Ealing Common

Ealing Common, Ealing

A 40-acre open space in east Ealing, and the electoral ward that surrounds it

A milepost at the edge of a muddy Ealing Common, seen on a dull day
A milepost at the edge of Ealing Common

In the Middle Ages Ealing Common covered some 70 acres but its extent was reduced as a result of progressive encroachment. Medieval tracks have been upgraded to become the roads that now frame and traverse it.

From 1809 until his assassination in 1812, prime minister Spencer Perceval lived at Elm Grove House, at the south-west corner of the common. In 1870 his son’s widow sold the Elm Grove estate to the East India Company.

Ealing Common station opened in 1879, when housing began to spread from the town in this direction. St Matthew’s church and several substantial detached houses were soon built on North Common Road, but the open fields of Fordhook Farm survived to the east until the end of the century. Building reached a peak in 1903, when some relatively new houses were demolished and replaced by blocks of flats.

Spencer Perceval’s youngest daughter bequeathed money for All Saints’ church to be built in his memory and Leopold de Rothschild gave the site, where Elm Grove had formerly stood. The church was completed in 1905.

Ealing Common station was rebuilt for the arrival of the Piccadilly line in 1932. The common continued to be used for grazing and donkey rides until well into the 20th century but dog-walking is now the prime animal activity. Funfairs are periodically held on the common, usually on bank holiday weekends.

The Ealing Common ward has a well-educated population and its proportion of twenty-somethings is nearly twice the national average.

The Who’s Pete Townshend was an Ealing Common resident at the height of the band’s fame in the 1960s.

Postal district: W5
Population: 14,019 (2011 census)
Station: District and Piccadilly lines (zone 3)