Welcome to Pitshanger ...On The Wolds
A thriving area with a very active community association
That was the name our local ward police team gave us, but we’re not offended. Flattered, in fact, that we’ve managed to create something here in suburban London visitors admire and envy – a village in all but name. Can you look out of your windows and see nothing but green for miles? Many Pitshanger residents can. Has your local shopping street got two butchers, bakery, greengrocer, cobbler, and a fishmonger? Pitshanger Lane has. In many ways the Lane is a throwback to a bygone age, but then there are the convenience stores, kebab shop and numerous other restaurants and takeaways that remind us we’re firmly in the 21st century.
Perhaps this is one of the things that make the area so special: it has retained many of the facilities and values of a time gone by, but somehow these sit easily with the modern day world. Hence St Barnabas, our flourishing parish church, hosts Pitshanger Pictures, a professional-standard film club where you can catch up on movies you’ve missed, old and new.
Throw into the mix a number of outstandingly talented individuals who are prepared to use their abilities for the benefit of the community. An excellent example is Hugh Mather, a retired medical consultant who has put Pitshanger on the classical music map by organising a series of wonderful events at St Barnabas and the nearby ancient church of St Mary’s Perivale. Recent successes include a weekend in which all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas were performed, each by a different pianist!
We’ve even got our own mayor – John Martin, one of our local estate agents. Well, not really, but if we were allowed one he’d probably be it, chivvying his fellow traders into line and making sure their interests are looked after. Our local civic rottweilers (you know who you are!) do a great job making sure Ealing Council meets its obligations. Many other people add to our communal well-being in a rich variety of ways, but most don’t shout about it: it’s the Pitshanger trait of just getting quietly on with things.
And then there’s the Pitshanger Community Association. Born out of a group of residents trying to block a dodgy housing development (they succeeded – the developer had to take it down), the modern PCA was formed to create a giant ‘village fete’ in the local park to mark the millennium. This was such a success that the organising committee was never disbanded and today puts on ‘Party In The Park’ every June, surely one of the largest community-run and completely unsubsidised events in London. Shortly before Christmas we switch on the tree lights along the Lane (paid for by the PCA) in our spectacular ‘Light Up The Lane’. Want to know what 6000 people crammed into a 150 metre stretch of road looks like? Come along in November and find out!
The PCA does a lot of other work running smaller events throughout the year, keeping a close eye on local environmental and planning issues and intervening with the Council and other authorities when required, and supporting local charities and good causes with financial and other help.
For locals, it’s our good fortune to have pitched up here in Pitshanger. Most new residents don’t know what they’re coming to but soon say they’re pleasantly surprised by the agreeable atmosphere, facilities, green space, and relatively low level of anti-social behaviour and other ills of modern city life. The precise socio-economic factors that have created our little village in a city can probably never be identified. All we can be certain of is that it’s a combination of a lovely part of London rather stuck out on its own and insulated from many of the burdens of city life, and people determined to make Pitshanger as good a place to live and work as it can be.
12th February 2012