The Drayton Court Hotel is one of the oldest pubs in Ealing, and probably the only establishment in London to have one of their cleaners go on to become a world leader. The Former Vietnamese leader, Ho Chi Minh, toiled in the kitchens of the Drayton Court Hotel in 1914, before going on to change his country's history, driving out forces from Japan, France and the United States.
As a pub, the Drayton Court Hotel may lack any romantic associations with Dick Turpin, but it more than compensates for this with its exterior, which has been in turns described as 'exquisite' and 'heavy-handed Victorian'.
In 1893, the Stephens Brothers (who also owned The Feathers Hotel in Ealing), drew up plans for 'a family and residential hotel' on the site. It was to have a frontage of 200 ft along the Avenue.
The local press raved about the building, claiming it 'will enhance rather than diminish the attractiveness of the neighbourhood in which it is located'. The exterior brickwork was white with Bath stone dressing; it had four floors and sixty rooms.
On the first floor were the family suites, and on the second the bed and sitting rooms, known as the 'Bachelors' chambers'. The hotel also had stabling, which could be entered via Gordon Road. Behind the hotel were ornamental gardens, tennis courts, a bowling green and skittle courts. In 1894, the year it opened, the price was 25 shillings a week for residents. For non-residents, dinner cost two shillings and six pence.
One attraction of the hotel was that it was easily accessible by train and close to the countryside. Although modern readers may find the reference to the hotel being a 'short distance from the pretty villages of Perivale and Greenford and the breezy hills of Horsenden and Harrow' a little odd, it should be remembered the north of the modern borough was not substantially built upon until the 1930s.
Until the 1930's, the building was still a hotel, including ballroom. It was used by local groups such as Ealing Rotary Club as a place in which to hold meetings. The building remained a hotel until the 1940's, when it became one of the area’s largest pubs, an off Licence was granted for the sale of beers and spirits to be consumed off the premises. Delivery to local customers was by bike with a large wicker basket over a small front wheel.
In more recent times it has been used as a small theatre, is still used as a regular meeting place for groups such as Ealing Rotaract, has regular salsa dances and classes, boasts a monthly well subscribed big band jazz night, has its very own folk club, hosts a successful comedy night that has seen the likes of Harry Hill, Brendan Burns, Omad Djalili and Reginald Hunter and has a reputation for running exciting themed events whilst providing the perfect pub experience both inside and outside in one of the biggest pub gardens in london.