Stephenson Street was built in 1889 by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) for its employees.
Originally, the estate appears to have been the private property of the LNWR, simply called Railway Cottages. The Borough of Acton may have named the streets when they were adopted, choosing names like Stephenson Street, Crewe Place
and Stoke Place
for their railway associations. The Railway Institute club, and a mission church and school were added within a few years.
On this Old Oak Lane
Estate, the few densely packed streets of terraces display a characteristic layout, with small gardens, and narrow back alleys. This form is not too dissimilar from the ‘back-to-back’ estates in which many industrial workers of the 19th century were forced to live. All available space is allocated to buildings, small gardens and road access. Street trees, verges or any other than hard surfacing played no part in the original layout, although some planting, including a line of street trees on Old Oak Road, has occurred recently.
The Mission Church and parts of three terraces have been demolished. A new street, Channel Gate Road
, has been driven through the estate, demolishing the school on Old Oak Lane
, along with eight houses in Goodall Street and Stephenson Street. Channel Gate Road
provides access to the lorries servicing the Channel Tunnel Freight Depot.
The survival of Old Oak Lane
Estate in more or less its original form as a planned workers development is a rarity. Few examples remain in London.