Lilian Board Way

The Olympics end today giving me an opportunity to remember a young woman, raised in the London Borough of Ealing. At the age of nineteen Lillian Board won a silver medal at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics for the 400m race and followed this up with two gold medals at the European Championships in 1969. She was made an MBE in 1970 for services to sport but, sadly, Lillian’s life ended that year after she was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. There is another street named after her in the area surrounding the Munich Stadium, built for the 1972 Olympics which she didn’t live to participate in.

Lilian Board Way runs through a small housing development which was probably built in the 1980’s. The choice of street names is explained by its being close to the Ealing Northern Sports Centre. One is named after Lillian’s contemporary and fellow 1968 Olympian David Hemery. Others bear the names of cricketers Harold Larwood, Sir Alec Bedser and Patsy Hendren, footballers Eddie Hapgood, Sir Alf Ramsey and “the wizard of the dribble” Sir Stanley Matthews, athletes Sir Roger Bannister, Tessa Sanderson CBE, Dame Mary Peters DBE and Chris Brasher CBE. Even veteran BBC sports journalist Peter Dimmock CBE gets a mention. I wonder how many of those who live in these streets remember who these people are? Whoever put up the latest street sign couldn’t even get the spelling of her name right.

If you have an interest in sport I recommend a blog by a fellow west Londoner, “Thoughts from West Five”, who also touches on music, the universe and everything.

Images and text ©Albertina McNeill 2012. Please do not reproduce without permission. All rights reserved. Do not add any of these images to Pinterest or similar sites as this will be regarded as a violation of copyright.

This entry was published on August 12, 2012 at 9:42 pm. It’s filed under People, Places and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Lilian Board Way

  1. Jonathan Winsky on said:

    I have recently started a job analysing customers’ water meter readings, and in doing so, came across the street named ‘Lilian Board Way’. Out of curiosity, I typed that name into Wikipedia, but nothing came up. I then typed that name into Google, where it became clear the correct spelling of her name is with a double ‘l’. I came across this blog when searching to see if anyone had noticed the misspelling.

    It seems the street has been carrying this misspelling for several years, and possibly for as long as the street has been existent, as a look at an A-Z from around 1990 shows the street appearing as ‘Lilian Board Way’. Most websites as well as my employer’s software spell the street as per the street sign. I am sure that if people kicked up enough of a fuss, the official spelling could be corrected.

    I read about Lillian Board’s career and illness, and it is very sad about her life being cut very short.

    On a different note, it gives me great delight as a Middlesex CCC supporter to see that Patsy Hendren has a street named after him, as he is one of the greatest players in the club’s history.

    • It probably seems such a small thing but today, when so much information is available online, a letter here or there can mean the difference between fame and obscurity! Greenford will be getting a few more streets when the GSK development goes ahead so there will be opportunities for more local heroes to be commemorated. I am hoping that Harold Whitlock will be among them.

  2. RVNmax on said:

    I’ve lived on this road since birth. I can tell you the road’s name has always been spelt this way and so I assumed that’s how her actual name was spelt until I just looked it up following an appearance with a double ‘l’ on A Question of Sport. So I wonder what the story behind the change of spelling is?

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