Dormers Wells

Dormers Wells, Ealing

Primarily a group of council estates in north-east Southall, bordering Greenford

Hidden London: Telford Road, Dormer's Wells

This was prob­a­bly the ‘spring or stream of a man called Dēor­mōd (or per­haps Dēor­mund)’. The pres­ence of a well here was first record­ed in the 13th cen­tu­ry, and it was reput­ed to have med­i­c­i­nal prop­er­ties. The plur­al form ‘Wells’ is a rel­a­tive­ly recent devel­op­ment, seem­ing­ly dat­ing from around the begin­ning of the 19th cen­tu­ry. Nowa­days the place name is usu­al­ly spelt with­out an apos­tro­phe.

An ‘old moat­ed cas­tle’ called Dorman’s Well may have been built for Edward Cheese­man, cof­fer­er (trea­sur­er) to Hen­ry VII, and was cer­tain­ly in the pos­ses­sion of Robert Cheese­man on his death in 1547, when a chapel also stood here.

The Dorman’s Well estate sub­se­quent­ly belonged to the lords of the manor of Nor­wood and the house is said to have grad­u­al­ly fall­en into ruin. Only traces of the moat now sur­vive.

Dorman’s Well had become a manor in its own right by the 18th cen­tu­ry, con­sist­ing of a 108-acre farm. The present form of the name evolved in the 19th cen­tu­ry, when Dorm­ers Wells Farm was owned by the Earl of Jer­sey, as an out­ly­ing part of his Oster­ley pos­ses­sions.

Dorm­ers Wells remained lit­tle more than a sin­gle farm until after the First World War, when devel­op­ers began to build hous­es for the low­er mid­dle class­es. Between 1926 and 1928 more than 700 hous­es were built in the neigh­bour­ing ham­let of Mount Pleas­ant, which lay just to the west and has since been absorbed with­in Dorm­ers Wells. Boys’ and girls’ sec­ondary schools opened in 1934.

The coun­cil built up the area inten­sive­ly from the 1960s, in the form of the Have­lock, Wind­mill and Golf Links estates, which includ­ed a num­ber of tow­er blocks. Prob­lems of depri­va­tion, crime, racism and drug use were wide­spread by the 1980s. As a result of a neigh­bour­hood renew­al ini­tia­tive, there has been sig­nif­i­cant new build­ing late­ly, gen­er­al­ly of hous­es and small­er blocks of flats. Oth­er mea­sures, such as improved secu­ri­ty and the instal­la­tion of CCTV net­works have made the area safer.

Many of the streets of Dorm­ers Wells are named after British inven­tors and dis­cov­er­ers. The local pop­u­la­tion is most­ly of Indi­an ori­gin or descent and there is also a small Soma­li com­mu­ni­ty.

Dorm­ers Wells high school has faced obsta­cles in the past, part­ly because few of its pupils come from homes where Eng­lish is the first lan­guage – and some have no pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence of school­ing. How­ev­er. its per­for­mance has improved marked­ly in recent years and it has also ben­e­fit­ed from new school build­ings.

Postcode area: Southall UB1
Population: 13,910 (2011 census)
* The picture of Telford Road, Dormer’s Wells, on this page is cropped and modified from an original photograph, copyright David Howard, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.