In early 1954, the Capital and Counties Property Company Ltd started disposing of its (eastern) part of the Estate. In March the title of the ornamental gardens and service roads was vested in Hillside Gardens Limited. On 1st April, the 325 houses in Princes Gardens, Tudor Gardens, Vale Lane, the east side of Monks Drive and nos. 1 to 7 and 6 to 20 Queens Drive were sold to Warwick Estates Limited. Within a very short time, however, Warwick Estates had to put their entire holding up for sale.
The auction sale brochure of 6 to 8 July 1954, prepared by Messrs Healey & Baker, became known as the "grey book" . The brochure stated: "The long established industrial and commercial nature of Acton as a whole, coupled with its accessibility to Central London, has stimulated a demand for houses in the neighbouring modern residential Estates. This well-planned Estate is located in a much sought after London residential district and comprises 325 attractively designed freehold houses of modern design, each with its own garage. Excellent transport facilities are available to the City from West Acton (Central Line) Station and (Piccadilly Line) Station, to which the Estate is in close proximity".
The properties were to be sold subject to the covenants of 1918, 1933 and 1937 (referred to in earlier sections). Details were also given in the "grey book" of the rent, rates, rateable value and tenancy of each individual house. For example:
THE FREEHOLD SEMI-DETACHED HOUSE known as:
73 PRINCES GARDENS, ACTON W3
Designed on two floors and containing 3 bedrooms, 2 reception rooms, kitchen, bathroom and w.c. Also included is a garage at the rear. Let to R. Wood on statutory tenancy at an inclusive monthly rental (as at 25th March 1954) amounting to £131.10.0 per annum.
The general water rates for the year 1953-54 amount to £48.6s.8d
RATEABLE VALUE £40
Depending upon the size and location of homes, gross annual rents varied from £121.2.0 (rateable value £40) to £184.0.0. (rateable value £55), with compensational rental for the few remaining requisitioned properties being £54 or £56 per annum.
As intimated by the entry for 73 Princes Gardens, those copies of the "grey book" still existing provide a complete record of all the tenants of the eastern part of the Hanger Hill Garden Estate in March 1954. While all the 325 houses were on offer as one lot, in the event no overall purchaser was forthcoming, and at the sale and subsequently over the ensuing years the houses were bought individually.
Sitting tenants were very advantageously placed, acquiring their properties (depending, of course, upon their size and location) for as little as around £1,800. From Summer 1954 the freeholders and tenants in the eastern homes were required to enter into covenants with Hillside Gardens Limited that they would "at all times hereafter pay to the Company the annual sum of two pounds two shillings on the 29th Day of September … the Company (will) expend every such annual sum paid … upon … (a) the preservation or improvement of the amenities of the Hanger Hill Garden Estate, (b) the maintenance of the roads, accommodation ways and ornamental gardens on the said Estate, or (c) the care and maintenance of the hedges on the front boundaries of the said property" .
Several momentous decades were to follow that auction sale of March 1954. The various developments are recorded below in chronological order but fuller stories of three of the main concerns that dominated the life of the Estate over a 30-year period are told separately under the headings 'The Saga of the Gardens', 'Conservation' and 'Park Western'.
The residents in the 325 houses on the eastern part of the Estate formed the Hanger Hill Garden Estate (Acton) Residents Association. This had the two prime objectives: (a) to maintain the amenities of the Estate and (b) to advise or at the discretion of the Committee to act upon all matters affecting the Estate in the interests of the member or members. The annual subscription was five shillings.
Ownership of the western part of the Estate stayed with Mr. Cooper until 1956-1957, when the family sold out to McKay Securities Ltd. Initially all the tenants were very apprehensive as to the level of rents to be charged and to the management of the Estate, and a residents' association was formed to protect the interests of tenants. Such was the anxiety of tenants that Ealing Council was asked to place a compulsory purchase order (CPO) upon the (western) Estate: this was not proceeded with. However, the new owners shortly appointed a most excellent Estate manager, who moved into the flat above the office (i.e. The Lodge) and who quickly gained the confidence of the tenants for the way the Estate was run. The Residents' Association was dissolved.