Brentham in War and Peace: 1939-1969

The coming of the Second World War severed the last remaining links with the old co-partnership system. In 1940 the Bradford Property Trust Ltd purchased the controlling interest from the Liverpool Trust, and Ealing Tenants Ltd has since been run as a commercial undertaking. In 1947 the Brentham Club moved another step away from the old Institute ideals when the buildings and twelve acres of sports grounds were purchased from the estate by the members, and became a private sports and social club.

The policy of encouraging Ealing tenants to buy their own houses at a favourable price was discontinued by the company in 1950, when it became clear that a good deal of surreptitious profiteering was going on through re-selling. It was obviously more profitable for the company to offer the houses on the open market as they became empty. Today less than one tenth of households (mainly flats) are still let to tenants.

After the war 40 houses in Holyoake Walk, North View and Meadvale Road were completely or partially re-built due to war damage. In 1954 a house called Rookery Nook was built in Brunner Road on ground that had served as tennis courts and then a bowling green, and at the same time numbers 186 and 188 Pitshanger Lane were built next to St Barnabas Church. The last site sold off was at the corner of Brentham Way and Woodfield Crescent, where four terraced houses were built. At the southern boundary of the estate a new primary school was opened in 1956 on the site previously occupied by the Princess Helena College for girls, which had been destroyed by bombing. The college grounds have been retained, partly for use by Montpelier School and partly as a park, which forms a pleasant break on the way to Ealing Broadway.

Returning prosperity led to the sell off of houses by Ealing Tenants – more than 200 houses between 1945 and 1968, so that by 1968 around two thirds of the suburb was privately owned. The majority of these were sold in the 1960s, as general prosperity and the tendency to private home ownership both accelerated. In the 1950s and 60s, as cars began lining the roads of Brentham, Ealing Tenants built blocks of garages on allotments or back land that had been open space. The most tangible sign of prosperity and increased private ownership was in alterations that were made to the houses, such as rear extensions, and the removal of chimney breasts and original fireplaces, to increase room sizes. Two trends which particularly threatened to destroy what made Brentham architecturally distinctive were the removal of hedges, and the replacement of the original small-pane wooden windows with plate-glass windows.  That this did not happen was due to a series of events in the late 1960s, the first of which was the passing of the Civic Amenities Act in 1967.

Continued - Conservation since 1969

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