There is evidence that Acton has been inhabited for 12,000 years. ”Actun” was an old English name meaning “Settlement among the Oaks”.
In the Middle Ages it was part of the manor of Fulham owned by the Church. In the 18th century, Acton was a health and leisure resort because of the local spa at Acton Wells. The original village was centred round St Mary’s Church on the Uxbridge Road, which was rebuilt in 1865-77. The areas was originally agricultural.
But the introduction of the Paddington Canal in 1801 and various train lines during the 19th century brought increasing industrialisation and by the 1930s Acton had become the biggest industrial centre south of Coventry. In 1900 there were 205 laundries in South Acton which was known familiarly as “Soapsuds Island”.
The Goldsmiths Company in London inherited most of East Acton in 1657 and held it for several centuries. Various members of the company have provided their names to local streets. There was also a golf course in East Acton which was buried under council housing in the 1920s but the street names there all commemorate golf in one way or another. Acton had a famous aerodrome in the early days of flight, and Great Western Railway built a garden village nearby in the 1920s.
Gunnersbury (a small area between Gunnersbury Lane, Uxbridge Road, and Gunnersbury Avenue) is an attractive area with large detached houses and gardens almost in Ealing. Gunnersbury Park is on the other side of Gunnersbury Avenue and it is close to Acton Town tube station.