A SHORT WALK THROUGH HAMMERSMITH AND SHEPHERDS BUSH

During the present restrictions I’m taking walks for exercise but also hoping to discover more, as I walk, about local history.

Today I’m starting out from home in Brackenbury Village, walking briskly through side streets and making sure to keep my distance from other people according to the rules.

I’m going up Iffley Road and noticing that work is commencing again on No. 41 which is being refurbished and renovated for up-to-date studio space. When I first moved to the area I was stunned by the wonderful

Iffley Road Mission
c/r Historic England

which is in a 15th century Venetian Gothic style. Quite unexpected in an ordinary residential road. I’ve learned that the original Mission Hall was built in 1883-4 by the architect H.R. Gough before the rest of the street and is Grade 2 listed. There is a blue plaque to the scenic artist John Campbell who worked here. Sadly most of the façade is at present hidden behind scaffolding but you can see the very top from the road. I can’t wait for the work to be finished!

I’m now heading down Sycamore Gardens towards Goldhawk Road. I really like the almshouses with their pleasant outside space. What I’ve learnt is that Sycamore House was built in 1950 and renovated in 2012. It is supported by what was originally Dr Edwards’s and Bishop King’s Fulham Charity and is now Hammersmith United Charities. John King was Bishop of London from 1611 to 1621. In his will he left £20 to be bestowed upon the poor of the parish at the discretion of his wife. The first distribution of “a twopenny loafe of breed and a pice of befe to eleven poor people of Fulham and fourteen poor people of Hammersmith” was made on Easter Eve 1623.

On I go across Goldhawk Road and then left along Lime Grove. The very impressive façade on the left was originally that of

Hammersmith Bath House

Hammersmith Public Baths. The full name is still proudly displayed on the façade. Apparently it opened in 1906. The website “Finding Lidos: Dive into lost Lidos” tells me that “the walls were lined with glazed tiles and the bath was converted into a public hall on some occasions often staging boxing matches.” During the first World War it served as a public food kitchen. It is now apparently converted into residential flats.

On the right are Gaumont Terrace and Gainsborough Court. I’m pleased that the original names remain from the film studios that were here from 1915. Alfred Hitchcock made “The 39 Steps” here in 1935 and David Lean and Michael Powell worked here. When I lived in Shepherds Bush I remember the impressive Gaumont Towers which dominated the surrounding streets. They were demolished in 1993. I’m surprised that I don’t remember that happening as it must have been a very noisy and dramatic affair!

Now across Uxbridge Road and left down Frithville Gardens. There are tall trees in the distance at the end of the road which look quite promising. Yes…it is a park… Hammersmith Park (although it is in Shepherds Bush!). There is a small rock garden with a bridge and a pool. An unexpectedly calm space with beautiful trees and plants. The notice board tells me that it

Photograph of White City Japanese British Exhibition

Japanese British Exhibition

was the site of the 1908 Olympic Games and the Japan British Exhibition in 1910. The rock garden is on the site of a traditional Japanese garden and it still has a Japanese feel to it. The avenue of traditional stone lanterns is unfamiliar to me: apparently it was added in 2018 together with an authentic Japanese gateway by the Japan Society, the Embassy of Japan and various local businesses and Japanese companies. The original gateway from 1910 is now in Kew Gardens as part of a Garden of Harmony. That gateway was restored in 1996 before creation of the Japanese landscape around it at Kew.

Just around the corner is the QPR football stadium. Maybe I’ll go back home another way past the stadium and down Bloemfontein Road. The South African street names are interesting: most people think that they relate to the British Commonwealth and Franco British exhibitions of 1908.

I’ve enjoyed my walk. As well as appreciating being out of doors I have learnt quite a bit about the local area. I’m sure that there is much that I have missed and so I will be walking that way again soon!

Susan Richards

II – POSTSCRIPT

Quick as a flash these old photos came to hand, hope they add some flavour if not colour.

Iffley Road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lime Grove

5 Responses to A SHORT WALK THROUGH HAMMERSMITH AND SHEPHERDS BUSH

  1. Vernon Burgess says:

    Interestingly there is a book by Philip Quinn Jones called Venetian Gothic it’s a crime thriller but I’ve yet to read it . Also interesting that the “Crow stepped gables “ or corbels can also be found in as a Belgian house style and other places where the Hanseatic league including the Netherlands went all over Europe.

  2. Ron Curant says:

    I learned to swim at Lime Grove Swimming Baths around 1947 eventually joining The Penguins Swimming club representing them all over London at Galas. Remember seeing Johnnie Dankworth and Cleo Lane perform there, plus wrestling matches. My wife and I held our wedding reception at the Chapel in Iffley Road in 1957. My first school was the original Flora Gdns which was bombed flat along with the beautiful houses in Dalling Road and Albion Gdns. our marriage was at Holy Innocents church,, we were asked if we would like the bells rung for an addition 7 shillings and 6 pence we said yes, they were beautiful, it turned out there was a record player in the office and speaker in the Belfry I was born and lived at 80 Perrers Road.. Is there a Brackenbury section on Facebook.?

  3. Gillian Thatcher de Estevez says:

    Thank you, I really enjoyed your walk as I used to live in Dunraven Road and regularly used these streets as a child. I went to Wormholt Jr school and what was then Hammersmith County girls school and used the Lime Grove Swimming pool,went to QPR ground with my brother and shopped in Shepherds Bush market on Saturdays, brings back lots of memories. I have now been living abroad for a great many years and it has been around 15 years since I last was there.

  4. John Adkins. says:

    I also learned to swim at Lime grove baths, probably around 1956. A group of us from Richmond Way and Richmond Gardens would sometimes go for a swim there. They used to put on professional wrestling there regularly as well as boxing matches. I lived in Richmond Gardens till we were move out in around 1966 for redevelopment of the site. I moved around quite a bit and 36 years ago moved to South Wales near Pontypool, been there ever since. My mother lived in the flats on the Edward Woods estate, till around 2000, so I used to visit her regularly but didn’t get to have a look around. I have ‘looked’ around using Google Earth ‘street view’ to see all the roads I knew. I should really make a proper visit one day. My old schools, Addison Gardens Infants and Lena Gardens Primary are still there, St. Clement Danes was demolished a few years back. I would have liked to visit the old schools, Clement Danes used to do visits for old boys and I put my name down only to be told that the last visit was indeed the LAST visit. I have so many memories of that area, I still meet up occasionally with an old friend from Richmond Way.

    Nice to have seen a brief visit by someone of the area.

    Cheers,

    John Adkins

  5. Lorraine says:

    Thankyou for that walk and information, really enjoyed it. Learn’t to swim at lime grove baths in 1966. I have very fond memories of growing up in Hammersmith.

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