EMERY WALKER’S HOUSE ONLINE TALKS

15 February, 2021

Many of you will have visited Emery Walker’s House but did you know that during lockdown they are running a series of virtual talks? There is also an online quiz. Do look on the website . The next talk is about May Morris.  She was a lecturer, writer, editor, accomplished designer and jeweller, champion of women’s rights, but it is her work as an embroiderer that is considered to be her greatest achievement.


THE FUTURE OF OUR LOCAL ARCHIVES – ACT NOW

26 January, 2021

We have received an email from Annabelle May that brings news of an imminent decision to vacate Lilla Husset and store the archives elsewhere, as yet unspecified.

Members will know that the FHHS is not at all poitical or even a campaigning society but you will all know that the font of knowledge about the borough is the LBHF Archive.  Although some records are now at the London Metropolitan Archives or The  National Archive the bulk of our history and much of its cultural depth is contained in the Archive.  There is of course the local history and ready access archives of books, photos and some maps in the recently created archives space above Hammersmith Library.  The real gems and source material are contained in the purpose built archive storage at Lilla Husset.  This was a planning gain when its parent building was authorised; the lease has now run out and rent is being charged.

The archive storage is a vital resource for historians and local residents but also provides an important function for many professionals.  Drainage plans and old maps are regularly accessed by architects and planning consultants, residents wishing to make alterations can research their building and the rich history of their immediate location, although not available instantly it can be accessed through the archivist.   Just imagine the rigmarole if this storage is held remotely and even worse if its contents were to be managed and controlled by another organisation.  Even LBHF councillors would find this difficult and may find charges for holding the archives and for accessing them could outweigh the current rent. See the Local Government Acts for their responsibilities. This was an issue under the Conservatives but now recurs under Labour so all politicians appear to be uncaring where their, and our, archives are concerned.

So  please act now.  Write to the leader of the Council, to your local Councillors  of all parties and to your MP and make sure they know that we care about our boroughs’ history and their archives.

Here is Annabelle’s email in full.

Dear All

By now, you will be aware of plans made to move the Archives out of the Borough.
These plans were never officially communicated to the Archives Group or any other part of the community, and have not been consulted on.
Nevertheless a notice has now appeared on the council website under Forthcoming Decisions with the heading Archives Relocation.  This states ‘first published 5/01/21’ and then says  ‘for determination 2/02/21’. They do not convey their intention to move outside the borough, but this is what is now on the table.
 
These proposals seem to have emerged from the finance and property departments, who have decided not to renew the lease of the purpose-built Lilla Huset building. Sadly, they demonstrate their total ignorance of the crucial role of archives and of the council’s legal obligations.  They are also clearly unaware of the huge upheaval across the borough six years ago, when the previous administration attempted to close the Archives altogether, resulting in the much diminished service we now experience. No background papers for these proposals have been published.
 
I intend to write to the Leader Steve Cowan to inform him about this situation and to express our opposition.  In the LBHF  Report for 2020-21 he pledges to find permanent gallery space for the Cecil French collection. But keeping the Archives in the Borough is far more important to the whole community.
 
Meanwhile please inform your local groups, and write to your local councillors to object and to insist that if this move is to go ahead new premises must be found in the borough.  Surely some of the many developers on the scene could contribute?  (The Cabinet Member listed on the website is Cllr Max Schmid – he is Finance – no mention of Education, Arts and Culture, Planning etc etc …)
Happy New Year – we hope.
Annabelle
 
 
Annabelle May
Chair, H&F Archives and Local Studies Group

MAYA’S WALKS & A NEW MAP

14 November, 2020

Like so many of our articles recently we are indebted to Maya Donelan for this charming essay.  I hope we all can find in this the cheerfulness and inspiration to keep active yet safe during this period of lockdown.  It is followed by a new map of quiet walking routes through London. (With a challenge for any techies!)

Three Cemeteries in West London

Earlier this year, when the world started to go mad, I suddenly realised how lucky I was to live in Fulham within walking distance of three cemeteries: Fulham Cemetery, Margravine Cemetery and the Brompton Cemetery. What wonderful choices for the daily walk.

Fulham Cemetery, established in 1865, with an entrance lodge (being converted into a private house) and its remaining chapel (now somewhat derelict) in situated between the Fulham Palace Road and Munster Road, Fulham. Designated as a Garden of Rest, it is a pleasant green space, with good trees. Sadly there are no spectacular monuments, but there is a touching area of very modest headstones from the 1940s. I think its chief interest is the very large number of WWI military graves, not arranged as usual in neat serried ranks within an enclosure, but scattered higgledy-piggledy throughout the cemetery. They are there as the former Fulham Hospital just up the road, now the site of the Charing Cross Hospital, was used as a military hospital during WWI. The soldiers were buried before the War Graves Commission was set up. It was obviously decided to mark their graves in situ, and not to dig them up and move them to a formal setting.

The Hammersmith or Margravine Cemetery at Barons Court, now also a Garden of Rest, was opened in 1869 by the Hammersmith Vestry. The cemetery contains a recently restored and listed ‘Receiving House’, unique in London. It has a few distinctive monuments – the most striking are the green bronze memorial to George Broad, who owned the foundry which made the Eros statue at Piccadilly Circus and that of ‘Abe Smith’ an Australian gold prospector, who died in 1923, depicted in his hut. This is just close to the J. Lyons & Co. WWI and II war memorials. The company was based at Cadby Hall in Hammersmith from 1894, until the 1980s when Cadby Hall was demolished and the great company began to disintegrate. Margravine is a very’ rural’ seeming cemetery – lots of open green grass areas, with few memorials, carpeted with bluebells and later cow parsley in the spring – a total joy!

And then of course, the Brompton Cemetery – one of London’s great marvels, loved and cherished by a wide range of people, with its imaginatively planned layout, splendid architecture and fascinating tombs. A real urban cemetery – but its wonderful trees and grassed walkways give a refreshingly open and relaxing atmosphere even in the heat of the summer. Now in autumn with the leaves falling from the trees and the undergrowth cut back – one can see all the memorials in full glory.

One week I went walking in the cemetery on three occasions, all ending in coffee with friends at the well-designed coffee shop, at the North Entrance- a great addition to the Cemetery and its delights.

On every visit I discover interesting memorials I had never noticed before. That is the joy of Brompton – every walk, in every weather brings forth new delights, or highlights new and never before noticed vistas. I am longing for the work on the silver numbered discs, designating famous or interesting people, to be completed, as at the moment it is somewhat complicated to attribute them to specific tombs. But it is a really good project and many congratulations to those who are working on it.

Brompton is a very west London cemetery – full of past local dignitaries, names that are well known to Kensington and Fulham local historians and also, for someone of my generation, friends of my Kensington dwelling parents. I have come across many memorials to those I remember from my childhood who are buried here with their distinctive Russian Orthodox monumental crosses.

Without the stimulus, both physical and intellectual of these cemetery walks, I would have found the last months very difficult to cope with – thanks to these sad, but wonderful places, so many of us have found pleasure and delight and learned to appreciate the treasure of cemeteries and their passed away occupants. 

We thank the staff and volunteers so much for all their efforts to keep the cemeteries open to the public throughout these difficult months

Maya Donelan November 2020

As a footnote I have included a new map which is the product of a collaboration to create a Network of walks in London that take quiet and interesting routes.  It comes in both physical and digital versions do see their website the aim is to encourage people to walk rather than tube or bus it.  The network starts at West Brompton Cemetery or Holland Park so on the edge of FHHS patch.

The challenge is for those adept with a smartphone or coding to perhaps plot some walks in our area noting points of Historical interest.  This would make a good school technology project.

Footways – Central London BETA – Map 


MORE BOOKS & EMERY WALKER TALK

29 October, 2020

We have had a number of mentions of Zoffany recently and Vernon Burgess tells me that the definitive book is ‘Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed‘ | ISBN 9780300176049 it is ferociously expensive even online but may be available second hand or from libraries.

I have once before sung the praises of the London Topographical Society and you may recall that one of their books about London Bridge prompted the brilliant illustrated talk by Dorian Gerhold that many attended. As a member of the society you receive a copy of their newsletter and any book published in the year. A serious boon for anyone interested in the history of London presented through Maps and documents; do have a look at their website. I have just received ‘London Parish Maps to 1900‘ a massive tome which is an illustrated catalogue of maps ordered by parishes. Although it just contains the bare information about most maps for some it provides snippets of information and there is a brief detail about the main personalities involved with the maps. For Fulham and Hammersmith I learned that Frederick Crace (1779-1859) an interior decorator who worked on Woburn Abbey, Carlton House, Brighton Pavilion, Windsor and Buckingham Palace lived in Hammersmith. On his death his collection of topographical prints and commisioned paintings of historic buildings was bought by the British Museum: the maps are now in the British Library. At a less elevated level the Vestry Clerk at Fulham in 1898 was suspended from his duties and is believed to have absconded to America! There are a number of coloured illustrations of the maps commissioned by the two Vestries to help in their work and mention is made of the FHHS and its predecessors’ publications. Some of the maps are in the LMA and not held in our archives so perhaps an excuse for a trip to the LMA and lunch in the Gunmakers when the restrictions are lifted.

Westminster Archives are publicising a video talk about the Blitz which is linked to a book by retired professor Mark Clapton called ‘The Blitz Companion‘ check out the video and details of the book are in the link.

Emery Walker Trust has again been busy and in addition to its virtual tour and other resources it will present a talk about the Islamic objects in the collection. This will be on 7 November at 1500 (3:00PM).

As the restrictions are tightening again we will try to keep up a flow of items of interest so do link to our front page for notification of new posts. Meanwhile stay safe.


FULHAM IN WWII AND A TASTE FROM THE PAST

26 September, 2020
Fulham in the Second World War

Fulham in the Second World War

Given the current largely adverse BLM presence in the news it is encouraging to hear of  kindness in Fulham during the war. Under Fire: Black Britain in Wartime 1939-45 by Stephen Bourne (ISBN: 9780750994354) is a book that includes just such a story. It was reviewed recently in the ‘i’ newspaper here. For those who have not already seen our publication Fulham in WWII there are a few copies left, see our publications page.

On a rare COVID safe visit to the outside space of the Captain Cook pub I spotted a bit of living history.  Still in use as a door stop this tin of Nuttall’s Mintoes brought back memories of a Yorkshire childhood – admittedly not really history – yet.  Notice the use of the old coinage and Imperial weights. Eight old pence per quarter pound or 4 ounces. About £0.03p for 113 grams much less prosaic!

II

As a postscript those with an interest in the first item might like to look up LBHF’s Newsletter article on Edmonia Lewis a well travelled and impressive black sculptress who died in Hammersmith.


MORE CONNECTIONS

10 September, 2020

We have another set of connections from two of our committee.

Vernon Burgess (who is also the Historian for All Saints Church Fulham) has found another connection between Zoffany and Fulham and Hammersmith with this painting………

Colonel Mordaunt’s Cock Match although a gruesome subject and possibly full of double entendres and other dubious images this was painted by Zoffany c.1784.  Do look at the picture here and the extensive discussion of the subject matter.  In brief it shows:

Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab Wazir (governor) of Awadh and Colonel John Mordaunt, an employee of Britain’s East India Company, on the left in white and also has Zoffany with his arm over the white armchair.

Wikipedia states that “Mordaunt was the illegitimate and nearly illiterate son of the 4th Earl of Peterborough by Robiniana Brown. (See “ Peterborough House” by Sue Pierson FHHS publications for more details).

The colonel had managed to be assigned to Warren Hastings and through him he was appointed head of security. His real role however included organising entertainments. Mordaunt and his employer were said to have shown the same low tastes in entertainment. Even at that time, cockfighting was not well regarded in British society. Mordaunt had arranged for British birds to be brought to India, where he used them to take on local cockerels.”

The Zoffany painting was commissioned for Warren Hastings by his private secretary a certain John Belli.

Now a certain Colonel John Cockerell who also had had a successful career with the East India company enters the story, he had a sister Elizabeth Cockerell who married for a second time the private secretary John Belli, and of course Colonel John’s brother was none other than Samuel Pepys Cockerell, who did some architectural work for Hastings.

Samuel himself would of course be working on restoring Fulham Palace for the Howleys many years later .

Samuel Pepys Cockerell was the great great nephew of Samual Pepys the diarist who himself in the past had visited Fulham Palace and commented on the fine botanical specimens there of Bishop  Compton. Samuel Pepys was a former pupil of St Paul’s school, when it was near the cathedral.

Why was he working for the Howleys?, well John and Elizabeth Belli’s 1st daughter was Mary Frances and she married on 29 Aug 1805, to certain a William Howley , a private tutor in Somerset who in 1809 was appointed regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University and then he became Bishop of London in 1813. Mary was the “Howley heiress” refered to by Fulham Palace tour guides, inherited from her fathers successful East India company career that helped fund the alterations to Fulham Palace and the loss of the crenellations of Terricks improvements c. 1777.

Furthermore the builder employed by Cockerell was a certain Henry Holland . Henry Holland Snr, (20 July 1745– 17 June 1806) was an architect to the English nobility and was born in Fulham, where his son , also Henry, helped run the building firm constructing several garden designs for a well known gardener architect. Henry senior ,along with other members of the family are buried in All Saints Church yard and Henry’s son married Bridget, the daughter of Lancelot Brown known as “Capability Brown “ , who was of course the famous landscape architect we have just referred to. He lived sometime on Hammersmith Mall , and left in 1764 to live at Hampton Court. He was responsible for developing over 200 landscapes, many of them now National Trust, and has a recent statue up by Distillery Wharf near to Hammersmith bridge.

Bridget was also interred in the Holland tomb.  There is a separate memorial in All Saints church to her.

Incidentally Lancelot Brown was born only about five years after Henry Compton’s famous Gardener – George London died. London was responsible for many of the shortlived baroque Gardens in English country houses’, and hewas buried along with his wife in All Saints church, in 1712.

Jane Bowden-Dan also commented on the Zoffany of the Sharp family saying it would be good as part of a forthcoming Temporary Exhibition at Fulham Palace celebrating Bishop Beilby Porteus and his circle, which included the Sharps.

She found the mention of Kensington Gravel Pits timely having just returned from Caroline MacMillan’s guided ‘Notting Dale’ walk where the gravel pits, pigeries and brick kilns were mentioned.  Apparently one kiln remains standing.

Jane returned via the childhood home of Sir Paul Gordon Fildes OBE FRS at Woodland House, Melbury Road, Holland Park W14, now owned by Robbie Williams! It was built for his father Sir Luke Fildes, a portrait artist, by Richard Norman Shaw. Jane’s connection is that she has been investigating a photo album rescued from a skip at her block of flats on the Thames that she has discovered belonged to Sir Paul who was a Pathologist and Microbiologist at the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar during WWl and at Porton Down in WWll working on Anthrax.
Phew!! I hope you survived that monumental feat of name dropping, I have never added so many tags to a post.

ART AGAIN CONNECTING TO HISTORY

29 August, 2020

Again venturing forth a visit to the Tate Britain Gallery (Buses 211 or 14/414 then 360) produced two more surprising connections.  We walked through the 1540 to 1890 Collection Route where we found many Turners and Hogarths amongst the Constables, Stubbs and others when we noticed an oil by John Linnell in 1811-12 entitled Kensington Gravel Pits! This reminds us all just how different our area was only 200 years ago.  Investigation reveals that there was a hamlet of this name roughly where Notting Hill Gate is now this map from British Vision may help.  Of  course much of our area was market gardens and nurseries at this time.

Labourers in gravel pits

Further into the gallery we strayed into British Art 1930 to the present and again were amazed to see Hanging Gardens of Hammersmith No 1.  Having never connected Hammersmith with Babylon this deserved further investigation. Victor Pasmore was a conscientious objector during WWII and this was produced 1944-7 at 16 Hammersmith Terrace and is the view down his garden to the Thames.

As a result of last week’s post we have been notified of a talk on William Morris by Maxine Morgan 1:30 to 4:00PM on 12 September at William Morris Meeting Rooms, 267 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19.  Face Masks are required and social distancing measures will be in place.

 

 

 


SOUTH PARK FULHAM

25 August, 2020

Any follower of this website can hardly avoid mention of Charlotte Sulivan.  This article from the Fulham Society archives sets out one of her major projects to benefit the people of Fulham.  I need hardly mention that Sue Pierson’s splendid book is still available.  This subject is also current as work is underway on a new Arts and Community Centre due to open later this year.  No doubt many have found fresh air and space here during the lockdown.

Charlotte Sulivan (1824-1911) lived at Broom House in Broomhouse Lane, opposite the Elizabethan Schools, which were built by Charlotte’s father, Laurence Sulivan, in 1855.

Charlotte was obviously deeply concerned with the welfare of the people of Fulham and was indeed the greatest benefactor of the area. Among her many benefactions were the encouragement, building of and endowment of St Dionis Church, St Matthew’s Church, St Michael’s Mission Church on Townmead Road, and Christ Church. On Parsons Green she started the Ray of Hope Coffee Club as an alternative to the local pubs and the Parsons Green Working Men’s Club, in Peterborough Road, among many others.

In 1894 she started negotiations with the Fulham Vestry (the precursor of the Borough Council) with regard to some 10 acres of land in the neighbourhood of Wandsworth Bridge Road to form a park – these fell through as the Vestry did not have the money to take up her offer. However in 1903 the Council (established in 1900) bought 21 acres of Southfields Farm from Charlotte for ‘a public recreation ground’. . The land had been part of the Sulivan private lands though it had been leased to Messrs Veitch & Sons of Chelsea as a nursery for fruit trees. They paid £40.000, a “staggering figure’, according to the Fulham Chronicle. This became South Park. She imposed various conditions on the sale, one of which is that the Council should erect no dwelling houses or buildings except as necessary or appropriate for use as a Recreation Ground or Park.

When Miss Sulivan sold the land, she stipulated that the Peterborough Road side should be enclosed by a solid brick wall to ensure that the park was kept separate from the grounds of her house.

The Park was laid out for cricket, tennis and other field games’. There was a bandstand with dressing rooms underneath. There was a gymnasium with separate departments for boys and girls, plus swings, a see-saw and a giant stride (a pole with a rope hanging on it on which you could swing – allowing the user to make giant strides). The greenhouse, which was part of the earlier garden was demolished in the 1980s.

South Park’s first park-keeper was John Eckett who lived in the gardener’s lodge whilst Miss Gertrude Eckett is noted as being at the refreshment room. This was in an extension to the North Lodge at the corner of Clancarty Road and Peterborough Road. The lodge is currently derelict, as is the refreshment room although this, with a conservatory extension, was used as a nursery school for a number of years. Until the 1980s James Veitch’s greenhouses remained a feature in this corner of the park. They were used partly to grow plants for use in borough parks but also included a traditional conservatory with hothouse plants and a water feature. Now demolished, all that remains is a brick wall parallel to Clancarty Road at the end of the rose garden, now the community garden, in which only a few roses remain..

World War I saw military occupation of the park and allotments and in 1915 South Park became the training ground for three Fulham Brigades of the Royal Field Artillery. In World War II, 11000 cu. yards of sand was dug from South Park and surrounds to fill sandbags needed to protect key buildings and areas. Air raid shelters were created near the present cricket pavilion. In 2004 South Park celebrated its centenary.

After the war there were a series of ad hoc and generally unsympathetic alterations and in more recent years the park steadily deteriorated due to vandalism and inadequate maintenance, overall control or vision for the park. Many of the attractive features including the greenhouses, the terra- cotta terrace walls, and the public lavatories have either gone or greatly deteriorated. Extensive campaigning by local residents eventually produced an improvement to maintenance standards and eventually some physical improvements, chiefly the restoration of the perimeter wall and the main approach through the Clancarty Road double gates, and the complete refurbishment of four of the tennis courts. South Park is now an important sports park and contains the only public cricket pitch in the borough, which is much used in the summer. In 2008 funds were finally made available by Hammersmith & Fulham Council to pay for the development of a Master Plan which is currently under way. A users’ Group was set up and this has now expanded into the Friends of South Park which formally came into being in January 2009. www.friendsofsouthpark.co.uk

Thanks to Sue Pierson for help from her book Charlotte Sulivan (1824-1911), H&F Historical Society, revised 2011. Copies available from Sue Pierson- sue@lancepierson.org

This first appeared for the Fulham Society October 2016


VENTURING OUT – LOOKING FOR TURNER FOUND ZOFFANY

19 August, 2020

As the rules relax we are all venturing out a little, perhaps visits to family or favourite places.  Yesterday a trip to test how busy the transport system was and how a large gallery was coping with the rules proved to be a pleasant surprise.  A couple of buses, mainly the 11; which were only allowed to carry 30 passengers and thus we were very well spaced, took us to Trafalgar Square.  Again this tourist hot spot was hardly busy.  A free timed slot at the National Gallery gave us access to one of three routes through the standing exhibitions.  We chose route C for its Turners but were delighted to see them juxtaposed with Constables and many others – largely landscapes.  West London can claim Turner as one of its own and some members may have visited his home at Twickenham now newly restored and re-opened under COVID restrictions but with a small exhibition of his oil sketches see details.  It was a great visit but the first surprise was seeing Johan Zoffany’s painting of “The Sharp Family” on their barge Apollo at Fulham. Photography was allowed but this picture is on loan from a private collection so a rare treat that gives a feel for the area and the times. Granville Sharp was a respected resident of Fulham who helped found the colony of Sierra Leone and used his position to campaign for the abolition of slavery.  The second surprise was to see a Canaletto of the Rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens. Noticing the Ranelagh connection and delved a little deeper as had never heard of the Rotunda, which was demolished in 1805.

So well worth a visit to the National and to Turner’s House.  We even managed a snack lunch at the National’s cafe.

Talking of re-opening the London Metropolitan Archive will re-open with restrictions from 7 September details on their website. Likewise the V&A is open and the British Museum is re-opening too. So do venture forth and take in some more History and perhaps lunch. Let us all know if you find any historical gems.

II – POSTSCRIPT

For those wishing to find out more about Granville Sharp there is this entry on Historic England’s website and of course Wikipedia.

See Vernon Burgess’ comment below.


JULY MISCELLANY

23 July, 2020

Apologies for not keeping up the regular flow of posts.  Here are a few items of interest to keep you going. Also I will do answers to the June quiz and try to develop a new one, but all in good time.

Those of us who visited Brompton Cemetery on a guided tour or those who regularly use it for exercise or a traffic free short cut will be interested to peruse the Royal Parks website as Brompton is the only nationalised cemetery, as we learnt, and now managed by them. A lengthy list of past celebrities with a page about them, try Reginald Warneford VC, Adelaide Nielson, Augustus Mears and Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale. A further link gives details of the Cemetery in Film and the extensive Conservation Project.  For those that haven’t yet visited there is also a recent video of a walk in Brompton Cemetery on YouTube. Thanks to Vernon for the links.

We all know of Fulham Palace and some of its history Maya spotted this gem in Spitalfields Life  now featuring in the LBHF Libraries blog.  It is a charming photo-essay of a visit to the palace.  A delight to gardeners too.

Despite most of us being able to get out now there is still a little time for reading; my latest find is The AtoZ of History of

AtoZ History of London

The AtoZ History of London

London ISBN 9780008351762.  Not a deep history as it covers so much ground but it takes themes and follows them through maps.  Fascinating although the white print on a scarlet ground on one or two pages is hard for older eyes it is nevertheless a good read to dip in and out of.