One of London’s hidden residential gems, Brentham garden suburb was laid out in north Ealing during the early years of the last century
The Brentham estate backs onto Pitshanger Park, beside the River Brent – from which it takes its name. The earliest roads, those with the Woodfield name, were a co-operative creation but their architecture was not so different from speculatively built terraces that were going up elsewhere around this time.
The tenants’ association bought more land in 1905 and 1907 and its leader, Henry Vivian, pushed through more innovative principles of street layout and house design. Architects Parker and Unwin were brought in to create Britain’s first ‘co-partnership garden suburb’, intended to provide cottage homes for working people who invested their savings in the scheme and received dividends for keeping their property in good repair. The Arts and Crafts architecture displays a delightful variety of stylistic detail while retaining a thematic harmony.
The community’s focal point is the Brentham Club on Meadvale Road, which organises a wide range of activities. Unlike many such centres – at least those of such quality – it is not a conversion of some pre-existing gentleman’s home but was built for the purpose, in 1911. The club is shown in the photo above.*
From May 1911 the Great Western Railway’s suburban service out of Westbourne Park began stopping at a station named Brentham, which was located some distance from the suburb itself, just to the west of what is now the Hanger Lane gyratory system. Trains were never frequent and in June 1947 the mainline service and Brentham station were superseded by the Central line and Hanger Lane respectively.
In 1969 Brentham garden suburb was designated a conservation area – but its identity is no longer widely recognised beyond the immediate neighbourhood: it is often considered part of what estate agents call Pitshanger Village.