Twyford Crescent Gardens (Ealing)
The area was farmed until the 1890s, much of it part of the Elms Estate owned by the Wegg family from the C18th until 1842. Twyford Avenue, originally an old field lane, was at one time called Wegg Avenue. The site that became the public gardens was predominantly a Fish Pond on the Estate, providing grazing for livestock and horses. The land was purchased by Acton UDC in 1903 from the Round family who had inherited the Elms Estate and began developing it for housing. The public gardens were laid out in two sections, divided by Twyford Avenue, each section having lawns with island beds, perimeter paths, tree and shrub planting. The gardens were renovated in c.2008 with a new entrance to the west and new planting to provide year-round interest.
- Site location:
- Uxbridge Road/Twyford Avenue/Hale Gardens, Acton
- What 3 Words:
- Type of site:
- Public Gardens
- Open to public?
- Opening times:
- Special conditions:
- Public transport:
- Tube: Ealing Common (Piccadilly, District) then bus. Bus: 207, 607.
- Research updated:
- Last minor changes:
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.ealing.gov.uk
Full Site Description
The area, once wooded in medieval times, was cleared and farmed until the 1890s, much of it part of the Elms Estate owned by the Wegg family. Their house, later called The Elms, is now Twyford School, an C18th listed building to the west of Twyford Crescent Gardens. Before becoming a school the house had seen a number of uses including an Electric Works and J F K Farnell's toy factory (shown on OS 1914), famous as the source of Christopher Robin Milne's teddy bear. Twyford Avenue, originally an old field lane, was at one time called Wegg Avenue; from 1799 a member of the Wegg family had given a charitable bequest to the parish, and in 1802 and 1822 further bequests were made. Uxbridge Road formed an important route from London to the west and Acton became an important coaching station, the village developing as a result with a first inn recorded from 1337. Acton was also famous as the place where Oliver Cromwell was greeted by Londoners following his victory at the Battle of Worcester in 1651/2.By the mid C18th a number of wealthy people were moving here, attracted by the rural surroundings, and natural springs had been discovered at Acton Wells, which was a popular spa from 1750-90.
From 1750 the Wegg estate centred on the house built c.1725, which remained in the family until 1842. In 1800 the Fetherstonehaugh Estate of 800 acres was split up into 4 or 5 smaller estates, and among the purchasers was Samuel Wegg who added to his existing lands. The Wegg estate was inherited along with 169 acres by a distant relative, Charles Round, by which time the house was referred to as The Elms. The Round family began developing the Elms Estate for housing when the district began to grow, largely as a result of the improved transport network. Although the Great Western Railway did not initially have a halt at Acton, the Metropolitan District Railway Ealing Extension opened in 1879 providing commuter links to the City and the GWR station at Ealing. In the 1890s Uxbridge Road was widened, significantly improving the local tram service, in operation since the mid C18th, which was further enhanced by electrification in 1901. What is now known as the Creffield estate was developed north of Uxbridge Road on the former slopes of Hanger Hill in the late C19th and early C20th, and was complete by 1914. Through covenants on the building leases, the Round family was able to ensure that the quality of houses was high and to keep control of the overall appearance of the estate. Early speculative houses were built around Hanger Lane on the newly laid out Inglis, Freeland and Creffield Roads. Further roads were then laid out and the Estate developed rapidly from 1904 as property prices rose. By 1906 'Superior Building Sites' were being offered on this 'established and high class Estate'.
The estate plan already showed two areas of proposed gardens either side of Twyford Avenue where it met Uxbridge Road. Some parcels of land on the estate were bought by other parties such as the Gas Light & Coke Company, who purchased a 24 acre site in 1921 for its Acton Sports Ground, on a site that from 1899 had been leased to the Mill Hill Cricket Club; it remains in private use as Twyford Avenue Sports Ground (q.v.). Ealing Lawn Tennis Club, one of the oldest of Ealing's sporting clubs set up in 1882 as Ealing Lawn Tennis and Archery Club, also purchased land at Creffield Road in 1906, much of which has since been developed with housing.
In 1903 Acton Urban District Council purchased a strip of land alongside Uxbridge Road divided into two sections by Twyford Avenue, which had for centuries contained fishponds and a watering place for both grazing livestock and stagecoach horses. The easterly section had been largely taken up by one large fish pond, shown on the OS of 1865 with a boathouse in the north-west corner and a smaller watering pond marked in the east; the OS of 1896 shows the westerly section as tree-covered. The land was covered over and public gardens were laid out between the main road and Twyford Crescent. The public gardens were bounded to the west by Hale Gardens, named after Sir Matthew Hale, Lord Chief Justice, who lived in Acton. The west section of the gardens had a perimeter path, planting and the small timber and tile shelter, which still remains, and an entrance to the east. The easterly section also originally had a perimeter path, and entrances in the west and south east-corner, but later a single path is shown running east-west. Both gardens had island beds in the lawn, those of the western area with roses, and trees of different species were planted including yew, acacia and Lombardy poplar.
The gardens have been renovated in c.2008, with a new entrance and path in the west from Hale Gardens, new island beds set into the lawn to replace the rose beds in the west section, new seats and bins in the east section with replanting of the existing island beds, as well as new beds along the fence, tree planting, resurfacing of paths in the east section and painting of railings. Planting in the beds will be designed to provide year-round interest, including shrubs, perenials, grasses and roses.
The Conservation Studio for LB Ealing 'Creffield Conservation Area Appraisal' (March 2007); Middlesex County Times 23/8/1902;
Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
- Grid ref:
- TQ194802 (519386,180271)
- Size in hectares:
- Site ownership:
- LB Ealing
- Site management:
- Leisure & Parks Service
- Listed structures:
- On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:
- Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
- Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
Local Authority Data
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
- On Local List:
- In Conservation Area:
- Conservation Area name:
- Tree Preservation Order:
- Nature Conservation Area:
- Green Belt:
- Metropolitan Open Land:
- Special Policy Area:
- Other LA designation:
Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.