Friday, 25 July 2008

West Ealing

The nearest proper shops to us were on the Uxbridge Road as it ran through West Ealing. Here was a Sainbury's (not yet a supermarket), a Marks & Spencers (where nearly all my clothes came from), a Woolworth's, a British Home Stores, a Dolcis - chain stores that were seen in any other suburb or city. There was a big(ish) department store, F.H. Rowse's, a smaller one, Daniel's, Parkers, a bakery which always had a marvellous smell of fresh bread, Bland's the optician - and the pubs. The Halfway House, towards the Hanwell end of West Ealing, the Green Man (with a pub sign I used to find scary), and between them, the Old Hat.

Toy shops... very important to me. Well, Woolworth's had a reasonable range of Airfix kits, Tanner's on Oaklands Road had Matchbox toys, but for Corgi and Dinkies (larger die-cast toy cars) there was only one shop on a short passage by Deans Gardens. Sadly, this shop either closed or else became a radio and TV shop, but while it was open, it was a great treat to be taken here by my parents to choose a Dinky or Corgi toy. The men serving at the toy shop wore brown warehouse coats, shirts and ties; when ordering a toy, I would look at the catalogue to see which toy car I wanted. The man would look at the catalogue number and would scour the boxes (yellow for Dinky, pale blue and yellow for Corgi) for the right catalogue number. If in stock, he would take out the box from the rack on the wall, open it and show me the car. If it met with my approval, my mother or father would pay, the box would be wrapped up and we'd take it home.

The Uxbridge road was served by red London double decker buses. There was the 207, from Uxbridge to Shepherd's Bush; this replaced the 607 trolleybus which I can still remember catching with my mother to visit friends who lived in Shepherd's Bush. The trolleybuses were withdrawn from service in November 1960 (I was just three at the time) and replaced by Routemaster buses. Below: A 607 trolleybus on the Uxbridge Road at Ealing Common, on its way to Shepherd's Bush.


Below: a lovely little film showing the 607 from Shepherd's Bush and onwards through Acton, via Ealing Common and on to Southall, Hillingdon and Uxbridge.

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