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!


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.


EMERY WALKER TRUST

8 July, 2020

No apologies for returning to a jewel in Hammersmith’s history.

Emery Walker’s House has launched a series of online talks and tours to keep people in touch with the Arts and Crafts home at 7 Hammersmith Terrace.

Stunning photo courtesy of Emery Walker Trust

Hammersmith Terrace from river

What a stunning photograph! Courtesy of the Trust. Here are the dates and subjects.

The Doves Press

July 9th at 3pm

The Doves Press was the most influential twentieth century typeface to emerge from the Arts and Crafts movement.  Yet the two friends who created it fell out spectacularly.  This talk will tell the story of the creation of the Press, its loss and eventual recovery.

Past Residents of Hammersmith Terrace

July 30th at 3pm

Hammersmith Terrace is a Georgian terrace of seventeen houses which boasts three blue plaques. But that barely scratches the surface of its notable residents. Meet eleven more extraordinary people who lived here.

In Search of Emery Walker with Simon Loxley September 19th at 3pm

Author and graphic designer Simon Loxley discusses his latest book Emery Walker: Arts, Crafts and a World in Motion. Simon will paint a picture of Walker, his work and his world, a man who professionally and socially seemed to ‘know everyone’. He will re-examine what has been written about him, and include his research of archive material, much of which came from Walker’s home at 7 Hammersmith Terrace, where he lived from 1903 to 1933.

 Book your places here emerywalker.org.uk/copy-of-events.

Emery Walker’s House has been closed since March, so their usual visitor numbers and income from tickets and giftshop purchases for this period have plummeted from 90% bookings to zero. The Trust has made available a virtual and guided tours of the house and riverside garden on their website. Emerywalker.org.uk also has a wealth of information on the house and the people who lived there, and an online shop selling embroidery kits, handmade gift cards and other items so do drop in for a virtual visit during closure.

The tours are free, and the interactive talks are via Zoom by donation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


TWO STORIES OF HOUSE HISTORY

7 July, 2020

The first by kind permission of the Fulham Society.

AN ARTIST’S STUDIO HOUSE – 8 AVONMORE ROAD, W14

“You haven’t got an otter, then?” This surprising question came from the gasman who had come to fix the antiquated Ascot water heater in the studio flat I had just acquired in 1965. Further conversation revealed that a previous tenant had been Gavin Maxwell, the famous author of Ring of Bright Water. He had lived there from 1949-57 with his otter Mijbyl, feeding him live eels from Harrods in the shower tray of the primitive bathroom! I later learned from Douglas Botting’s biography of Maxwell that Princess Margaret had visited, and been entertained to tea and Scottish ballads in the studio. This was not the only royal connection with the house as it turned out.

At the time I bought the house, it was divided into five one-room apartments, which were all in a very poor state of repair. It seems that a Doodlebug had razed the entire west side of the street opposite no. 8 in 1944. The damage to the house with its huge studio windows must have been devastating. Work started immediately to upgrade the accommodation – the first of many alterations to the internal layout over the next twenty years. However it was not until we decided to sell the house a couple of years ago, that I had time to investigate something of its previous history.

My interest was sparked, soon after I moved in, by a chance meeting with an old man in the street. He told me that he was ninety years old, and he could remember that when he was a lad there were three fields of cows at the end of the road where the trading estate now stands. It seemed incredible that one person’s life could have spanned such a transformation – from fields of cows to the Cromwell Rd extension! Yet when I found the 1869 Ordnance Survey map, there are the three fields clearly marked, and no trace of Avonmore Road, which came into being ten years later. Leigh Court, the block of flats now at no 6, stands on the site of a large dairy where milk from the local farms was brought in churns on horse-drawn drays. My informant told me he used to be sent with a jug to fetch a pint of milk for his family.

The house dates from about 1880, and one of the earliest tenants was the artist William Lockhart (d.1900), who was in residence in 1891 according to the census. He was commissioned by Queen Victoria to paint her Jubilee celebrations, and the picture hangs in Windsor Castle. By 1895, another artist, Edward Fellowes Prynne, who also had the distinction of being presented to Her Majesty in 1900, appears on the Voter’s Register at no 8. They had some famous neighbours too, Sir Edward Elgar at no 51, Sir Compton McKenzie (no 54) and the sculptor H. R. Pinkes in the studio at no 22 where, until 2002, Ken Armitage lived and worked. Also, across the fields towards North End Road, The Grange was the home of Sir Edward Burne-Jones. My old informant also recalled seeing some of his large canvases being manhandled through a vertical slit in the studio wall, such as you can still see at Leighton House. Martin Chaffer.

Fulham Society Newsletter 72, June 2005.

The second more prosaic and recent. I wrote versions for the LBHF Library blog and for the Fulham Society and a talk at FHHS. Curious as to how a 60s block should be nestled amongst the Victorian Terraces of Fulham we searched the London Metropolitan Archives and our local LBHF archive to reveal the story. See this link.

Perhaps you can research the history of your home – noble or humble – or the people who have lived there when the archives open again or through their access to Ancestry online (see libraries website). Happy hunting.


A FLORAL DIVERSION

18 June, 2020

We are all a little freer now after the easing of restrictions and are able to get out and about more.  We were grateful to be able to book up and visit Kew Gardens, not much of a history link other than the ties to some of the West London Nurserymen and some structures from the Japanese Exhibition, but it was good to walk in some pleasant open space and see the outside of the Palace and other buildings. 

Maya Donelan has provided the following link about Emery Walker’s Emery Walkers Gardengarden. Many of you will be familiar with the inside of the house and its contents and may even have wandered in the garden down to the river bank as we did on the Society’s visit but few will have picked up this wealth of information. Emery Walker’s Garden. We should acknowledge this comes from the London Gardens Trust Blog which you can explore on a rainy day.

Surprised to come across what appears to be Fulham Palace as the centrepiece of a map of gardens in London. Excuse the advert but it may be of interest to the many FP volunteers as well as gardeners.

A London Floral by Natasha Goodfellow (Finch Publishing)

Finally even more off-piste but maintaining the theme – Derek Jarman’s Book published by the Garden Museum brings a different perspective to gardening and his view of the world from his last home on the beach at Dungeness.

ISBN 9781527259164

Back to local history in the next post I promise, stay safe.


JUNE QUIZ, MORE READING AND WALKING

6 June, 2020

We are all able to get out a bit now but still mainly at home so how about another Quiz?  Something to read? Or perhaps a Walk?

First up Here is the Quiz.

Foreshore Recording and Observations Group

FROG

For the reading you might try a Thames theme.  We’ve had a couple of talks from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA)’s Nathalie Cohen and Eliott Wragg about their work on the Thames foreshore and the work of the splendidly named FROG (Foreshore  Recording and Observation Group) indeed a couple of our members have given updates on the work.  MOLA produced a book written by Natalie and Eliott – The River’s Tale   ISBN 9781907586453.

I have just started reading an independent mudlarker’s account which is also fascinating and almost immediately relates the fate of the Dove type (thrown from Hammersmith Bridge!). – Mudlarking – Lost and Found on The River Thames by Lara Maiklem ISBN9781408889237.

You might like to build up a thirst by checking out London’s Riverside Pubs by Tim Hampson ISBN9781847735027 which could lead to walks!  Especially when they re-open.

For those interested in post war buildings try John Gringrod’s Concretopia ISBN9781906964900 a catalogue of triumphs and failures in this unloved but practical material (even the Roman’s used it!)

A crime novel linked to the histoic bombing of St Pauls The Blue Last by Martha Grimes ISBN9780747268420 or 0747268428 will keep you gripped.

  

And finally to walks. LBHF has catalogued a number of short walks with a set of downloadable guides here. Some cover ground trod on our outings but there are plenty so should last the lockdown.  thanks to Vernon Burgess for the link.

If you cannot get out then you may like to delve into the William Morris Society’s online exhibition a short video and a trail through the exhibits.