North Acton, Ealing
A commercial zone divided from the rest of Acton by the Western Avenue
From Elizabethan times the supposedly health-giving Acton Wells spa flourished on the eastern edge of the area, near Old Oak Common. Wells House Road marks the site of the former assembly rooms, which later served as a school and then a farmhouse. Horse races were run at Acton Wells in the second half of the 18th century.
Acton cemetery opened in 1895 on Park Royal Road. A bridge across the railway line unites the cemetery’s two halves, which have no remaining space for new graves although existing family plots continue to be used.
The Central line tube station opened in 1923, replacing an earlier Great Western railway service. In the 1930s North Acton formed part of the industrial sprawl that made Acton the largest manufacturing town in south-east England between the wars.
The John Compton Organ Works was among North Acton’s best-known employers, building organs for churches, theatres and cinemas, including some magnificent Wurlitzer-style instruments. Bomb damage in the Blitz and post-war relocation caused progressive decline in the area from 1940.
Today, North Acton is generally considered part of the Park Royal area, but a handful of residential streets in the far north-east unexpectedly break the commercial monotony. Much of the industry consists of small-scale operations, often in warehousing and distribution. A number of units have lain empty for some time. Some disused larger premises, such as the old Elizabeth Arden factory, have been converted to offices, workshops and studios for small businesses with the support of the Park Royal Partnership. The ultimate aim is to create a high-density, mixed-use zone that includes media-related enterprises and some residential units and local amenities.
The junction of the A40 and Horn Lane in North Acton is known as ‘Gypsy Corner’ in recognition of its former use as a stopping place for Irish Traveller groups passing in and out of London.
Postal districts: W3 and NW10
Station: Central line (zones 2 and 3)