Hanwell Carnival was established in 1898 and is believed to be the oldest in London. It was founded to raise funds for the Cottage Hospital (now Ealing Hospital). In the days before the establishment of the NHS this fund raising was even more vital than it is today.
Along with many other community events up and down the country it foundered during the Second World War only being revived in 1961. Mr Billy Smart, the famous circus showman who had a long association with Hanwell, kindly consented to be President of the 1961 Carnival. In addition to his very considerable advice and practical help, he generously provided a spectacular firework display that evening and personally attended during the day by officially opening the event.
12 October 1898
Similar events were held in Southall in this year. It was a cycle carnival with a lantern parade. Eighty competitors in costumes assembled at the Hanwell football field ( Elthorne Park now ) which was decorated with fairy lamps where prizes were awarded to the best persons and bicycles. The parade route was; along Boston Road, Lower Boston Road High Street ( Uxbridge Road ), Station Road, Golden Manor, Church Road, Uxbridge Road to ” Ye Olde Hatte ” pub and then back to the field via Uxbridge Road, Broadway, Hanwell, Boston Road to the football field. Collections for the cottage hospital fund ( opened 1900 ) was made en route. The intention of the executive was to make it a ” hardy annual ”
16 September 1899
A cycle carnival in aid of the cottage hospital. The Broadway was decorated with flags and streamers with traders fully involved. Hanwell football field was used for sport first, then events followed as last year.
28 July 1900
This year it was held at Churchfields in celebration of our victories in South Africa in the Boer War. Children had sports and a tea with adults enjoying concerts. The parade was looked upon as a pageant with collections for the local war fund and cottage hospital. The parade took the route of Broadway, Uxbridge Road and all the chief side roads which were decorated and back to Churchfields where prizes were given The entrance of Churchfields was decorated by poles with garlands of imitation flowers. It was a great success.
31 August 1901
The cottage hospital was celebrated by a parade and a garden party. The parade consisted of friendly and benefit societies of Hanwell and the neighbourhood. It assembled in the Broadway at 2.30 pm and proceeded along the Uxbridge Road to the “Half Way House ” pub, returning along Grosvenor Road, Oaklands Road, Boston Road, Lower Boston Road, up the High Street to the Broadway. At 6.30 pm the parade re- assembled outside the ” Royal Victoria ” pub, marched across the Broadway, Golden Manor to the ” Park Hotel ” pub. The Hanwell Town band and others played. From 7 to 10 pm dancing took place in the grounds of the Park Hotel.( corner of Greenford Avenue and Tennyson Road.)
There is no record of any fetes or carnivals between 1902 and 1921, only band competitions.
23 September 1922
In the week prior to the carnival (first since WWI ) there was a allotment show, an open market, cricket match and a wireless exhibition. The parade assembled outside Elthorne Park at 2.30 pm. It consisted of Hanwell Town Band, fire brigades from Hanwell, Acton, Brentford, Heston – Isleworth and Southall, hospital officials and medical staff, Hanwell councillors and representatives of churches. It moved through the principal streets, Elthorne Avenue, Boston Road, The Broadway, Station Road, Alwyne Road, Manor Court Road, Church Road, Cuckoo Lane, Greenford Avenue, Church Road, Cherington Road, Uxbridge Road, Grosvenor Road, Seward Road, and Elthorne Park Road finishing at the Elthorne park gate. They sold 7,000 to 8,000 toys and a hundred weight of confetti on the three hour route. Prizes were awarded for decorations on motor and horse vehicles and cycles. Simultaneously with the parade, sports were carried at the park. The main feature was a 10 mile road race. Over £700 was realized for hospital funds.
14 July 1923
Same as last year and gave about £400 to the hospital funds.
5 July 1924
The carnival week started with a service at Churchfields at 8 pm assisted by the Cuckoo School band and Union Church choir. A dance was arranged at St. Anne’s school on Monday. Novelties and bargains at the open market on Tuesday. Wednesday was devoted to children sports at Elthorne Park. A firm was at the Grand Theatre (Diamond Court now) on Thursday. The fete started on Friday evening, going on to Saturday and Monday. The parade consisted of more than 50 vehicles, parties and tableaux. The Saturday evening was wound up with fireworks. An open air thanksgiving service for the week was held in the Broadway. This fete and fair made £507 profit.
13 June 1925
1930 In the week before the parade there was children’s sports in the afternoon at Elthorne Park and dancing on Friday evening at Elthorne Park with music by the Hanwell Town Prize band. Mr. Smart’s fair which included coconut shies, swings, roundabouts, chairplanes and a scenic railway was held on Friday night, Saturday and Monday. The parade was the same as 1922. On Sunday evening a open thanksgiving service organised by the local churches at the Broadway. £479 8s 5d was given to the hospital fund.
21 June 1926
The parade followed the same pattern at 3.30 pm headed by the Hanwell Silver Prize Band. The ” fun of the fair “was even more elaborate and extensive scale than usual. A novel addition was a motor cycle football match in a large enclosure. Twelve competitors entered a beauty competition. The winner won £5 5s, second a dress and third £1 1s. Fireworks finished the evening. On Sunday evening a thanksgiving service was held in the open air at the Broadway and at Elthorne Park at the same time.
25 June 1927
The Central London Schools competed in the young peoples sports meeting was held on Thursday evening at Drayton Green, West Ealing. A performance by the Town Band in Hanwell Broadway never occurred owing to a motor accident the previous year. Admission on Saturday was 6 pence for adults and free for children. The Saturday events were the same as 1922.
9 June 1928
The carnival started on Monday 4th with a performance in Hanwell Broadway by the Town Band. On Wednesday a dance was held at the Park Theatre. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday the popular fete was held at Elthorne Park which was unusually large. In addition to Mr. Smart’s professional showmen, there was a number of stalls and side shows like hoop – la, darts and coconut shys. On Friday evening the main features was push ball matches, a band concert and fireworks. On Saturday there was two military displays given by a squadron of the 10th Hussars. Although there was no parade, because all available dates had been booked in the Metropolitan area, the police would not allow two collections on the same day it was still a successful event.
22 June 1929
The four day carnival started on Thursday evening with a young people’s sports meeting. Saturday afternoon’s parade of 45 entries threaded its way on the normal route from and back to the park. The evening was mainly a military gymkhana. On Sunday evening a thanksgiving service at Elthorne park. On Monday the fair continued.
5 July 1930
Same as 1922.
18 July 1931
1931Same as 1922. £507 was made for the hospital fund.
11 June 1932
On Wednesday was children’s sports at Elthorne Park. On Friday at the Park Theatre an amateur dramatic society gave a performance. The Saturday events was the same as 1922.On Sunday evening a united thanksgiving service was held at 8 pm in Hanwell Broadway.
24 June 1933
The event took its normal pattern. Smart’s fair was bigger than usual on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
23 June 1934
The event took its normal pattern. Local tradesmen sent decorated vehicles and carts in parade.
21 June 1935
A mile long parade started from Framfield Road touring 16 streets in north and south wards and broke up at Manor Court Road. These were cyclists wearing fancy cloths on decorated cycles. First baby show. The carnival queen was crowned on 31st August in Walpole Park where the fete was held. Mr. Smart’s mammoth fair was a big attraction. The Hanwell Silver Prize band gave a concert. There was dancing on the green until 10.30 pm and ended with a magnificent display of fireworks.
20 June 1936
1933 More than 50 tableaux and exhibits made up the main body of the parade that started and ended at Elthorne Park which took two hours. The coronation of the carnival queen was at the park. A baby show, boxing, wrestling, judo, balloon races, a special children’s hour and finished up with a searchlight / fireworks display. Three thanksgiving services were held on Sunday. £150 was made this year.
31 July 1937
This year the annual fete was held at the Viaduct Fields on Friday and Saturday only, because the council was beautifying Elthorne Park. The carnival queen was crowned at the fete. It was not a success as there was no parade or baby show. A thanksgiving service was held at Elthorne Park.
18 June 1938
This was held at Elthorne Park. The parade started at Clitherow Avenue and Haslemere Avenue and took 2 hours to complete. The route was; along Boston Road, Station Road, Campbell Road, Church Road, Cuckoo Lane, and Greenford Avenue. Back along Church Road, to Cherington Road and thence through Uxbridge Road, Grosvenor Road, Seward Road and Elthorne Park Road to the park. Mr. George Formby, ( the comedian of the era ) opened the fete with fireworks to finish it. A thanksgiving service was held at the park on Sunday.
17 June 1939
Followed the same form as the previous years.
25 May 1942
The fete was held at Ravenor Park, Greenford. This was the first big scale fete in this part of the town. The proceeds were divided between the two local hospitals. The Mayor’s joint hospital committee was mainly the Ealing hospital with Hanwell Cottage hospital co -operating. £300 was taken at the gates in admission fees. The fete queen was crowned.
22 August 1942
The fete was again held at Ravenor Park, was opened by Tommy Trinder, a famous comedian. Against the professional background of Smart’s fair a programme of events including sports and various other money raising activities were conducted by friends of the Ealing and Hanwell Cottage hospitals. Dancing in the evening at Coston’s Senior school finished the day.
To see personal accounts and pictures from previous Carnivals go to the Previous Carnivals page
Do you have any pictures or memories from these early carnivals? If you do please send them to [email protected]