A Travellerspoint blog

ART AND ALE: A WALK BESIDE THE THAMES

Walking along the river Thames between Hammersmith and Chiswick is a joy for lovers of history, architecture, art, and ale.

Cormorant near Hammersmith Bridge

Cormorant near Hammersmith Bridge

I was taking a photograph outside a house on the riverbank at Chiswick, when a man sitting in a van nearby called me over to tell me about the building. During our conversation, he said that the River Thames was used to carry freight, just like the M4 motorway does today. He was right. Before the early 19th century when the railways were built, the river, equipped with locks where necessary, was used to transport goods by boat or barge. After the advent of the railways, except for the tidal stretches of the river (particularly to the east of the city), the waterway almost ceased to be used for transport. This exploration follows the Thames from Hammersmith Bridge to the old village of Chiswick. On our way along this delightful stretch of the river, we will see many examples of buildings built in the 18th century and earlier and discover several lovely places to stop for a drink...

King Street, Hammersmith’s high street, was part of the Great West Road (the ‘Bath Road’, and more recently the ‘A4’). This road, which originated before the Roman conquest, connects the City of London with Bath and Bristol. As late as the mid-19th century, this road through Hammersmith was lined with orchards and market gardens. In his “View of the Agriculture of Middlesex” (publ. 1807), J Middleton wrote:
“From Kensington, through Hammersmith, Chiswick, Brentford, … the land on both sides of the road for seven miles in length … may be denominated the great fruit-garden, north of the Thames, for the supply of London…”
Gradually at the 20th century approached, these disappeared, and were replaced by residential (and other) buildings as London grew westwards.

In the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, industrial buildings existed close to Hammersmith’s river front. On a 1936 map, the following are marked: a lead mill; a large water pumping building; an industrial bakery; breweries; a folding-box maker; and a motor works. Interspersed with these, there were many wharves, boat-houses, clubs, pubs, and private residences. Today, the industry has disappeared, but the homes, pubs, clubs, and boat houses remain, making a riverside walk between Hammersmith and Chiswick a pleasure.

Bradmore House

Bradmore House

Beginning at the Broadway centre, which incorporates one of Hammersmith’s two Underground stations, a shopping mall, and a busy split-level bus station, the first sight of interest is Bradmore House. This was originally an 18th century extension of a 16th century building, Butterwick House (see: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1192636). The extension was built by Henry Ferne, Receiver General of Her Majesty’s [i.e. Queen Anne’s] Customs, to house his mistress, the leading actress Mrs Anne Oldfield (1683-1730). Butterwick House was demolished in 1836, followed later by its extension. The 18th century baroque façade, which used to face the original house’s garden, was dismantled and stored. It was reassembled and put onto a 20th century bus garage, facing west instead of its original east. The garage was demolished, and then replaced by a newer Bradmore House, completed in 1994 with the original 18th century façade still facing west.

St Pauls Centre and Church

St Pauls Centre and Church

Directly across Queen Caroline Street in a large green space, stands the large neo-gothic church of St Pauls (consecrated 1883), which was designed by JP Seddon (1827-1906) and HR Gough (1843-1904). There have been churches on this spot since the early 17th century. In the late 1990s, I attended a couple of theatrical performances staged in the then rather neglected-looking church. Our daughter’s school also used the building for its annual Christmas carol service. More recently, the church has been restored and a modern extension, the St Pauls Centre (opened 2011), added to its west end.

Under Hammersmith flyover

Under Hammersmith flyover

Immediately to the south of the church, traffic races over the Hammersmith Flyover. Designed by G Maunsell and Partners, this viaduct, which is over 2000 feet long, was completed in 1961. Built using a design that was very new at the time, this road bridge allows traffic to avoid the very busy Hammersmith roundabout beneath it. Once, it took us an hour to drive less than halfway around it.

The Hammersmith Surgery

The Hammersmith Surgery

Immediately south of the flyover, there is a contemporary building with an original design, whose bold sculptural ‘façade’ consists of overlapping curved concrete slabs. This contains the Hammersmith Surgery, a medical practice. Completed in 2001, it was designed by Guy Greenfield Architects. It stands at the beginning of the road leading to Hammersmith Bridge.

Detail of Hammersmith Bridge

Detail of Hammersmith Bridge

Hammersmith Bridge

Hammersmith Bridge

The suspension bridge, completed in 1887, was designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette (1819-91). It replaced an earlier one built in 1827, but uses its predecessor’s original pier foundations. Slightly chunky in appearance, it is covered with decorative features. It crosses Lower Mall, which runs along the Hammersmith bank of the Thames. This riverside thoroughfare and its continuation upstream, Upper Mall, is lined with buildings of historic interest.

Lower Mall: east end by bridge

Lower Mall: east end by bridge

Lower Mall rowing club

Lower Mall rowing club

Kent House Lwr Mall

Kent House Lwr Mall

The rowing club at number 6 Lower Mall with its prominent bow first floor window overlooking the river and supported on slender pillars is one of a row of several recognizably Georgian houses, all of which have been modernised. The elegant Kent House, built in about 1782 (maybe 1762), stands west of these. Over the years it has had many owners including Mr and Mrs Thomas Hunt who used it as a seminary for young people.

12 and 11 Lwr Mall

12 and 11 Lwr Mall

Blue Anchor pub Lwr Mall

Blue Anchor pub Lwr Mall

The Rutland Arms pub Lwr Mall

The Rutland Arms pub Lwr Mall

The lower, modest building neighbouring Kent House, numbered 11 and 12, was built in the 17th century, but although modernised it retains original features. The Blue Anchor pub close-by bears the date 1722, but its present home is a more recent building, if not a highly modified version of the original. The composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934), who was Director of Music at Hammersmith’s St Pauls School for Girls, composed his “Hammersmith Suite” (1931) in the pub (see: “Gustav Holst: A Research and Information Guide”, by MC Huismann, publ. 2011). The nearby Rutland Arms pub opened in the late 1840s, and was rebuilt in the 1870s. Before WW2, this building had a third floor and a pitched roof, but now it has only two beneath a flat roof.

Westcott Lodge Lwr Mall

Westcott Lodge Lwr Mall

Furnivall Park and storm outlet (maybe the former Creek)

Furnivall Park and storm outlet (maybe the former Creek)

Westcott Lodge, a modernised Georgian structure (built about 1746), has a porch supported by two pillars and two pilasters, all with Ionic capitals. Formerly St Paul’s vicarage, it stands on the eastern edge of Furnivall Gardens, a pleasant open space created in 1951. Before WW2, the area was covered with industrial buildings including the Phoenix Lead Mills, which stood east of The Creek, an inlet of the Thames that was filled-in in 1936. In earlier times, The Creek, which extended as far inland as today’s King Street, was centre of Hammersmith’s flourishing fishing industry. Writing in 1876, James Thorne described The Creek as follows:
“… a dirty little inlet of the Thames, which is crossed by a wooden foot-bridge, built originally by Bishop Sherlock in 1751 … the region of squalid tenements bordering the Creek having acquired the cognomen of Little Wapping, probably from its confined and dirty character.”
The Creek is long gone, but there is a storm outlet in the bank of the Thames close to where The Creek must have emptied into the river. This can be seen from Dove Pier at the western end of the Gardens.
The little bridge described by Thorne led west to the beginning of Upper Mall. Before looking at that, follow the path to the busy A4, across which can be seen the façade of Hammersmith Town Hall. Built 1938-39 beside the former Creek, it was designed by E Berry Webber (1896-1963), an architect best-known for his civic buildings.

Detail of Hammersmith Town Hall

Detail of Hammersmith Town Hall

Hammersmith Town Hall

Hammersmith Town Hall

The Seasons and the Dove and Sunderland Hse (topped with a balustrade)  seen from Dove Pier

The Seasons and the Dove and Sunderland Hse (topped with a balustrade) seen from Dove Pier

A narrow passage forms the eastern part of Upper Mall. Sussex House, brick-built and well-hidden behind its garden’s fencing, was built in the early 18th century (about 1726) on the site of an earlier 17th century house. Despite its name, it is unlikely that the Duke of Sussex (1773–1843), who laid the foundation stone of the first Hammersmith Bridge, lived here.

Sussex House Lwr Mall

Sussex House Lwr Mall

The east part of 15 Upper Mall

The east part of 15 Upper Mall

Across the passage from this house, there is another whose shuttered ground-floor windows resemble a shop front. This building is part of, or attached to, number 15 Upper Mall. The latter bears a plaque recording that Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson (1840-1922), the printer and bookbinder, founded his Doves Bindery and Doves Press in this building, where he also lived. Involved in the Arts and Crafts Movement, he was a friend of its great proponent William Morris, who lived and worked close by. Thomas was married to Anne, daughter of the radical Richard Cobden (1804-1865). Along with his sometime business partner, the engraver and printer Emery Walker (see below), Thomas developed a new type-face. When they fell out, Thomas dumped all the font’s casting punches and matrices for their new font into the Thames, and they were lost until some of it was recovered in was discovered below the water in 2015.

The Dove Upp Mall

The Dove Upp Mall

Dove Pier from Upp Mall

Dove Pier from Upp Mall

A quaint riverside pub, The Dove, is a few steps west. Beginning life as ‘Doves Coffee House’ in the late 18th century, it became a pub by the early 19th century. To its east, its neighbour is The Seasons, a narrower building with wide, tall windows overlooking the river. The Seasons might have been built as a ‘smoking box’ (a place to enjoy tobacco) for the Duke of Sussex (see above).

The Dove pub is joined to a larger building with a rooftop balustrade (best viewed from the river or from Dove Pier). This 18th century building is number 21, Sunderland Cottage, where William Morris housed the hand-operated Albion press used for printing an edition of Chaucer (see: “The Kelmscott Press: A History of William Morris’s Typographical Adventure”, by WS Peterson, publ. 1991). Prior to that (in 1867), the house was used by T Day, a coal merchant. The author George Borrow (1803-1881) was one of his customers in 1864 (see: http://georgeborrow.org/timeline/brompton1864.html).

River Hse: 24 Upp Mall

River Hse: 24 Upp Mall

River House, number 24, was built in the mid-17th century. When Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705) lived in Hammersmith (in 1685 after her husband King Charles II died), some of her servants lived in this house. It western neighbour, a much larger brick building, built in the 1780s, is now called Kelmscott House. Built on the site of an old warehouse, this became the home of Sir Francis Ronalds (1788-1873) in the early 19th century. Sir Francis, an inventor, laid eight miles of insulated electrical cable in the house’s extensive garden, which in his time stretched as far inland as King Street, and with that he demonstrated the use of telegraphy for the first time in history in 1816. When he reported his discovery to Lord Melville, the First Lord of The Admiralty, he was told (by Melville) that telegraphs were totally unnecessary, because the semaphore did the job of communication just as well!

Kelmscott Hse Upp Mall

Kelmscott Hse Upp Mall

In 1878, the house, known then as ‘The Retreat’, was bought by the writer and artist William Morris (1834-1896), a leading exponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement and a social reformer. It was renamed Kelmscott House (the name of Morris’s dwelling in Oxfordshire). Morris and his family lived in this large house, which also served as a meeting place for his many artistic and socialist friends and acquaintances. Its interior was decorated with wallpapers designed by Morris and his company, as well as with oriental carpets. There were also textiles woven to his designs. Today, the house, which is owned by the William Morris Society, is leased to private tenants.

Coach house of Kelmscott Hse

Coach house of Kelmscott Hse

The long narrow coach house attached to the west side of Kelmscott House was used as a lecture hall in William Morris’s time. It hosted many meetings of groups sympathetic to socialism, including that which Morris joined in 1883: the ‘Democratic Federation’, later known as the ‘Social Democratic Federation’. Like some of today’s leading British socialists, Morris was also far wealthier than the people whom he hoped to help with his left-wing political sympathies.

William Morris Soc Museum Upper Mall

William Morris Soc Museum Upper Mall

Today, the coach house, which bears a plaque in memory of Sir Francis Ronalds, houses the offices of the William Morris Society and a small museum. On the ground floor, there are a few chairs set in front of a screen where a short, informative film about Morris is shown. In the basement, there is a shop and two rooms full of exhibits. Most of them relate to Morris, but there is also a bust of Sir Francis. What particularly interested me was a temporary exhibit describing Morris’s interest in oriental carpets. It was he who persuaded the Victoria and Albert Museum to purchase (in 1893 for £2000) the now priceless 16th century Persian Ardabil carpet (Morris described it being of “singular perfection … logically and consistently beautiful”; see: https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/the-ardabil-carpet), and other fine woven carpets from Persia.

Printing press in William Morris Soc Museum Upper Mall

Printing press in William Morris Soc Museum Upper Mall

Sir Francis Ronalds at William Morris Soc Museum Upper Mall

Sir Francis Ronalds at William Morris Soc Museum Upper Mall

In another room, there stands a well-preserved example of a hand-operated printing press used by Morris’s printers. Next to it, there are racks of movable type ready to be set in the press. Seeing this, reminded me of my days at Highgate School in north London, where I helped print the school calendars using very similar equipment. The staff at the museum were friendly and knowledgeable.

Rivercourt Hse Upp Mall

Rivercourt Hse Upp Mall

Further west, Rivercourt House (number 36 Upper Mall), a large brick building topped with a balustrade facing the river, was built in 1808. In its grounds stood a house where the Queen Dowager, Catherine of Braganza, lived whilst she was in Hammersmith. The ruins of this were pulled down at the time the present house was built. Naomi Mitchison (1897-1999), the novelist, socialist, and feminist, lived here with her family between 1923 and ’39. One of her children is the famous immunologist Avrion Mitchison, who worked and taught at my university, University College London. Today, the house and its newer neighbour to the west of it contain The Latymer Prep School.

Between 1931 and ’35, the artist (and print-maker) Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) lived in the house on the east corner of Upper Mall and Weltje Road. ‘Weltje’ might refer to a place with a WW1 cemetery near Ypres in Belgium. Or, more likely, it refers to the actor Lewis Weltje (see: “Records of My Life: In Two Volumes, Volume 1”, by J Taylor, publ. 1832), who lived in Hammersmith, and died in the late 18th century. In 1781, he founded a club in Mayfair, which was noted for gambling and extravagant entertainments. Weltje Road crosses part of the garden of the now demolished Seagreens House, which was owned by Weltje. West of this, Linden House is set back from the River. This grand building with a central pediment was constructed about 1733. Today, it houses the London Corinthian Sailing Club and the Sons Of The Thames Rowing Club.

Linden House Upp Mall

Linden House Upp Mall

The Old Ship Upp Mall

The Old Ship Upp Mall

Next, we pass two pubs. The Old Ship is truly old. There has been a hostelry on its site since the early 18th century. West of that, and set back from the riverfront, is the Black Lion. It is housed in a much modified late 18th century building, and has pleasant gardens where I have enjoyed drinks on warm summer’s evenings. This pub was one of many Thames-side inns, where the once popular game of skittles was played seriously as late as after WW2. The pub’s skittle alley exists no longer.

The Black Lion and St Peters Church  from Hammersmith Terrace

The Black Lion and St Peters Church from Hammersmith Terrace

Hammersmith Terrace

Hammersmith Terrace

Hammersmith Terrace is separated from the river by a row of terraced houses, which were built in the third quarter of the 18th century. They vary in design, but all have attractive front porches. Edward Johnston (1872-1944) lived at number 3 between 1905 and ’12. Born in Uruguay of Scottish parentage, he was an important modern calligrapher. In 1916, he designed the type font, which, with small modifications made recently, is still used for of the lettering on London’s Underground. In addition, he was responsible for modifying the system’s logo to look as it does today: a circle with a horizontal bar crossing it.

Alan Herbert lived at 12 Hammersmith Terrace

Alan Herbert lived at 12 Hammersmith Terrace

From 1903 to ’33, number 8 was home to the typographer and antiquary Sir Emery Walker (1851-1933). An exponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement, he was a friend of William Morris. Walker’s collection of antique typefaces inspired Morris to set up his Kelmscott Press, which attempted to revive the aesthetics of the early era of European printing and illuminated manuscripts. After Morris died, Walker formed the Dove Press with Cobden Sanderson (see above). As already described, they fell out. Walker’s house now houses a museum, which I have not yet visited. Like Morris, Emery was a member, and one-time branch secretary, of the Hammersmith Branch of the Socialist League. After meetings held in the coach house at Kelmscott House, Morris used to invite the speaker and the audience to have dinner in his home. Emery was usually present at these meals (see: “William Morris”, by F MacCarthy, publ. 1994).

Sir Alan Patrick Herbert (1890-1971), writer, Member of Parliament, and law reformer, lived at number 12, whose porch is supported by Doric columns. A member of the Thames Conservancy and author of books about the river, he lived and died there. The Terrace leads west into Chiswick Mall, a small stretch of which is in the Borough of Hammersmith. Before the boundary of the borough is reached, we pass some 20th century houses. Soon after entering the Borough of Hounslow, there is a quaint house, Mall Cottage, with a neo gothic front door and windows framed by gothic arches.

Mall Cottages Chiswick Mall

Mall Cottages Chiswick Mall

Chiswick Eyot eastern end

Chiswick Eyot eastern end

Continuing along Chiswick Mall, we pass the eastern end of Chiswick Eyot. It is the easternmost island in the Thames except for the Isle of Sheppey, which is 44 miles east in the Thames estuary. In the past, this spindle-shaped islet was used for the cultivation of osiers (willows with long flexible shoots used in basket and furniture making). One of the houses facing the island is the over ornate heavily stuccoed Island House with Ionic pillars and Corinthian pilasters. It was built in the early 19th century. Nearby, is the appropriately named Osiers, whose stuccoed exterior hides an old structure built in the 1780s. Once a haunt of intellectual homosexuals, it was later the home of the pathologist Leonard Colebrook (1883-1967).

Island House, Chiswick Mall

Island House, Chiswick Mall

Osiers, Chiswick Mall

Osiers, Chiswick Mall

Osiers is the most eastern of a terrace of 18th century (and earlier) buildings. Its immediate neighbour, Morton House, which was built around 1726, has had many owners and uses, including housing a school for young children in the 1920s. Before that, the artist Francis Ernest Jackson (1872–1945) lived here between 1912 and ’19 (see: “F. Ernest Jackson and His School”, publ. by The Ashmolean Museum, 2000) prior to moving into Mall Cottage (see above).

Morton House Chiswick Mall

Morton House Chiswick Mall

Riverside Hse Chiswick Mall

Riverside Hse Chiswick Mall

Riverside House and its adjoining Cygnet House, both with pretty latticework porches, were built in the Regency period at the beginning of the 19th century. The Russian Vladimir Polunin (1880-1957), who lived in Cygnet House, not only taught at the Slade School of Art but also painted scenery for Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet. The Mall runs in front of the houses already described, but is separated from the Thames by a strip of private gardens belonging to the houses. Beyond the gardens, the Eyot provides a verdant backdrop.

A riverside garden with Chiswick Eyot behind

A riverside garden with Chiswick Eyot behind

Greenash Chiswick Mall

Greenash Chiswick Mall

The tall Greenash house makes an architectural contrast with its 18th century neighbours. It was designed by John Belcher (1841-1913), and completed in 1882 for the shipbuilder Sir John Thornycroft (1843–1928), who owned a wharf just west of the nearby St Nicholas Church. It was converted into flats in 1934 by its then owner the architect Ernest Brander Musman (1888-1972), a designer of many 20th century pubs in a wide variety of architectural styles.

Staithe Hse Chiswick Mall 19th cent

Staithe Hse Chiswick Mall 19th cent

Western end of Chiswick Eyot

Western end of Chiswick Eyot

Fullers Griffin brewery from Chiswick Mall

Fullers Griffin brewery from Chiswick Mall

Staithe House, part of a Victorian terrace which would not look out of place in Belsize Park, faces the western sharp tip of Chiswick Eyot. The house is separated from Fuller’s Griffin Brewery (building commenced 1845) by Chiswick Lane South. The brewery stands on a site where beer has been brewed since the 17th century or earlier. The Lane runs along the east side of the brewery, passing a brewery retail outlet, to a row of 18th century buildings, named Mawson Row in memory of Thomas Mawson (c. 1660-1714) of Chiswick, who took over the brewery in 1685.

Mawson Arms at end of Chiswick Lane South

Mawson Arms at end of Chiswick Lane South

Near the Mawson Arms pub at the north end of the row, there is a plaque commemorating the oft-quoted poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744). Pope and his parents lived here in this row between 1716 and ’19. According to James Thorne, writing in 1876, Pope wrote portions of his translation of the “Iliad”, which appeared between 1715 and ’20, on the backs of letters addressed to him in the (then named) ‘New Buildings’ in Chiswick. Pope’s father died in this row of buildings in 1717, and is buried in the nearby churchyard.

Former Red Lion Pub Chiswick Mall

Former Red Lion Pub Chiswick Mall

Back on the Mall, immediately west of the brewery buildings, there is a building named Red Lion House. It was formerly a pub, the ‘Red Lion’, built in the 18th century. This, I was told by a passer-by, went out of business because of the reduced demand for alcohol following the legislation of pub opening hours that was introduced in WW1 (i.e. The Defence of The Realm Act of 1914). In its heyday, the pub was used by bargemen and, also, osier cutters, who sharpened their knives on a whetstone that used to hang by its entrance.

Thames View Hse Chiswick Mall

Thames View Hse Chiswick Mall

Said and Lingard Houses on Chiswick Mall

Said and Lingard Houses on Chiswick Mall

Thamesview and its neighbour Lingard House are both 18th century, and were originally parts of a single building. The illustrator and engraver Robert Sargent Austin (1895-1973), who advised on the design of British banknotes in the late 1950s, lived in Lingard. Frederick William Tuke (1858 - 1935), who helped his brothers run a mental asylum in Chiswick, lived in Thamesview in the late 19th century. Next door to Lingard House is Said House, whose façade is dominated by an overly large bay window. The building’s earliest structures date back to the 18th century, but much has been done since to distort its appearance. The actor and theatre manage Sir Nigel Playfair (1874-1935) was one of its inhabitants.

Eynham House Chiswick Mall

Eynham House Chiswick Mall

Bedford Hse Chiswick Mall

Bedford Hse Chiswick Mall

Bedford Hse detail Chiswick Mall

Bedford Hse detail Chiswick Mall

Eynham House and its adjoining Bedford House provide pleasant visual compensation for their ugly neighbour Said House. Originally, the two houses were parts of a single house, whose construction dates to the 17th century. The façade of the house(s) with its harmonious bow windows is 18th century and surmounted by a graceful pediment. One of the owners of Bedford House was John Sich, who owned the nearby Lamb Brewery (see below). There are sculpted heads above the ground floor windows.

Woodroffe Hse Chiswick Mall

Woodroffe Hse Chiswick Mall

The first two storeys of the nearby austere brick building, Woodroffe House, were built in the early 18th century, and the third added later. The sculptor Wilfred Dudeny (1911-1996) lived there from about 1963 onwards. Chiswick Mall ends just West of this building, and the roadway continues northwards as Church Street. At the corner, stands a house (pre-18th century, but much modified), The Old Vicarage. Opposite it, a slipway runs down into the river. It has been there a long time, and is marked on a detailed map surveyed in 1867. Near it, opposite the Red Lion Pub, this same map marks a ferry that ran from the pub, around the western tip of the Eyot, to the southern bank of the Thames.

The Old Vicarage Chiswick Mall

The Old Vicarage Chiswick Mall

Slipway at western end of Chiswick Mall

Slipway at western end of Chiswick Mall

"Couplet" by Charles Hadcock Chiswick Mall

"Couplet" by Charles Hadcock Chiswick Mall

Close to the landward end of the slipway (near the vicarage), there is what looks like a pair of oversized interlocking, rusting chain links with nuts and bolts. This is a cast-iron sculpture, “Couplet”, made by Charles Hadcock (born 1965) in 1999. The work of art, which reminded me of the works that my late mother, a sculptress, might have made. It stands beside the gateway into the churchyard of St Nicholas. Nicholas, whose church is beside the Thames and near at least two breweries, is patron saint for fishermen, sailors, and coopers (barrel-makers).

St Nicholas churchyard

St Nicholas churchyard

St Nicholas churchyard William Hogarth

St Nicholas churchyard William Hogarth

The idyllic, romantic, leafy churchyard by the river is chock full of graves. Two of them caught my attention. One is that for the artist William Hogarth, who lived close-by (see below). His monument, protected by a cast-iron fence, an urn on a plinth decorated with an artist’s palette and brushes, was erected after the death of his sister in 1781 (who is also commemorated on this monument), and was restored by a William Hogarth of Aberdeen in 1856.

St Nicholas churchyard Ugo Foscolo

St Nicholas churchyard Ugo Foscolo

The other grave that I found interesting was a monument to the Italian poet and patriot Ugo Foscolo (1778-1827). He spent the last eleven years of his life in England. He died at Turnham Green, and was buried in the graveyard at St Nicholas. In 1871, the poet’s remains were removed to Italy, which had recently achieved Unification and Independence. They were interred in the church of S Croce in Florence.

St Nicholas Chiswick

St Nicholas Chiswick

St Nicholas churchyard gargoyle on tower

St Nicholas churchyard gargoyle on tower

There has been a church on the site of St Nicholas since before the 12th century. The tower of the present building was begun in the 15th century. Its south face has a small picturesque gargoyle with prominent eye-brows and bulging eyes. The rest of the church was rebuilt in the late 19th century in Victorian gothic style.

Ferry Hse Church Str Chiswick

Ferry Hse Church Str Chiswick

The large Ferry House on Church Street and some of its neighbours were built in the 18th century. Even older is the half-timbered Old Burlington, an old coaching inn, whose construction began in the 16th century. Close to this, there is a building on a corner plot with timber-cladding and a ground-floor bow window. This was once The Lamb pub.

Former Old Burligton pub and behind it the Lamb Brewery Church Str

Former Old Burligton pub and behind it the Lamb Brewery Church Str

The former Lamb pub Church Str Chiswick

The former Lamb pub Church Str Chiswick

Established by about 1732, it became the brewery pub for Sich & Co brewery. It closed in 1909. It achieved fame in 1889 because it was here that an inquest was held into the death by drowning of a Jack the Ripper suspect, Montague John Druitt (see: http://www.closedpubs.co.uk/london/w4_chiswick_lamb.html). The buildings that housed Sich’s brewery, the Lamb Brewery, can be seen behind the former pub. The brewery was leased to the brewers John Sich and William Thrale in 1790. Brewing ceased in the early 20th century. The premises were then used until 1952 by the Standard Yeast Company, and now they have been converted into offices, studios, and flats.

Chiswick has been a centre for brewing since early times, since at least the 13th century when many of the local inhabitants owed taxes for making malt (see: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol7/pp78-86#h3-0007). Earlier than that, by the 11th century, Chiswick was known for cheese making. Its earlier name, the Old English ‘Ceswican’, meant ‘cheese farm’ (see: “A Dictionary of London Place-Names”, by D Mills, publ. 2010). By the late 16th century, there was at least one brewery in the area. Fuller’s brewery is the last of these to survive.

Old shop 6 Church Str

Old shop 6 Church Str

Pages Yard off Church Str Chiswick

Pages Yard off Church Str Chiswick

Number 6 Church Street has a large disused shopfront with central double doors and decorative masonry brackets ate each end of the former fascia. This building was marked as a ‘Post Office’ on old (pre-WW2) maps. It is almost opposite Pages Yard, a cul-de-sac lined with 18th century brick houses with luxuriant gardens. The north end of historic Church Street opens abruptly into to modern day life in the form of the busy Great West Road dual carriageway.

The George and Devonshire pub

The George and Devonshire pub

Boston House Chiswick Sq

Boston House Chiswick Sq

Chiswick Sq

Chiswick Sq

Many people whizzing along this road or stuck in a traffic jam probably do not notice the historic George and Devonshire pub, which has been in business since the 1650s, although its present home dates from the 18th century. Its neighbour Chiswick Square is dominated by the elegant Boston House. Pevsner compares the design of this building, erected in the 1740s, to London’s Albany (in Piccadilly). Its name probably derives from Viscount Boston, Earl of Grantham (died 1754), who lived there. The buildings on the other two sides of the square, whose north side has no buildings, are late 17th century.

Flyover at Hogarth Roundabout

Flyover at Hogarth Roundabout

St Mary's Convent and Nursing Home

St Mary's Convent and Nursing Home

St Mary's Convent and Nursing Home

St Mary's Convent and Nursing Home

Putting Boston House behind you, one cannot avoid seeing a stream of vehicles ascending the slope of the western end of the slender flyover that carries traffic eastward above the Hogarth Roundabout. St Marys Convent, a short distance west of Chiswick Square, was designed by Charles Ford Whitcombe and constructed in 1896. It bears some architectural details typical of the Arts and Craft Movement. Over the years, it has been considerably enlarged to encompass a hospital.

Corner Paxton and Short Roads

Corner Paxton and Short Roads

Paxton Road, which leads northwest from the Convent runs alongside the grounds of Chiswick House. It is lined by 19th century ‘villas’, which in this context mean mundane terraced houses. On the corner of Paxton and Short Roads, there is a house with extensive ground floor windows separated by orange tiling and surmounted by what might once have been a shop or pub fascia boarding above. It is more likely to have been a shop than a pub because no pub is marked on old maps of Paxton Road. Now, it is residential.

Hogarth's House

Hogarth's House

Paxton Road becomes Sutherland Road at its northern end, and the latter leads to the busy Great West Road (A4), known at this point as Hogarth Lane. This is no country lane, but a six-lane highway! When the artist William Hogarth (1697-1764) moved to Chiswick in 1749, the house he bought, which still stands today, was surrounded by quiet countryside. This building constructed between 1713 and ’17 is now bordered by the busy A4 and is only a few yards from the Hogarth Roundabout. The house, which cost all of £7, was run-down when Hogarth bought it. Like so many people who by run-down properties abroad today in picturesque places like Andalucía and Tuscany, Hogarth restored and extended it. For example, he added the first floor oriel window that projects over the front door.

Hogarth House

Hogarth House

Hogarth House staicase with panelled walls

Hogarth House staicase with panelled walls

During WW2, Hogarth’s home, which had become a museum, suffered bomb damage. This was repaired, and by 1951 the museum, having been extended, was re-opened to the public. When I visited it in October 2017, the upper floor was closed because work was being done to repair damage that had occurred in the ceilings. There is not too much to be seen in the two ground floor rooms. One of them is wood-panelled and feels and looks like the living room of a friend’s house in Kensington, which was built shortly after Hogarth’s home. The exhibits include a sculpture depicting the artist and several Hogarth’s prints. This place is worth visiting not because it is a wonderful museum, but because it is fun to stand where once the great artist stood, and, also, because it is interesting to see inside a house of this vintage, which is neither a palace nor a stately home. The house has a pleasant garden with a large lawn and trees.

Hogarth roundabout pedestrian subway

Hogarth roundabout pedestrian subway

This exploration ends here. If you feel stranded and surrounded by an unending stream of traffic, it is worth knowing that an escape route exists in the guise of a pedestrian subway beneath the Hogarth Roundabout.

The riverside between Hammersmith and Chiswick was once alive with industry and barge traffic. Interspersed among this were many houses of considerable vintage, some of which were the homes and workshops of artists, calligraphers, engravers, bookbinders, and printers. The industry and working river traffic has disappeared, but much of the early architecture remains alongside a series of pubs and boathouses, making this stretch of the Thames a delight for leisure-seekers.

8 Lower Mall, Hammersmith

8 Lower Mall, Hammersmith

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 14:13 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged architecture beer pubs thames hammersmith river_thames ale william_morris breweries chiswick

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

We love walking along the Thames here, though more usually in the other direction. We can take the bus to Kew from the end of our road and walk through to Hammersmith, finishing with a drink at the Blue Anchor or the Dove. The latter has some interesting historical connections - Charles II is said to have drunk there with Nell Gwynne, and Rule Britannia was composed there :)

by ToonSarah

Another excellent article Adam

by Easymalc

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint