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Boom time W6! The history of Hammersmith’s Avenue Estate

The late 19th-Century development continues to define Brackenbury Village today, writes Jane Foster Smith

The development of the Avenue Estate in Hammersmith was a response to the demand for housing outside the London metropolis in the newly opened up areas attainable by the development of public transport.

The term ‘Avenue Estate’ referred to a housing development of 57 properties in Brackenbury Village located over portions of Beauclerc Road, Coulter Road, Hebron Road and bounded by Iffley Road to the west, Agate Road to the east.

The population of Hammersmith had increased rapidly and had grown into a thickly populated and largely industrialised district chiefly through early improvements like the Paddington and Grand Union Canals and the Great Western railway passing through the northern limit of the borough.

The first Hammersmith bridge opened in 1827 giving access to the southern banks of the river Thames. The arrival of better transport links and the increase in population resulted in former farm land, market gardens and brickworks being cleared, filled and drained.

Boom time in W6

Population growth in Hammersmith outstripped the national average: from the first census taken in 1801 the population was 5,600 persons, in 1831 10,222 persons. By 1861 the start of the building boom the population was 24,519 and by 1891 when the majority of Brackenbury Village had been developed, the census showed 97,239 persons.

Over these three census periods, 1801-1831; 1831-1861; 1861-1891; the national average increase in England and Wales 56%, 44% and 44%.

However, Hammersmith parish population grew 82%, 140% and 296% respectively. A growing population suggests the parish was becoming a dormitory for those who formerly might have lived and worked in the City of London and that “the general salubrity of the district” proved popular with merchants, bankers and artisans keen to move out of the city. In addition, there was large-scale immigration from Ireland, France and other European states.

Brackenbury Village and the majority of Hammersmith housing stock dates from the mid-1800s to just pre-war 1910s.

This provides a fairly regular conformity of London Victorian and Edwardian building styles despite several different building companies performing the building works.


The layout of the streets in the Avenue Estate is determined by the original tithe parcels, where parcel number 1338 was that parcel of land bound by Beauclerc, Hebron Road, part of Iffley and Agate Roads.

The tithe apportionment of 21 November 1845 shows the land owned by James Gomme and Stephen Gomme of whom little is known, but was occupied (i.e. farmed) by Thomas Day who lived at ‘The Day’s House’ located on New Road (now Goldhawk Road) on the north side where Ashchurch Park Villas joins Goldhawk Road. Thomas Day was a tenant farmer and market gardener with occupancy of many parcels between New Road (Goldhawk) and the Grove.

The term ‘Avenue Estate’ was coined from a short dead-end street called Avenue Road running south from New Road (Goldhawk) which predated the development, and likely gave access to the farmlands occupied by Thomas Day. This street was renamed Sycamore Gardens.

Family affair

The development between 1870 and 1885 was what we would today term a speculative housing estate, being financed by Alexander Macdonald who in his will dated 18th July 1878 bequeathed his estate to be held in trust for his daughter Jane Margaret (1849-1911).

The trust was managed by his wife Annie Louisa Macdonald and one John James Hamilton. Therefore, on Alexander Macdonald’s death on 29th May 1879, the freehold and leasehold interests including the Avenue Estate passed to Jane Margaret who had reached maturity and had married Hugh Bonham Carter (1832-1896) son of John Bonham Carter (1788-1838) Member of Parliament for Portsmouth from 1816 to 1838.

The Bonham Carter family retained the freeholds of the estate well into the 20th Century.

One initial lease granted in the Avenue Estate was on 30 Beauclerc Road on 5th March 1883 to Sophia Harriet Howell, for 99 years from 25th December 1882 with annual fee of £5-10s-0d. Sophia Howell was the wife of John Howell, Builder, of 100 Brook Green. The lease was granted on behalf of the Bonham Carter Trust, signed by Sir Maurice Bonham Carter KGB.

The establishment of freeholding with underlying leases was established from the outset of building the homes. Most artisans, shop owners, craftsmen and clerks living in Hammersmith could not afford to buy a freehold of a property outright, even if the owning family / trust were willing to sell them.

This situation continues today with many freehold/leasehold properties still existing.


Have your say on a strolling, cycling bridge over the Thames

What do you think of a temporary river crossing running alongside Hammersmith Bridge while the major repairs are carried out?

Over the next week, public drop-in sessions are being staged, to gather feedback on Transport for London’s new plans for a temporary walking and cycling bridge.

The proposed part-time bridge is effectively a stretched version of the pre-fabricated Bailey structures which helped the Allies ford rivers in the Second World War.

Tanks a lot

Swiftly assembled by army engineers, they were strong enough for tanks to rumble over, and (said General Montgomery) 'without them we should not have won the war'.

They were named after an unassuming Yorkshireman called Donald Bailey, a boffin, engineering graduate and magistrate, who came up with the idea in the late 1930s. During the war, 200 miles of pre-fab bridge were built… weighing a boggling 490,000 tons.

Engineers say a temporary bridge at Hammersmith for cars, buses and lorries would be logistically difficult and very expensive, but TfL is willing to fund a 7m-wide pedestrian and cyclist span, on two river piers, to guarantee step-free crossings while repairs to the old bridge are completed.

The carriageway would be 5.5m wide, split between bicycle lanes and walking lanes. On the Barnes side, it would start at the junction of Castlenau and Riverview Gardens, making landfall on the Hammersmith side by the reopened Riverside Studios in Queen Caroline Street.

Planning permission will be needed from both H&F and Richmond councils, and public feedback will be taken into account… but if all goes smoothly, it could be in place by late summer or early autumn.

What's the aim?

What will the temporary bridge achieve? The overall aim, pure and simple, is to speed work on repairing the old structure by allowing the team to focus on the engineering, without the added pressure of thousands of people going back and forth.

The first hints of a possible temporary bridge being built for pedestrians and cyclists came last November, seven months after the bridge closed, and as with everything connected to Hammersmith Bridge, there are historical precedents.

When Tierney Clark’s original 1827 bridge was replaced by Joseph Bazalgette’s current design in the 1880s, a temporary bridge – resembling, some said, a seaside pier – was built alongside the old one.

In fact, providing an alternative was a legal requirement. Part of the 1824 legislation which led to the first suspension bridge stated that if a rebuild was necessary, another method of crossing the Thames had to be provided.

Ferry wary

A ferry was considered… until someone did the maths. A survey in the early 1880s revealed that in daylight hours on a typical week, 86,595 people and 11,090 vehicles crossed the bridge.

The largest available ferry boats held a dozen passengers each, so that idea was ditched.

A temporary bridge was approved in November 1882, running on clusters of timber piles alongside the old bridge. Castlenau was diverted to meet it on the Barnes side.

In April 1884, Vernon & Ewens were contracted to complete the project for £74,920, but the firm went bust. The scheme was transferred to Dixon, Appleby & Thorne for £82,177, and work began in July.

The temporary bridge was completed in six months, and in April 1885 traffic was diverted on to it. It stayed in place for two years and two months. When the present bridge opened in June 1887, the timber alternative was removed and the roads leading on and off the bridge realigned.

Drop-in sessions are on:

  • Saturday 14 March, 11am-3pm, Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, W6 9BN
  • Tuesday 17 March, 6-9pm, Castelnau Community Centre, Barnes, SW13 9AQ
  • Thursday 19 March, 4-8pm, Riverside Studios
  • Saturday 21 March, 1-5pm, St Michael & All Angels, Barnes, SW13 0NX

You can also view the plans online at

You have until midnight on 22 March to send your views in. Email or write to Freepost, TfL Feedback (no stamp needed).

Saturdays are for singing as the Addison choirs return

Horton and Garton is proud to sponsor two concerts from the Addison Singers this month

The Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Choir come together on Saturday 21 March as part of the Brandenburg Choral Festival. Then on Saturday 28 March there is a classical concert.

The Addison Singers draw their membership from across west London.

The Addison Singers performing a choral work on stage behind an orchestra and conductor
The Addison Singers Oratorio Choir will perform a concert on 28 March

All that jazz

Brilliant choral jazz is promised on 21 March, between 7.30 and 9.30pm, as the jazz choir (conducted by Jill Jarman) and the Addison Jazz Ensemble (conducted by Matthew Hough) join forces for Earth Song, a celebration of the Earth.

The programme includes songs such as Let the River RunAfricaBig Yellow Taxi and Wonderful World, while the choir’s selection includes What About UsI Wanna Dance With SomebodyCaribbean BlueHeaven Help Us All and May It Be.

“The theme could not be more topical – a celebration of our Earth in a time of natural disasters and ecological concerns,” said the Singers’ Morna Wheatley.

“We swing the balance back to joy and awe at the wonders of nature and the world around us, with songs you will know and love. And, in what we think is something of an anthem for the cause, both choirs perform a Jill Jarman original composition, the heartfelt and moving Sonnet to a Seal.”

The concert at St Stephen’s Church in Gloucester Road, Kensington, is on Saturday 21 March at 7.30pm. Tickets from £5. (Use code CHOIR1 for a £3 discount on all adult tickets.)


The Addison Singers on stage performing
The Addison Singers

Sing your life

Meanwhile, the Addison Singers Oratorio Choir concert on 28 March (7.30-9.30pm) sees choir members join forces with the Godolphin and Latymer Junior Chamber Choir and the Brandenburg Sinfonia to perform Beethoven’s Mass in C Major (Op 86), a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

The programme also includes Cecilia McDowall’s Stabat Mater and Edwin Roxburgh’s Lament for the victims of conflict, written for oboe and strings in 2003 as a reaction to the horrors of the Bosnian conflict. David Wordsworth conducts.

The concert will be held at St Peter’s Church in Southfield Road, Chiswick, at 7.30pm. Tickets from £3.

For tickets and more details, visit the Addison Singers website.

REVIEW: Make a Tryst at Chiswick Playhouse

It isn’t often that plays return as a result of popular acclaim, but that’s what’s happened at the Chiswick Playhouse, writes John Horton

Tryst is a play you really should try to see. It sold out during a run three years ago at (what was then called) The Tabard theatre, above the Bath Road pub. And now it’s back by popular demand.

My Chiswick friend and neighbour Fred Perry stars as George Love, a conman, alongside Scarlett Brookes as Adelaide Pinchin, the milliner shop girl in this 90-minute intriguing thriller based on a 100-year-old true London story.

The trickster whisks Pinchin away for a fake marriage and a honeymoon to Weston-super-Mare, to fleece her life savings, but events unfold in an unexpected way, and the drama ends up telling a rather different story.

This production, directed by Phoebe Barran, who also directed the 2017 version at the theatre she describes as ‘a pocket gem’, is highly recommended.

But you’ll have to hurry. The show only runs until 29 February.

Tryst, written by Karoline Leach, is at the refurbished Chiswick Playhouse, above the 140-year-old Tabard pub at 2 Bath Road, W4 1LW. Tickets £22.50 (concs £17.50). Shows at 7.30pm. For more details, visit:



Fancy a hot date at Chiswick Playhouse?

You still have time to catch a powerful romantic thriller… but you’ll have to hurry

Tryst, written by Karoline Leach, runs until the last day of February at the theatre above The Tabard pub. When it was first performed in the intimate auditorium space in 2017, it attracted full houses.

The story is based on a true tale from Victorian England which was adapted by Leach and premiered in New York in 2006. It’s a look through the keyhole into an Edwardian household where dashing conman George Love (Fred Perry) woos vulnerable shop girl Adelaide Pinchin (Scarlett Brookes), a woman consumed by dreams of escape.

He persuades her to leave the hat shop and run away with him in a secret tryst, but the plot then twists and turns in a mix of romantic saga and psychological thriller.

The play is directed by Phoebe Barran, who also directed the 2017 version at the theatre she describes as “a pocket gem; an intimate theatre where everybody in the audience can see the actors’ faces so clearly”.

Last year the Tabard Theatre relaunched as the Chiswick Playhouse above the 140-year-old landmark pub, following a refurbishment.

The 80-seat first-floor auditorium is a long-established centre of drama at in Bath Road from new writing to revivals of timeless classic.

Tickets for Tryst, which runs without an interval in a tense 90-minute performance, are £22.50 (concs £17.50). Shows at 7.30pm. Until 29 February. For more details, visit:

Welcome back Riverside Studios – we missed you

Singer and comedian Liza Pulman is just one of the headline acts in the opening season of the revived arts space in Hammersmith

Liza Pulman's new stage show will premiere at the historic Riverside Studios in Queen Caroline Street which has been closed for five years to undergo a top-to-bottom redevelopment.

Three studio spaces, a cafe/bar/brasserie and a cinema are opening over the next few weeks.

On Sunday January 23, it’s curtain up on a theatrical adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 psychological thriller Persona, starring Alice Krige, Nobuhle Ketelo and musician William Close.

That is followed by Love, Loss and Chianti, starring Robert Bathurst and Rebecca Johnson, from 25 February, before Liza Pulman opens her new production, The Heart of It, from May 18. Accompanied by her band, she performs timeless classics by, among others, Stevie Wonder, Judy Collins and Randy Newman.

“The new building looks stunning, and we’re thrilled to have a run of seven nights in the spring,” said Liza (pictured above).

Riverside Studios artistic director William Burdett-Coutts said that it was the culmination of a dream to be back in business. “The old building held an extremely fond place in the hearts of people across the arts, television and film worlds,” he said. “But today the new building combines all of these in a fantastic new public venue.”

The Happiest Days of Your Life 

A film studio from the 1930s to 1950s, producing such classics as Father Brown with Alec Guinness and The Happiest Days of Your Life with Margaret Rutherford, Riverside Studios was later home to BBC programmes including Doctor Who, Hancock’s Half Hour and Crackerjack!

By the 1970s it had become a community arts centre, hosting performers as diverse as Lenny Henry, Samuel Beckett, David Bowie, Amy Winehouse and Benjamin Zephaniah.

Run by a trust, Riverside Studios aims to make the arts accessible to a wider community via education and inclusivity programmes. An archive houses historic artefacts which are been made widely available through digitisation. The arts programme is partly funded by leasing office space in the new building, and renting rooms for private hire.

For more details of the new Riverside Studios programme visit: or by call the box office on 020 8237 1010.

Fancy learning to make prints like William Morris?

Here's your chance to use the same printing press as the father of the arts and crafts movement in his W6 studio 

A printing workshop - using Morris’s own Albion Press - is being staged by the William Morris Society in Hammersmith on Saturday 22 February.

The focus will be on abstract floral motif-making, using letter press typography to create card designs.

Led by printmaker Jenny Bell, the workshop will let participants look beyond the shapes of individual letters to create repeat patterns with .

All materials are provided, and no experience is needed. The workshop is being held at Kelmscott House, which was Morris’s London home for the last 18 years of his life.

The society’s aim is to keep William Morris, his life and work, at the forefront of public attention.

Tickets for the event (10am-noon, Saturday 22 February) are £40, and it is being staged by the William Morris Society at Kelmscott House, 26 Upper Mall, W6 9TA. For more details, visit:

What’s Swedish for welcome? IKEA is coming to Hammersmith

A big warm W6 welcome to our Scandinavian friends 

It’s a big warm welcome to our Scandinavian friends IKEA who are set to move into Hammersmith’s Kings Mall next Spring.

In fact, they’re not just moving in – they’ve bought the entire shopping centre! Courtesy of IKEA’s parent company, Ingka Group, we should get set for ‘Ingka Centres’ to be its new name.

The arrival of the Swedish home-store behemoth will surely bring greater footfall and the curious to King Street. If nothing else, it will thankfully save many of us the trip around the North Circular. The real question everyone wants to know is will the cafeteria be selling Swedish food? (Yes, is the answer.)

Over the years, I’ve seen my fair share of homes and I’m pretty sure the vast majority of West Londoners have at least one IKEA piece of furniture or decorations.

The new Kings Mall store will feature IKEA’s entire product range available to buy from the store for home delivery, with more than 2,000 home furnishing accessories available to take away on the same day. This will be the first time that IKEA’s home furnishing accessories will be available to buy on the UK high street. And for those who find a trip to IKEA isn’t complete without some meatballs, fear not.

Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said: “We’re very pleased Hammersmith will benefit from having Britain’s first IKEA city store.

“The new [store] will help rejuvenate King Street and improve our neighbourhood for all our residents and local businesses. We’re delighted to benefit from this huge investment and look forward to working with Ingka Centres, our residents and the wider community to deliver something really special here.”

Ingka Centres will help continue to regenerate King Street, armed with approximately £170million to invest in the area. Combined with the new town hall Civic Campus planned for the western end of King Street, things are looking up for Hammersmith.


New maths league really adds up after we help crowdfunding drive

Horton and Garton back new community maths league to foster young number crunchers

A project to help local youngsters become wizards with figures and develop into inventors and problem solvers is launching after a successful crowdfunding drive.

The new Hammersmith & Fulham Youth Maths League – backed by the Maths Team – achieved 30 individual pledges of money on Spacehive – with John Horton, founder of Horton & Garton estate agents in King Street, Hammersmith, one of the backers.

“It’s a great project,” John said. “There’s a talent gap in UK companies, with too few girls and children from less privileged backgrounds doing well. This project helps address that, and we’re proud to support it.”

Hammersmith & Fulham Council also added £2,100 to help it reach its £8,000 target.

Starts now

The new maths league starts this month, with Latymer Upper school in King Street, Hammersmith, as the ‘incubator’ school.

Teenagers from the school will help younger children learn that number-crunching can be fun. Then the aim is to roll the project out to other schools in the borough.

Carola Hoyos from Maths Teams explained: “We are building a community maths league to foster intellectual ambition, grit and teamwork in local schoolchildren. Teens coach primary pupils for 10 weeks in preparation for a three-week competition.

“We nurture children’s intellectual ambition through puzzles, logic, teamwork and a good dose of fun,” added Carola. “Our community leagues and young role models are building a pipeline of talent for a tech-led UK economy in which everyone has a chance to thrive.”

A love of maths

Led by teenagers, maths teams will help younger children practise and compete in logic puzzles, gaining a love of maths and academic achievement by representing their school in the same way as sports teams.

“Ultimately we want to make maths as cool as football at schools,” said Carola. “This local league is our first prototype. It's a real learning opportunity for us to expand across the borough – and eventually across the UK.”

Maths puzzles will be set by experts and delivered in 10 weekly one-hour chunks, culminating in a three-week competition. It’s a valuable volunteering opportunity for secondary school students, who will all be given training.

The maths tournament call for teams of girls and boys in equal number, with provision for students who identify as neither. Practices are designed to get the best out of everyone, but especially young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

For more details, visit:



The Hogarth Club celebrate Christmas with another charity Santa Run

Ho-ho-horton and Garton contribute £500 to the Santa Run

It's now a hat trick of 'Santa Runs' for The Hogarth Club as loads of local Santas ran and walked the two bridge route around the Thames.

There were even a couple of dogs and the Club's youngest-ever competitor took part at just two months old. The Hogarth raised more than £1,000 for homeless charity Shelter.

Club organiser Voijin Soskic said: "The mulled wine and minced pies were warmly received upon finishing and very well deserved. Thank you to everyone for their support. See you next year!"