So much on offer in Ealing's premier village
Pitshanger Lane is a lovely, village-like street about one mile north of Ealing Broadway. It celebrated its centenary in 2009.
One of the fabulous things about living in the Pitshanger Lane area is the richness of what you can do culturally. There is quite literally something on offer, for every age and taste, either on the Lane or very near to it.
The area’s youngest residents are first served by the fantastic play centre in the park where they can get involved in singing, craft and puppetry. The play centre is often a new parent’s first port of call, and the friendly welcome has probably maintained the sanity of many.
North Ealing, a very popular and well-regarded primary school at the western end of Pitshanger Lane, has added a children’s centre as part of its recent expansion, and now also hosts activities for the younger members of the Pitshanger community.
Although not open every day, the library has a well-stocked children’s section and offers storytelling every Saturday. It is also about to launch a book group for the over-nines. For its adult customers, there is a bank of computers and also tables with newspapers where you can while away the time catching up on the world’s news.
The Ealing Dance Studio offers ballet and other movement classes for young and old, to a very high standard. All the required equipment can be bought in the shop below. I particularly recommend this shop for being very encouraging of boy ballet dancers.
We are supremely lucky with the quality of the shops on the Lane which still boasts a baker, greengrocer, fishmonger and even two butchers. Together with the Pitshanger Community Association (PCA), the traders host the annual “Light Up the Lane” event when all the Christmas lights are turned on. This is a huge event with the street closed to traffic, local schools dancing, and all the traders opening up to sell seasonal treats. In recent years, Halloween has become more of a feature on the Lane too with children in fancy dress heading to the Village Inn for activities.
Also organised by the PCA is the annual “Party in the Park” in Pitshanger Park. Party in the Park is essentially a garden fete, but on a grand scale, with an open stage, arts and craft, food and drink from local Pitshanger traders, and more.
Pitshanger Park is one of the area’s real assets. A large and beautiful park, besides the playcentre, it offers a children’s playground, outdoor exercise equipment, allotments, tennis, football and bowls. It is also adjacent to the Ealing Golf club. The park is bordered by the River Brent to the north, which acts as a haven for wildlife.
A range of playgroups, after school clubs, scouts, brownies, exercise, dance and other activities are run out of the halls at the Pitshanger Methodist church on the corner of Lindfield Road and also at St Barnabas church which is at the eastern end of Pitshanger Lane.
The church itself also offers some fabulous community events. The annual Pancake Party, Bangers and Sparklers and Frost Fair are firm favourites in every Pitshanger child’s diary. Building on from the popularity of the craft events at the Frost Fair, the church will be adding further craft activities to its schedule. The first will be “Make Mother’s Day” on March 17th 2012 from 10 am when children are invited to prepare treats to give to their mothers on Mothering Sunday the next day.
For the musically inclined, St Barnabas is also a place of pilgrimage. It hosts regular concerts at a “Wigmore Hall” standard. It boasts a magnificent 3-manual 1877 William Hill Organ which is recognised nationally as one of the finest examples of an English Romantic Organ, and has been awarded an 'historic organ certificate' by the British Institute of Organ Studies. It also has a superb Bosendorfer concert grand piano, previously used for broadcasts by the BBC.
The thriving St Barnabas choir for adults and children aged eight and over sings at regular Sunday services, and also offer other special services. The Nine Lessons and Carols candlelit Christmas service, for example, is both magical and popular – you have to be very early to be assured a decent seat! The younger members of the choir are taken through RSCM training to ensure they properly develop their technique.
Pitshanger Pictures, a film club formed to inform, entertain and strengthen community in North Ealing by screening films that stimulate conversation and discussion on questions in life, also operates out of the church hall. This club shows a range of films, and also offers community events. In 2011, the Royal Wedding screening was hugely popular with many posh frocks, fancy hats, and dress-ups. In 2012, they hope to screen the boat pageant for the Royal Jubilee.
The many cultural strands of Pitshanger Lane will be pulled together this year when the first St Barnabas Arts Festival is launched. This eagerly anticipated event will take place from 19 - 22 July 2012.
Slightly beyond the Lane, but still serving its residents is the Brentham Club. This beautiful 16-acre sports club, borders Pitshanger Park and the River Brent. It offers very well-regarded tennis, football and cricket coaching for children, and also clubs and leagues for grown-ups in football, cricket, tennis and bowls. Indoors it has a bar, café, darts, bridge, snooker and other regular social events. Its annual fireworks display is one of the best in Ealing.
Believed to be the only remaining suburban May Day parade, each year, a procession of little boys in fancy dress, the May Queen-elect, Britannia, Jack-in-the-green, and more than 150 young girls, all in white and adorned with fresh flowers is led by a brass band around the Brentham Estate and past the eastern end of Pitshanger Lane. Weather permitting, it ends at the Brentham Club with maypole and country dancing.
Recently, the Pitshanger community realised that its teenagers were not as well served with activities as they could be. The PCA and Brentham Club have recently come together to offer The Hanger, a youth club for High School students held at the Brentham Club on Thursday nights.
3rd February 2012