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The 1930s 

The years leading up to the Second World War were pleasant and peaceful ones for residents of the Estate.

During these years the whole Hanger Hill Garden Estate flourished. Over on the eastern part of the Estate, Mr. Greenhill, Managing Director of Capital and Counties Property Company Ltd., lived in Princes Gardens (at the junction with Vale Lane) up to and through the war years.


Queens Drive flats, circa 1930. It's remarkable how little the view has changed!
(from Norman Pointing's history of the Estate)

Like the Coopers, Mr. Greenhill took a great personal interest in his part of the Estate. In those days, a request for repairs or service made to the Estate Office (at 2-4 Queens Drive), or to Mr. Greenhill personally, was attended to virtually at once. The ornamental gardens, tended by a team of gardeners, were considered a showpiece of West London.

During these years, the lands to the south and west of the flats (now occupied by Ellen Wilkinson High School)were the grounds of Mill Hill Cricket Club, used for cricket and tennis, with the Club's pavilion being on the present school buildings site by Queens Drive. In the south-west corner by the railway lines were the sports grounds of Harvington School. During the war years, all these sports fields were to be turned over to allotments, whcih is how they remained until Ellen Wilkinson High School was built in 1964/5.

As to the way of life in the 1930s, the times were clearly pleasant and peaceful ones for all the tenants on the Estate. Occupiers of some of the four-bedroomed houses employed a maid, the fourth bedroom having been designed with this in mind. Whilst all the houses and many of the flats had garages, only a small number of people on the Estate owned cars.

These were the days when goods were delivered to the home. Tradesmen were not allowed to call at the front doors of the houses or flats, but had to call at back doors using the service roads. Bakers, butchers, fish salesmen and greengrocers all called weekly, some attending earlier in the day or week to take orders. "Fishy", the wet fish salesman, was a much loved character.


In the parking bays behind the flats, vans from Harrods, Dickens & Jones and the like, were to be seen drawing up. Signs requiring tradesmen to call at the rear doors only of the flats are still to be seen at the Queens Drive entrances.

Aerial view.jpg

1935: This aerial shot shows Princes Gardens and part of Tudor Gardens, with the Metal Box factory behind. It's just possible to see the Lombard Poplars that used to surround the Estate. Thanks to Paul for his sharp eyes in spotting this.

Tenancies of flats were refused to people who had young children. No animals were allowed to be kept in the flats.

Each flat had its own boiler, with the weekly delivery of fuel (coal cost about 3s 6d per cwt) being kept in individual sheds behind the blocks (now used by most residents for storage, though a few are filled with coal!). Similarly, the houses had their weekly delivery of coal. Each flat had a second small shed for its metal "dustbin", in which household refuse and ashes were put ready for the weekly collection by the dustmen. House tenants were allowed to hang out washing only on Mondays and Tuesdays; flat tenants were not permitted to hang out washing at all. At the police box beside 2 Queens Drive, "bobbies" were to be seen "ringing in" or changing shifts.

In the late 1930s, the combined rent and rates of a second-floor, four room flat was £96 per annum. In May 1937, Mount Estates Ltd sold just over six acres of land (which it had previously acquired from the Hanger Hill Estates) to the Metal Box Company for the development of their sports ground.

Metal Box covenanted "to benefit and protect the adjoining property known as the Hanger Hill Garden Estate … that no buildings or other erections of any kind shall be constructed or placed upon the land ... except private dwelling houses (each dwelling house to be of a net first cost in materials and labour only of a least £750 exclusive of garage and outbuildings) and / or a sports pavilion...that nothing shall be done...which may in any way be a nuisance to the Hanger Hill Garden Estate...that nothing shall be done which may in any way impair or destroy the amenities of the said Hanger Hill Estate as a good class residential Estate". During 1937, West Acton First School in Noel Road was opened. 

Next: 'Fishy'

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