By Louise Penn for her blog. Louise is part of our Famous Names project.
Ealing, West London, is the home of the iconic Ealing Studios, and during the stewardship of Will Barker, Basil Dean, and Michael Balcon, produced some of the most iconic and well-loved films to come out of British cinema, especially in the 1940s and 1950s.
In more recent years the studios have become a place where both films and television have been created, and you can still see the ‘White House’ adminstration building as you walk from High Street towards St Mary’s Road.
For the last ten years Ealing town centre has not had a permanent cinema; there is the local Film Club, which meets in the Town Hall, and there has been a travelling van showing up-to-date titles, first on Haven Green, and later within the perimeter of the demolished Empire/ABC.
There have been plans afoot for some time to develop a lifestyle quarter within Ealing, emcompassing retail, residential, and cultural spaces (including that long-awaited replacement cinema). This is where the Famous Names from Ealing Studios comes in.
The brainchild of Tony Moore, this project now has a dedicated public Facebook group and has attracted interest from Ealing Council, Ealing Regeneration, Ealing Highways, Rupa Huq M.P., Ealing Today, the Ealing History group, Ealing Department of Works, Talking Pictures TV, with other potential supporters already approached.
Ealing, with its importance not just to the history of cinema, but also to television (Monty Python filmed many sketches within the borough, Downton Abbey’s ‘downstairs’ scenes were all filmed at the Studios), and to music (‘The Ealing Club’ was instrumental to the careers of The Who, The Rolling Stones, and Cream), should be a popular stop on the tourist trail, and a Walk of Fame would attract interest, investment, and a financial boost for the area between Ealing Broadway, Bond Street, and Mattock Lane.
Many performers have been linked with Ealing or been in residence here: Sid James, Tony Hancock, George Formby, Gracie Fields, Dick Emery, Earl Cameron, Freddie Mercury, Dusty Springfield, Julian Clary, Arthur Haynes, Googie Withers, Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Sam Kydd, director Steve McQueen, Matt Monro, Liz Sladen, John Gregson, Stewart Granger, Maurice Chevalier, Gloria Swanson, Tommy Trinder, Will Hay, Ivor Novello, Harry Fowler, Jack Hawkins, Joan Greenwood, Gordon Jackson, and Mervyn Johns, to mention just a few.
What better way to remember them, and put Ealing firmly on the destination map?
The Famous Names from Ealing project needs publicity, awareness, and the backing of the local community and business owners to make this work. Please consider joining the project – for more information follow the link above to the Facebook group, or contact Tony Moore directly by Email
se Penn, for her blog that reaches 16,000 people.