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History Of The Area


Bedford Park's early history was as an unremarkable patch of countryside sitting at the junction of the old Roman road to Bath and the main stream of the Stamford Brook, a meandering watercourse making its way from the springs in Acton to the Thames at Hammersmith. It is best known as the location of the first, and many would say finest, garden suburb to be built in Britain, as the Victorians began to explore the potential of cities with a more human character, in touch with the countryside and our artisan history.

The building of Bedford Park was also helped by its fortuitous location next to the brickfields, from which most of its bricks were sourced. Sitting under the houses that now make up the northern part of Stamford Brook and Wendell through to Acton High Street, the Acton Brickfields were a huge, notorious wasteland and camp for itinerant workers. The sites of gambling dens and drunken riots, the brickfields were eventually closed down after repeated complaints from neighbours.

The new suburb quickly attracted writers and artists who favoured the leafy semi-rural ambience created. The most prominent of these was Camille Pissarro who came in 1897. They witnessed a transport revolution on the Bath Road as new horse-bus lines emerged, which within a few years were replaced by motorised omnibuses

Many people are surprised to know that the train arrived before Bedford Park itself. The lines that now carry the District Line to Ealing were already carrying passengers into the City. Jonathan Carr, the developer of Bedford Park, saw the potential of a piece of land, which still retained a country feel, while already connected to London by a train line. The history of Bedford Park is intertwined with rail and station developments that came and then dissappeared. Once you read our rail history, see if you can spot the locations of old stations and level crossings!

The arrival of the Underground, built on the lines of the old suburban railways, shaped the next generation of the neighbourhood, which included soap factories and car manufacturing in streets that were soon to become family suburbs.

Read Bryan Appleyard (author of the novel 'Bedford Park') on his blog post about our 'enchanted suburb':