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.
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.
Here is Annabelle’s email in full.
Our latest publication (with the Barnes and Mortlake History Society) is now available. As you can see from this Flyer it is a handsome volume and the content has been updated and includes some new colour illustrations. Excellent value at £12 including post and packaging. Please send cheque with your order to:
Mrs Sue Pierson
48 Peterborough Road
London SW6 3EB
PS: Those who pay their subscriptions by cheque should know these are now due and should be sent to:
Hon. Secretary Heather Watson (acting Hon Treas)
78 Harbord Street London SW6 6PJ
Taking a leisurely shower this morning I was surprised to hear Melvyn Bragg discussing a ship called the ZONG which achieved notoriety for throwing many of its cargo of slaves overboard whilst still alive. The connection to Fulham and Hammersmith is that Granville Sharp became heavily involved in trying to get the Master and Crew tried for murder rather than insurance fraud. An horrific story but well worth listening to, from BBC Radio 4.
At the opposite end of the day I am reading Peter Ackroyd’s Dominion his fifth volume of The History of England. It covers the end of Regency until Victoria’s death. He races through this period but nevertheless it is a very dense read. There are lots of quotes from the period and he exercises his wit on the main characters. He also seems to have a desire to revive historic and archaic words that tease the mind. He exposes the dreadful state of government and politics and the grudging moves towards democracy whilst in the midst of famine, wars and engineering transformation. I am finding this really helpful as this period was not covered at school (science ‘O’ levels) and of course this is just the period when our borough was itself in transition from the semi-rural and estates to the rapid development of railways and terraced housing. It forms a very useful backdrop to our local history. (Dominion by Peter Ackroyd ISBN 9781509881321)
As a footnote news is breaking of Foster & Partners proposal to put a double decker temporary roadway onto Hammersmith Bridge. Bazelgette, one hopes, would have been delighted! Do note that an exciting revamped reprint of our Hammersmith_Bridge_ publication will be available before Christmas.
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.
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.
This self-guided walk around Fulham was written by Maya Donelan for Open House if you have any additions or suggestions or variations do contact Maya direct or enter a comment below.
If the restrictions increase we may all be looking for such walks!
Fulham Walk – Parsons Green Station to Putney Bridge Station.
A self-guided walk around Fulham
Turn right out of the station and walk down towards Parsons Green, a former hamlet inhabited in the early C18 ‘mostly by Gentry and Persons of Quality’.
Walk down the path in the centre of the Green and you will see to your left: late C19 White Horse pub, red terracotta with tall gable with horse under a canopy. Next door the former Fulham Maternity Hospital opened in 1937 by the Fulham Borough Council on a site previously occupied by a Home and School for Girls. During WW2 a section of the Hospital was used as a First Aid Post for civilian casualties. Now a surgery and medical centre. Then Lady Margaret School, which consists of Henniker House, plain Italianate of c 1841; Elm House c.1800, recorded as a school in 1803 and Belfield House, early C18 front.
On the West side, to your right, St Dionis Church (1884-5, Ewan Christian), with a font from Wren’s St Dionis Backchurch in the City, the Vicarage of 1898-9 by William White – his last commission! And church hall, a former mission church of 1876 by Arthur Billing, given by Charlotte Sulivan.
At the end of the Green, walk to your right to look at a terrace of 3-bay houses dated 1795, unusual in having centrally placed doorways. and the adjacent, Aragon House (1805-6), the former home of the local British Legion Club now a pub/hotel.
Back to cross at the pedestrian crossing, past the Duke on the Green, down Peterborough Road, and on the right, past Bell’s Alley, is Sulivan School, 1951, concrete clad, contemporary with neighbouring Sulivan Court 1949-56, built on No 2 polo ground of the Hurlingham Club, followed further down the road by Hurlingham & Chelsea School, Sheppard Robson 1956.
Glance across to the left down Studdridge Street, which leads to the Peterborough Estate with its well-known ‘lion’ houses. Further down Peterborough Road on the left is South Park which opened in 1904 when local benefactress Miss Charlotte Sulivan sold the land to the Fulham Borough Council for use as a public recreation ground. The land, formerly known as Broom House Farm and Southfields Farm, 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. Note the very recent new community centre on the corner.
And as you approach the river, pass on the right, the 1990s gated development, Hurlingham Square,– followed by the former British Gas Offices and laboratories, now Piper Building flats, 1961-3 by E.R.Collister and Partners, with an abstract cheerful coloured relief in polyester resin and glass, designed by John Piper.
Turn right into Carnwath Road, along past the works for the new London sewers. At the end of Carnwarth Road turn left into Broomhouse Dock, from which a ferry (apparently used by King Charles I) used to run to Wandsworth. It was known as a very treacherous part of the river and many drownings were recorded there! Now you have a fine view of the recycling station! Continue right up Broomhouse Lane. On the left the wall of the Hurlingham Club, established in 1869 as a private pigeon shooting club. In 1873, the Club published the rules of polo, which are still followed by most of the world to this day. Polo was first played at the club on 6 June 1874. In the early 1900s ballooning was a popular sport at the Club and a pipe with the relevant gas was installed between the Club and the local gasworks at Sands End.
On the right
The Parsons Green Club– originally established in 1885 as the Parsons Green Working Men’s Social Club by Charlotte Sulivan, the club moved onto this site in 1912 and over the years expanded greatly. It was completely rebuilt in 2019, with flats above.
Castle Club, built as a school by Horace Francis, 1854-5. Symmetrical Tudor brick and stone composition. Donated by Lawrence Sulivan, father of Charlotte Sulivan, a generous local resident. Now scheduled to become a residential home for the elderly.
On the left: Hurlingham Park, a post-war development on land previously used as a polo ground by the Hurlingham Club. Now nostalgically the venue for Chestertons Polo in the Park, an annual event which brings together a combination of international polo and family entertainment.
Turn left into Hurlingham Road, passing on the corner Hurlingham Lodge of 1856, now much altered, further along on the left, the former Park Keeper’s cottage, now a grand house and on the right, The Vineyard, rendered 3-storey, 3-bay front, part early 17th century. For many years owned by the Beaverbrook family.
Left down Napier Avenue – at the bottom on the left the main entrance to the Hurlingham Club. Turn around and continue towards station, with on your left Rivermead Court, with its 1930 mansion blocks.
As you approach the bridge, keep to the right and look up to the left to see the pill-box on the station above you, a relic of WWII defence fortifications.
Walk under bridge past the bus station and turn right at the second hand bookshop on the corner to the Eight Bells Pub, first mentioned in 1771, then Fulham House, 1730s, five bay yellow brick front, somewhat in the manner of Vanbrugh, now used by the Territorial Army. The pedimented gateway to the forecourt is a reproduction based on old photographs. For many years the building was used as a school which was attended in the 1860s by Avis, small daughter of Anna Leonowens, the Victorian governess to the Siamese Court, subject of the romantic musical ‘The King and I’.
This walk ends here, but if you want a bit more history continue as follows:
Walk towards New Kings Road, facing the Temperance Billiard Hall, 1909 with large barrel roof, art nouveau glass, turn right into New Kings Road, at the green railway bridge cross road and on corner of Burlington Road is the last remaining kiln from the Fulham Pottery. Continue up Burlington Road, past some buildings (now residential) which were part of Fulham Refuge, later
known as Fulham Female Convict Prison (1855-1888). Turn right into Rigault Road where the present Burlington Lodge is formed out of former prison properties, notably the laundry building with it small upper windows.
On the other side of the Fulham Palace Road, you will find All Saints Church, Bishops Park, Fulham Palace and way up towards Hammersmith, Fulham Football Ground This is another expedition!
Note on Charlotte Sulivan: Charlotte Sulivan (1824-1911), lived in Broom House, a large villa, now gone, whose grounds covered much of the area of this walk, from Bells Alley down to the river. She never married and devoted much of her time and money to the welfare of local inhabitants and donated heavily to the provision of churches.
If you have enjoyed this walk either physically or virtually from your armchair particularly the detail on Parsons Green there may be more interest next year, our 50th, with a new publication written by Sue Pierson. If you haven’t already, do get her earlier volumes on Peterborough House and Charlotte Sulivan. See our Publications pages.
In May last year our Chairman led a group of us on a short tour of Chelsea Creek, the Gas Works and Sandford Manor House. All very much changed by gentrification of this highly developed former industrial area where Lots Road adjoins the Creek and Imperial Wharf. For those that were not there, here is the same ground covered somewhat earlier for the Fulham Society.
The Imperial Gas Company purchased the Sandford Manor Estate in South Fulham in 1824 for use as a gasholder station. The first gas holder, with a capacity of 30,000 c/ft., was erected a little south of Sandford Manor in 1824, a second one following soon after and two more being added in 1827. The Works were started with plant from Dutton Street, Grays Inn Road, a private gasworks belonging to William Caslon, the typefounder, begun in 1820 and purchased by the Company, who transferred the plant to their Fulham site in 1829. A listed gasholder dating from 1830 still stands on the site, with a plaque erected in 1948, bearing the words “has been in constant use since 1830”. It is the oldest known gasholder in the world. In 1856 Works Offices, and storage buildings, were built on either side of the new main entrance to the works in Sands End Lane. This office building is the small stuccoed building on the old Sands End Lane frontage. Coal was always delivered to the works by water, originally via the Kensington Canal and after 1862 from the docks connected to the canal. From 1926 sea-going colliers unloaded at the riverside wharf. In 1834 the Kensington Canal Company is recorded as “repairing the banks alongside the Gas works”, and in 1836 they constructed a lay-by for barges, with a second lay-by being completed in 1844. In 1856 a dock leading into the canal was built along No 4 Retort House and in 1859 the Company bought 6 acres of land on the far side of the dock. This whole area of the works was modified in 1862 by the construction of the West London extension railway in the bed of the Kensington Canal, carrying the railway across the bridge to Clapham Junction, – officially opening in 1863. Part of the canal leading to the river was left and became a large dock for the Gas Works, joined to the existing dock by the removal of the dock gates. Imperial Square, consisting of 28 cottages for key workers, was built in 1868 just off Sands End Lane. In 1878 negotiations were concluded with the Fulham District Board of Works over the construction of Imperial Road. The Gas Light & Coke Company agreed to pay £1000 and to construct this new road as a Public Highway in consideration of Permission to partially close Sands End Lane, thus enabling the Company to incorporate within their site boundaries the land they had acquired on the other side of Sands End Lane – Emden Street then being formed to join the two roads. From 1908 until 1917, low gravity gas was made and stored separately on the site for transmission to the Hurlingham Club, where it was used for ballooning – a sport which flourished briefly at the club. In 1908 five balloon contests are recorded with the number of balloons varying from 9 – 31. It is recorded that the Club paid £300 as the first annual instalment for the laying of a special gas main. Balloon contests were still being held in the summer of 1912, but seem to have lapsed just before the beginning of the First World War In 1928 a new Laboratory building went up to designs by Walter Tapper, consulting architect to the Gas Light & Coke Company, who in the same year was made Surveyor to Westminster Abbey. In 1952, two cast iron retorts, one circular and one D section, dating from around 1843, when clay retorts replaced the original iron ones, were found in a vertical position acting as traffic bollards. They were recovered and presented to the Science Museum. In 1948 the gas industry was nationalised and the Fulham Gas Works were taken over by the North Thames Gas Board, and since the arrival of North Sea gas have been continuously run down. The southern part of the site was sold off to a private company and a large new residential development, Chelsea Creek, is currently being built. This incorporates some of the original features of the old Gas Works, including the dock with an extension to the river. The 17 acre site along Imperial Road which was formerly used for converting and storing domestic gas is now being developed as a housing estate named Kings Road Park. Luckily all the listed building on the site are being preserved– the 1927 office building, the Laboratory building, the 2 Ware Memorials and the listed Gasholder 2 which was built in 1830. The over ground structures of this gasholder will be moved
and incorporated in the new development Unfortunately the developers claimed that it would not be possible to retain the magnificent No 7 gasholder of 1877-9, which dominated the views down Imperial Road, so this had to be taken down. It was one of six gasholders designed by Vitruvius Wyatt for the Gas Light & Coke Company of which only 3 remain in London.
Of course all but the listed GasHolder have now gone. How Fulham and Hammersmith have changed and continue to change from large country houses and market gardens to industrialised wharves and factories and now housing, retail and white collar work of all kinds! Where to next – FHHS will be there to record!
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!
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.
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.