West Ealing is the slightly-deformed cousin of the pristine Ealing Broadway, with its bright lights and shopping centres. I just wrote at length about the Ballardian nature of the area, its vast tracts of windswept scruff, its total lack of anything resembling the promised regeneration, but WordPress ate my post. I don’t really understand how, but I’m here writing the same thing as I did before, only with the benefit of hindsight enabling me to type all the quicker.
And this sense of mildly disorientating deja vu continues over into my subject, because I’ve visited the tumbleweeded wastelands of Basildon, the brutal decay of Waltham Cross, and I see more of the same here. Neglect, lack of community, lack of vitality, and therefore I can add West Ealing to that list, a nowhere sort of place, just a stretch of High Road with enough utilities to keep it alive.
Nevertheless, as with Waltham Cross, West Ealing taps into the same social stratum and turns up trumps on the charity shop front. The feel of The High Street That Time Forgot is continued in the eighties-themed (read, never renewed) Oxfam shop front that hides a good, old-fashioned Oxfam – little of your fancypants Fair Trade or the dedicated book store as up the road: this is cluttered and messy, and therefore far more enjoyable than the shiny Oxfam shops of more recent times.
It’s right by the dubious grammar of Families Relief, another joyously ramshackle affair, which almost requires clambering over to fully appreciate. There’s also a PDSA, a British Heart Foundation and a Marie Curie, all of which can be relied upon to house good bargains without getting an over-important sense of themselves.
So it’s definitely a place to pound the Broadway for an hour, and pick up some bargains: but you wouldn’t linger.
Find: West Ealing on Google Maps
Transport: West Ealing station, on First Great Western
Consume with: You’re just spitting distance from the inimitable Starvin’ Marvins here.
Visit: The market alleges to be solely dedicated to farm produce. What kind of produce doesn’t start off in a farm.
Overall rating: three balls of wool