A former Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria’s father, Sir Frederick Weatherall and many other notable worthies; Benedictine monks; a Socialist housing cooperative that backfired but left many beautiful houses, one occupied by Fred Perry; the Rector whose parish only had 34 inhabitants but who was disgraced for selling grave plots for his own benefit; Charles Jones, Ealing borough surveyor 1863-1913, poacher in the land wars all over Ealing turned Council gamekeeper (and just occasional poacher?); Henry de Bruno Austin, full time poacher who went spectacularly bankrupt; all of these people played a part, big or small, in the history of this house ~ and that’s without mentioning the occupants and owners.
The history of this house in Pitshanger village, North Ealing, its inhabitants and owners over its 102-year history, the square mile surrounding it, it’s unusual royal, religious and republican connections, and the story of the man who had it built and lost a fortune in property development but still died a rich man thanks to his wife, who pushed him on.
The occupants, whose stories are told as far as possible, have included a Polish refugee orphan and his family, a carpenter, a colonial merchant in the Burma rice trade, a Swiss-descended trader in condensed milk and
starch, an Irish family who got seriously into debt and were almost killed by nearby bombs in WW2, an ex-RAF architect who was knighted and redesigned the house, a nationally famous writer on social and political issues and, finally, the Pack family.
This house’s history reflects the changes that have taken place in the century since it was built, both locally and nationally.
Not every house has a history of Hampton Court but all houses do have a history. Why not investigate your own?
The front cover illustration is by Peter Michael (www.satindrew.com), a specialist in house portraits.