Click here to read the online version of ‘Contactus Ealing’ Northfields edition, featuring eight extra pages than the printed version which was distributed through Ealing in June 2013.
The apple connection lives on
Northfield Avenue originated as Northfield Lane, a muddy track linking the Uxbridge Road and Little Ealing Road, cutting through market gardens and apple orchards on both sides.
The local Steel family owned and leased much of this land, and the area’s apple history lives on in street names such as Bramley, Wellington and Julien, and in the Steel’s Fruit Packing Warehouse still standing on the corner of Northfield Road and Norcroft Road.
It wasn’t until the Metropolitan District Railway “halt” opened at Northfields in 1908 that the area began to develop, and the lane became the avenue.
The station, along with the fruit packing warehouse and The Forester inn, is now a Grade 2 listed building, while the former Odeon cinema (now Ealing Christian Centre) is even more special as a Grade 2*.
Midway along the avenue is the green known as Lammas Park, derived from ‘Lammas lands’, used for grazing cattle in medieval times.
And up at the top are allotments, now run by the Pathways charity, dating back to the Poor Relief Act of 1832.
A solid vein of shops that links the community
Starting from Uxbridge Road (Lido Junction), Northfield Avenue snakes down through nearly 200 businesses to Little Ealing Road (connecting with Pope’s Lane). The neighbourhood is simply called “Northfields”.
As one of the 60-odd shopping parades in Ealing borough, this avenue deserves special attention because of its individuality and community aspect.
Getting to Northfields is easy as not only does it have its own tube station (Northfields on the Piccadilly Line, with South Ealing a record close distance away), but both the E2 and E3 buses link the area with Chiswick, Ealing Broadway, Brentford, Acton, and Greenford.
Stop-and-shop bays (30-min) are widely available, and, on many side streets, parking is easy once you avoid the permit-holders-only times of 10-11am and 3-4pm, Mon-Fri.
With most of the shops being independent, and quite a few run by residents of themselves, there is a ‘villagey’ feel to the avenue, despite it being nearly a mile long.
The shops also don’t pretend to attract visitors from far-off – we asked local shoppers to explain why there were no high street Pizza Huts or Clarks, and got replies like: “It’s like Northfields shops were made just for us to shop in”; and, “These shops are for the locals, those chain stores wouldn’t fit in here”.
Click to read Contactus online.