London’s shopping streets are radically changing more then ever before.
With the pressure from online competition and so many big names going bust even before the pandemic, the last ten years have seen so many of our favourite shops and restaurants disappear.
Ealing’s main shopping streets are no different and their character is also changing fast.
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Pound shops and cafes have moved in where many a great store used to be.
We’ve gathered together just a selection of your memories about the places you knew and loved in Ealing back in the day that we know you miss so much.
One Ealing resident felt so passionately about Woolworths disappearing they commented on Facebook it was “the best shop in the world”.
Any why not! It was a gem of a store selling everything from really poor rip-off Puma trainers called Panther – remember those – to cheap kids socks and all your favourite records.
Woolies at 96 to 100 The Broadway, West Ealing, always seemed to have obscure albums and singles at very reasonable prices you couldn’t get anywhere else.
It was also brilliant for Easter eggs and remember the huge colourful bags of pick ‘n’ mix sweets?
Unfortunately the writing was on the wall for this much glorified hardware store – it was almost trying to be everything and lacked a single identity.
Ealing Broadway branch closed in December 2008 and the lovely Art Deco building is now a poundworld with plans for it to be knocked down and turned into flats.
The Mayor of London took a look at the proposal but decided it was OK for Ealing Council to make the decision.
If Ealing was once the Queen of the suburbs then Bentalls was the jewel in her crown.
In 1950 the Bentall family bought up the Eldred Sayers & Son department store in Ealing to add it to their portfolio of stores in Kingston and Worthing.
The group was on the up and later added stores in Chatham, Bracknell and Tonbridge.
The Ealing store’s claim to fame is of course that singer Dusty Springfield once worked in the Ealing branch.
Unfortunately the glory days wren’t to last as shopping habits changed and department stores went out of fashion.
It was sold to Beales in 2001 but they in turn sold it after the opening of Westway took shoppers away.
The old building now of course forms part of the Ealing Broadway which some people love and some think soulless compared to the character of the grand old stores.
This lovely little toy shop will live long in the memories of many an Ealing child.
One overawed kid reviewing the store on Yelp.com back in 2007 wrote: “I had the best time today with a slime ball in netting. When you squeeze it these plastic slime warts come out and then shrink back into the netting. It is so gross and awesome. I need one.”
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Another delighted shopper wrote: “Forgotten treasures, stocking fillers and wonderful new things, I couldn’t believe my luck when I finally got into a Hawkin’s store!
“They stock so many fantastic toys, magic tricks and goodies, that you would be hard pushed to find elsewhere, it’s a little like stepping into a child’s dream!”
Wow…it must have been good!
Unfortunately the firm got into financial problems and culled stores throughout the 2000s.
It’s now a much less exciting HSBC bank.
BHS was one of those stores I remember going to as a teenager but not wanting to admit to it.
It was the kind of place where mum bought your pants and socks and you could get reasonable clothes for half the price of Burtons or River Island.
You just couldn’t tell anyone they were from BHS. Although anyone with half decent eyesight could tell!
The store was situated at 114-110 Broadway and was loved by many Ealing families.
Since being sold in 2016, it’s been flogged several more times at a profit and it looks like housing association is now set to convert the store into 136 affordable homes, with 15,000 square feet of shops on the ground floor and a coffee shop.
Earlier this month the store was still being listed online as available to rent.
HMV has been a massive loss since it closed stores in many towns. For many of us slightly more alternative kids, it was the only thing worth going into town centres for – and that was 25 years ago!
Yes it was a chain store, but it was a great place to pick up CDs at reasonable value, always had a good selection and had lots of quirky books and music merchandise to boot.
When it closed in Ealing in 2011, an HMV spokesman said many retailers in the area had been feeling the effects of Westfield.
Your other favourites:
Ealing residents have got in touch to tell us a few other favourite stores , pubs and restaurants that are no longer with us.
Natasha Heaphy remembers Oliver’s cafe. She says she remembers being taken in there after school by her nan.
Kim Bohane mentions Crispins Wine Bar which used to be opposite Hamilton Road. She says it was “unique”. We believe her!
John Odey mentions Old Orleans in Bond Street and Anna Drew remembers The Blue Triangle club – once situated behind the Forum cinema.
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Nigel Brooks lists numerous lost Ealing haunts. He says: “Jim Marshalls music store. Squires, Lullaby of Broadway, Morris Brothers, Kay’s of Ealing, Lynes Manappeal, the list is almost endless!”
Natasha Lewis adds: “I also miss the little art supplies shop in West Ealing near the net curtain place it was. I would go in there while my daughter would go in the clothes shop for women and teens that’s now a restaurant. Then we’d both go for a Wimpy!”
Wimpy…now that’s another story!
Let us know which lost shops, pubs, restaurants or bars you miss the most and why and we’ll try to feature them in our coverage. Email [email protected]