The 1960s and 1970s
Residents band together to protect the Estate from neglect and encroachment by developers.
These were turbulent decades, during which residents gradually gained control over the Estate, cleared literally tons of debris that had accumulated during the years of neglect, and protected its unique character.
1968: The village pond, looking south towards Links Road and Monks Drive. The pond garden was allocated to the flats half of the Estate when ownership was divided. (London Metropolitan Archives)
A brief chronology:
1962 The Archdiocese of Westminster acquires the freehold of the lands and property comprising the Hanger Hill Country Club.
October 1964 The foundation stone is laid for Ellen Wilkinson High School in Queens Drive.
Mid 1960s The Metal Box Company ceases to use the sidings used by steam engines bringing in goods wagons via the British Rail lines to the north. (Incidentally, alongside the sidings was the old Walter's Palm Toffee factory.)
April 1, 1967 The foundation stone of that architectural disgrace, the Church of the Holy Family, is laid by Bishop Patrick Casey, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster. Unfortunately, it wasn't an April Fool and the church is formally opened on November 11.
1969 The western part of the Estate is taken over by Freshwater Group of Companies. They begin selling off properties (ie the flats and the houses on the west side of Monks Drive, in Links Road and at nos. 9 to 27 and 22 to 36 Queens Drive). A four-bedroomed house in Queens Drive is sold to a sitting tennant for £9,000 -- probably worth £600,000 today. Also in 1969, the whole Estate is designated a Conservation Area.
April 1972 At the Annual General Meeting of the Hanger Hill Garden Estate (Acton) Residents' Association, the proposal is made that the Association be extended to cover the whole of the Hanger Hill Garden Estate Conservation Area.
December 1972 Organised by the Residents' Association, a large number of residents work over a weekend cutting down excessive growth of trees and shrubs in the gardens and generally clearing rubbish. Some 40 tons of debris are removed.
April 1973 Formation of the Hanger Hill Garden Estate Residents' Association, covering the whole of the Conservation Area. Its objects are:
a) to maintain the amenities of the Estate;
b) to protect the Conservation Area and to oppose any further development detrimental to the area;
c) to advise or, at the discretion of the Committee, act upon all matters affecting the Estate in the interest of the member or members.
Membership is open to all house and flat holders within the Conservation Area. The annual subscription is set at 25 pence.
August 1973 The Residents' Association issues its first newsletter, delivered to all houses and flats on the Estate. A Flats Sub-Committee is formed.
November 1973 Hillside Gardens Limited is formally dissolved, the lands being put in the hands of the Treasury Solicitor, Bona Vacantia Section. Also during 1973, Gloucester Court is struck by lightning.
January 1974 A second weekend mass clear-up of the Estate is organised by the Residents' Association. Again some 40 tons of garden and other refuse are removed. Estimated values of houses are: three bedroom, middle of terrace £17,500; three bedroom, end of terrace £19,000; four bedroom, middle of terrace £19,000; four bedroom, semi-detached £22,000 to £25,000 These values represented only the basic price of a house which was in good condition, reasonably well-placed, and flanked by equally fair properties. They applied to unconverted properties without central heating.
April 1974 The Residents' Association annual subscription is raised to £1.
July 1974 "Ownership" of the ornamental gardens and service roads passes to the Crown Estate Commissioners. The Treasury Solicitor issues a formal notice disclaiming the Crown's title, the effect of which - inter alia - is that the Crown is not be responsible for the upkeep of the Estate's common parts, and carries no responsibility for them.
October 1974 Approximate value of flats at this time: three room flat £14,000 to £15,000; four room flat £15,000 to £17,000 These prices were for flats in reasonable condition, with ground and first floor flats generally being worth more than those on the second floor.
November 1974 A mass working party of 100 residents digs over and clears the ornamental gardens and prunes the trees and shrubs, and also cleans up the service roads and Masons Green Lane.
May 1975 Paid-up membership of the Residents' Association stands at 78% of house residents and 72% of flats residents.
February 1976 It is reported that some of the owners of leasehold houses on the Estate could shortly qualify for leasehold enfranchisement under the Leasehold Reform Act of 1967. The houses in question are in Queens Drive, Monks Drive and Links Road, where the ground landlords are the Freshwater Group.
May 1976 The width restriction is installed in Queens Drive.
June 1976 The Metal Box Company submits an outline planning application to Ealing Council for 40 houses on the Metal Box Sports Ground, with access via a road from Tudor Gardens.
1976 Following a serious accident when a child is knocked down by a car, the gap in the central reservation opposite 21 and 23 Princes Gardens is paved over.
July 3, 1977 Jubilee Picnic on the Haberdashers Sports Field to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. The Sunday afternoon picnic is suggested by the Church of the Ascension, and jointly organised by this church, the Church of the Holy Family, Hanger Hill East Residents' Association and the Hanger Hill Garden Estate Residents' Association. About 500 people attend the event, which includs a dog show and children's races as well as a performance by Polish dancers. £51 is raised for the Mayor of Ealing's Jubilee Fund.
1977 Two pairs of semi-detached houses are built on the Pavilion Site in Garage Road, behind Oxford Court.
April 1978 A three-year battle by the Residents' Association and others to retain the allotment sites in Vale Lane and Hanger Vale Lane is lost. The Local Planning Authority grants consent for the layout of an access road, two blocks of flats and 12 houses on the eastern site, and for a block of flats on the western site. (These were later to be named Hanger View way and Cherrywood Way respectively.)
July 1979 Ealing Council considers the matter of 96 poplar trees on the Estate boundary behind nos. 83 to 167 Princes Gardens, a number of which have fallen or are dead or dying. The land remains in legal limbo, following the liquidation of Hillside Gardens Limited and refusal of the Crown to take responsibility. The Council resolves to remove the trees.