's playground. Being in the park you are immediately removed from the traffic thundering along outside. It was a gloriously sunny but cold day and I thoroughly enjoyed the walk through the park.

I exited the park on Hillcrest Road and continued on to Park View Road to have a look at 'The White House'.

This building is called The White House, for obvious reasons. It has an interesting history as it is based on a palace in Poland. The palace was owned by Prince John Zylinski's grandmother. During WW2 she was expelled from the palace by the Communist Government who then burnt it to the ground. Her young grandson promised her that he would rebuild the palace. Prince John kept his promise and built this house in 2002. It took seven years to complete. Unfortunately the house was hidden by the scaffolding so I couldn't see any of its features other than the entrance arch.

I did find this photo on Wikipedia just to give you an idea of the grandeur of the building.

 On the same road is the  Barclays Bank sports ground. There seemed to be a number of green spaces in this area.

The area around the tube station is a residential one. These houses are part of the Brentham Garden Suburb. The suburb was designed by the leading garden city architects with the houses built mostly in the Arts and Crafts style. Although small at  680 houses and flats it was the first garden suburb to be built on 'co-partnership' principles and made its mark on town planning and domestic architecture. In 1969 the Brentham Garden Suburb was designated a conservation area.

When the estate was built, this building, The Bentham Club, was the heart of the community. It is still very much used today

Continuing down Bruswick lane you come to Pitshanger Village with its wide range of shops.

Just off Pittshanger Lane is the park.and golf course.
I walked through the park and crossed over the North Circular Road via a footbridge and made my way back to the tube station.

Just around the corner from the station is the Fox and Goose Public House on Hanger Lane. Built in the 18th Cent as a coaching Inn it was originally surrounded by woodland. Towards the end ofthe 19th Cent most of the building was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and has not changed very much since then other than a skittle alley was converted into a music hall where The Who performed in the 60s. In 1998 on land behind the pub, Fullers, who own the property, built a 45 bedroomed hotel.

On my way back to the Hanger Lane roundabout I had a good view of the Wembley stadium arch. I wanted to have a look down Twyford Abbey Road which meant crossing over the roundabout or rather going under the roundabout via the subway.

This is  the new church of St Mary's Church

This is Twyford Abbey. Currently visible only from the back of St Mary's Church. Built in the middle ages this was the manor house for the local lords of West Twyford. It was given the name of Twyford Abbey by its owner in the 1800s who wanted his home to have a pseudo monastic name. In 1902 the building was bought by a Catholic religious order and was used as a nursing home.

The old St Mary's Church (which you can see at the back of the new church) was disused when the nursing home opened and was reopened for weekly services in 1907.

The nursing home closed in 1988 and the building has been left to deteriorate. But looking at the building today it looks as though work has started on the grounds but there is high fencing up so you can't see what is happening. The house is a Grade II listed building and when it was bought by property developers a number of years ago, requests for planning permission to convert the building into a hotel and to build properties on the grounds wasn't granted. I'm not sure what is happening now.

Back to the roundabout. This is one of the entrances into the subway.

I'm pleased to say that Hanger Lane turned out to be more interesting than I imagined.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Ealing Broadway

Compared to the previous few stations I've visited, Ealing Broadway feels huge. Not only is it an Underground station for the District as well as the Central Line but it is also a main line station for the Great Western train service from Paddington

Soon it will also have the new East-West Elizabeth line (Crossrail) stopping here.

 I exited the station onto The Broadway.

The first thing I noticed as I crossed  the road from the station was this Estate Agency with a blue commemorative plaque on the wall to The Ealing Jazz club. It was in 1962 that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones first met Brian Jones here. Other artists who performed here include Rod Stewart and Manfred Mann.

Ealing Broadway has a busy shopping centre with numerous shops. I turned left onto the High Street in search of Pitzhanger Manor.

This is Ealing Green. In the 19th century this was the site of an annual 3 day Midsummer Fair. All kinds of wares were sold from stalls and booths and there were many weird races and competitions. Part of the Green was covered with tents and gypsy caravans.

At the side of Ealing Common is Pitzhanger Manor House. I was hoping to show you the Manor but as you can see from the photo it is being renovated. This house was designed and once owned by the British architect Sir John Soames. It is a Grade 1 listed building and the restoration is going to bring it back to its former glory. It is hoped that it will open again in 2018. 

This is a photo of the building prior to the restoration.

I walked through Walpole Park at the back of the Manor to get to Ealing Studios.

Named after the London borough in which it is situated, Ealing Studios has been making films since 1902 making it the oldest continuously working studio facility for film production in the world. . Will Barker bought the White Lodge (shown here) in 1902 as a base for film making,  The studios are probably best known for the Ealing Comedies and classic films made after the war such as The Lavender Hill Mob and the Ladykillers. The studios were used by the BBC Film Unit for forty years until 1995 with the sound stages used for everything from Porridge to Colditzz Recent films include The Theory of Everything and the Imitation Game as well as the interior scenes for the TV drama Downton Abbey.
The studios are behind the White Lodge and I went to find a side entrance to ask about studio tours. I was met by a security guard before I got that far to tell me there are no tours and photography is not allowed.

The security guard did let me take a photo of the sign with the St Trinians' figure underneath.

Across the road is The Red Lion also known as Stage Six because Ealing Studios originally had five stages. This was where the likes of Sir Alex Guinness, Sid James and other film actors would come for a drink. Apparently the inside is decorated with stills and portraits relating to the studios but it was closed when I was there so unable to have a look inside.

Walking back along Ealing Green this iron arch caught my eye. It leads to the Ealing Green Welsh Presbyterian chapel.

The chapel was opened at the beginning of 1909 with its membership reaching a peak of 241 members in 1933. A hall was added to the chapel buildings in 1952 for concerts, meetings and nurseries.

I continued walking on the Green and turned into Mattock Lane.
It was here that I stumbled across this facade  attached to the end of a building.  It had once stood as the entrance to the Walpole Picture Theatre  from July 1912 until October 1972. The theatre had 1600 seats all on one level and with a very basic interior. When it closed it was converted into a carpet store and when this closed it became a rehearsal studio for rock groups. It was demolished in 1981. Fortunately the developer saved the frontage and had it erected here against this building, a short distance from where it originally stood.

The Questors Theatre on Mattock Lane. The theatre was founded by 17 members wanting to start a local theatre group in 1929. Whilst searching for a permanent home to rehearse and perform they were given access to a prefabricated 'tin church' on Mattock Lane. Calling themselves The Questors, they eventually raised enough money to buy the site in 1952. It took more than a decade but in 1964 the new complex was opened. The theatre is now one of the largest independent community theatres in Europe.

It was inside the theatre that I discovered Pam's wonderful Vintage Tea shop 'Tea Darling' After my extended tea break I left the theatre  and walked round the block making my way onto the very busy Uxbridge Road.
Couldn't resist taking a photo of this shop window with its colourful display of Hookah pipes.

The Uxbridge road has a mixture of architecture with the Art Deco Fire station.
Modern hotels and office blocks

Ealing Police station

Longfield House with its mixture of offices and apartments is a really good example of an art deco building.

However, the building that really stands out is Ealing Town Hall. This late Victorian Gothic building was seen as a status symbol for the borough. It was opened by the future King Edward VII in 1888 and was fortunate not to be damaged during the war. One of its main features  is the decorative Victoria Hall but I was unable to see it.

The doors were open so I went inside but for the second time today I was challenged by a security guard. I assured him I was only interested in the architecture of the building and he let me take a couple of photos from the entrance hall but wouldn't allow me to go any further. During these troubled times I am pleased that security guards are on there toes.

Behind the Town Hall is Dickens Yard, once a car park and now a controversial new development of 
ridiculously expensive apartment blocks. It has been built adjacent to Ealing Town centre Conservation Area with its Grade 1 listed town hall, the 
Grade II listed Christ the Saviour church and the listed Fire Station.

I returned along the Broadway back to the station.

The original Great Western Station was demolished in 1961 and replaced with this low concrete structure with shops and a ticket hall, The new station building serves all the lines using Ealing Broadway station. This old facade is now the entrance to a variety of shops.

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