Parson’s Green

6 March, 2022

The new publication by Sue and Lance Pierson on the ‘irregular triangle’ in Fulham has just been published, and is available for £6.00 plus postage and packing. CheckPublications page for full details

Why not puchase the new edition of Hammersmith Bridge £10.00at the same time and save on postage and packaging

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ONLINE ACTIVITY WHILST THE VIRUS RAGES

7 January, 2022

Those yearning for the days when we had regular visits and talks might want to have a look at Emery Walker’s House website for their Virtual Events. Not the same but interesting while we wait. I wasn’t aware of the T.E. Lawrence connection. Do have a look, their members get a discount.


GOG AND MAGOG – A LINK TO MEDIEVAL TIMES

17 November, 2021
A fuzzy photo of Gog and Magog

Your scribe was honoured to witness this year’s Lord Mayor’s Show, a parade of livery companies, youth and military organisations, NHS and charities and some charitable companies working in and for London. Amongst the bands and floats are a couple of wicker giants representing Gog and Magog a tradition going back to medieval times and with mythical links even earlier you can read the history and fables here. This year made history too as due to COVID the previous Lord Mayor served 2 years and his succesor also served 2 years as Sheriff. The new Lord Mayor Alderman Vincent Keaveny a resident of Fulham is the 693rd to hold the post and unusually was born in the Republic of Ireland. In addition to the pageantry and ceremony the Lord Mayor’s main role is as an ambassador for the City of London’s business and financial activities across the world.


BEATRIX POTTER – WAS PETER RABBIT BORN IN SHEPHERD’S BUSH?

4 August, 2021

Another article from the prolific pen of Peter Trott

If you get a Peter Rabbit 50 pence commemorative coin in your change you will be holding a piece of Shepherd’s Bush history.

Peter Rabbit 50p

The story began on 28 July 1866 when Helen Potter was born at 2 Bolton Gardens, South Kensington. She was still living there with her elderly parents in 1911 and the census listed her as an authoress. Of course by then she was much better known as Beatrix Potter.

She loved pets and apparently had kept ferrets, frogs, hedgehogs, mice, newts and even her brother’s pair of long-eared bats. However rabbits were her favourite and at the age of ten she had one named Tommy. In her twenties she had another one named Benjamin H. Bouncer. But it was in 1892 that she bought Peter Piper, a Belgian Buck rabbit, for 4s 6d from a shop on the Uxbridge Road in Shepherd’s Bush. She actually recorded that it cost ‘an exorbitant amount’.

In 1893 she wrote to five year old Noel Moore, the son of her former governess, and in the eight page letter she drew pictures of rabbits named Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail. But more importantly the letter also contained her first drawing of Peter Piper, who she later renamed Peter Rabbit. Her first book ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ was published privately in 1900 and commercially in 1902. In the following year Beatrix made a Peter Rabbit doll and wisely registered the design at the Patent Office. In 1904 she wrote ‘The Tale of Benjamin Bunny’ which included the character of Peter Rabbit as Benjamin’s cousin.

Peter Rabbit 50p Reverse

Beatrix spent many holidays at Lingholm and credited The Lingholm Kitchen Garden as the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s Garden. It has been speculated that the colonnades at Brompton Cemetery inspired the wall of his garden. The Potter’s family home was very close to Brompton Cemetery and Beatrix would probably have been very familiar with the cemetery.

In 2001 the Friends of Brompton Cemetery were going through recently computerised burial records of the cemetery, which contained 250,000 names. It was then that they discovered that Beatrix may have got some of her character’s names from the memorials. The Friends discovered names including Mr. Nutkins, Mr. McGregor, Tommy Brock and Tod (with that unusual single‘d’ spelling).

James Mackay, a member of the Friends commented at the time:

But I became convinced that the story is genuine when I found an old edition of the Jeremy Fisher story which had the character down as Jeremiah Fisher. Then I found a gravestone in the cemetery for a Jeremiah Fisher and that’s when I thought the rumour was true’

Returning to the Shepherd’s Bush connection it is possible to speculate on the route that Beatrix took on that day in 1892. After leaving home she would have headed west and after a short distance passed the main gates of Brompton Cemetery. Immediately after the cemetery she would have turned left into West Brompton Station which was served by the West London Railway. After buying her ticket and boarding the train she would have passed the newly built Earls Court Exhibition Grounds. When the train stopped at Addison Road Station she would have been able to see the imposing new Grand Hall at Olympia.

She would have alighted at the next stop which was the Uxbridge Road Station (the original station stood very close to the current Shepherd’s Bush Overground Station). Turning right out of the station was the start of the Uxbridge Road which headed west towards Shepherd’s Bush Green. The road was lined with over fifty small shops and it was in one of those shops that she bought Peter Piper who became world famous as Peter Rabbit.

As luck would have it, a photo was taken in 1893 may have captured the very shop that Beatrix visited. On the right of the photo, taken from the Green, you can see 90 Uxbridge Road, which was an animal dealers bearing the name Mills and Lane. A Post Office Directory of 1900 lists Edward Albert Mills as a bird and live animal dealer at the address.

90 Uxbridge Road

The row of shops in the photo are now from left to right KFC, Cashino, Superdrug and McDonalds.


CHARLES CONINGHAM TUBBS AND THE CONINGHAM ARMS PUB

8 July, 2021

This is another Shepherd’s Bush article by Peter Trott – the pub theme is getting quite strong – enjoy, there are more.

Charles Coningham Tubbs was born in Sussex in 1838, to wealthy parents Charles Tubbs Esquire and Lucy Coningham, the daughter of Daniel Coningham, Major General of the Bengal Army. Charles was only eight when his mother Lucy died in 1846 and twenty three when his father Charles died in 1861.

Between 1856 and 1860 Charles Coningham Tubbs was listed as living in Worthing but was shown as the owner of land occupied by a tenant named John Gorton on the Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush. The 1861 census lists John as a ‘cow keeper’ living at Oaklands Dairy. After his father died Charles was listed as living in the family home at 16 Pall Mall London and still shown as owning freehold land on the Uxbridge Road in Shepherd’s Bush.

Sometime between 1865 and 1870 Charles changed his surname to Coningham and was recorded on a polling list as Charles Coningham Coningham of Pall Mall. He was shown as the owner of freehold land and houses listed as 1 to 16 Coningham Road, Shepherd’s Bush. The road was officially named in 1865. In 1871 his tenant John Gorton was living on the Uxbridge Road at 1 Coningham Villa. The Coningham Arms was also listed on the 1871 census indicating it was probably built sometime between the 1861 and 1871 censuses, on land owned by Charles.

His mother’s Coningham ancestors can be traced back to 1750 when earlier records become less clear. However, the name Coningham dates back to at least the twelfth century and is derived from the Scottish Clan Cunningham.

The pub has been called The Coningham Arms since it was built but confusingly mid twentieth century photos of the pub show a hanging sign with three crouching rabbits. That was in fact the Coat of Arms of the Coningsby family which had no connection to the Coningham family. I can only assume that someone made a schoolboy error and used the wrong Coat of Arms.

The sign was later replaced with the Coningham Coat of Arms which pictured a shakefork in the shape of a stylised ‘Y’. The accompanying motto ‘over fork over’ refers to the time when Macbeth killed Duncan and sent his men to kill Duncan’s son Malcolm Canmore. Malcolm took refuge in the barn of farmer Malcolm the son of Friskin. The farmer called out to his companion “over, fork over,” as they used shakeforks to cover the Prince with hay. By doing so the farmer saved the Prince’s life and he was later rewarded with the Thanedom of Cunninghame.

The Old Pub Sign

On 1 June 1871 Charles married Margaret Tremenheere, the daughter of Major General George Borlase Tremenheere of the Bengal Engineers. The marriage certificate showed his name as Charles Coningham Coningham a Gentleman living in Isleworth. In the autumn of 1873 they had a son named Charles Stuart Coningham. Tragically on 19 April 1874, within three years of his marriage, Charles Coningham Coningham died whilst staying at the Belle Vue Hotel in San Remo Italy. His body was brought home for burial at Heston. His Will gave his address as Ellingham Hall, Norfolk. By a cruel twist of fate their son Charles Stuart also died in Italy in March 1896 aged only 22.

In the same year that Charles married, the census listed Alfred Palmer as the Licensed Victualler of The Coningham Arms. James Watt was listed in 1874 followed by Samuel Riches the same year. Samuel actually died on the premises in 1881 and his widow Charlotte became the Publican. In 1891 George Towerzey and his wife Clara were in charge and by the end of WW2 the pub had changed hands at least another five times.

Originally the pub had one entrance door facing the Uxbridge Road, adjacent to an existing door that leads to the premises above. There was another entrance door facing Percy Road. These doors may have once been entrances to a Public Bar and a Saloon Bar. A smaller door further along Percy Road may have been an Off Licence. The current entrance on the corner of Uxbridge Road and Percy Road was once a display window.

The red brick extension on Percy Road appears to have been built sometime between 1896 and 1915. It was probably then that the outside men’s toilet in Coningham Mews was added. Post war there was also a wooden stall on the corner of the Mews that served hot meat pies and mugs of tea.

For many decades it has been known locally as an Irish pub and the pub is still a firm favourite with supporters of Celtic FC. The pub also has a strong following of Queen’s Park Ranger supporters. Occasionally Celtic travel to Shepherd’s Bush to play friendlies with Rangers and all the fans happily mingled together at the pub.

Conningham Arms Today

The pub survived the war unscathed and over the years the interior has changed very little. However, the exterior colour scheme has changed from brown and cream, to light green and cream and then dark green and cream. During the first lockdown in 2020, it was repainted ‘Rangers’ blue.

As with several of the local pubs the management has changed many times in recent years. The lease was put up for sale in 2008 and again in 2011 when Enterprise Inns put it up for auction with a rent of £85,000. Around 5 years ago a more generic Coat of Arms appeared and the ‘shakefork’ link to the Coningham family disappeared. In spite of all the changes The Coningham Arms has avoided gentrification and that is borne out by on line reviews such as ‘a proper pub’ and ‘this is one of the last old pubs in the area’.

Recent Pub Sign

There’s an interesting postscript to this story which relates to the naming of two further roads in Shepherd’s Bush. Ellingham Road joins Findon Road which in turn joins Coningham Road. Coningham Road was named in 1865 but Ellingham Road and Findon Road were both named in 1879 which was five years after Charles Coningham Coningham died. Records show that Charles was born and baptised in Findon, Sussex. And when he died his home address was Ellingham Hall, Norfolk. So very probably the two roads were named to commemorate Charles.


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.