STAMFORD BROOK (District Line) LONDON TUBE RAMBLES
There are two different routes to take, one involves an urban ramble, (1½ miles) the other includes Chiswick House and Hogarth’s House (2 miles)
For both routes start from the Tube station, with its small classical facade and turn right into Goldhawk Road. Shortly you will be in Chiswick High Road. Go right again. At first the road is mainly residential, with an early nineteenth century terrace housing the Chiswick Club Society. The shops on the right hand side of the road are small scale and interestingly varied. Four blocks down, just after Merton Road, is the elegant Burlington House c1800.
The nearby Power House is an imposing building. It was built at the end of the nineteenth century to provide power for the London United Electrical Tramway Company. Trams ran from the depot next door – now a bus garage.To discover this amazing place, pass under the green wrought-iron arch and down the service road (keeping an eye open for traffic). It was reduced in status to a sub-station following the construction of Lots Road in 1917, but continued to function until the closure of the trolley bus service in 1962. Now converted to flats, with a recording studio in the huge lower floor areas.
To the left is what is now Stamford Brook Bus Depot with a delightful Art Deco facade. If you look up to the roof behind the clock you will see a little wooden shed for maintenance. When the depot was built the clock would have played an important part in the smooth running of the tram time-table. Do not attempt to wander into the bus station. It is not a public area and could be dangerous because of moving vehicles.
Cross over the road and go right. In a few minutes you will come to a major junction with Chiswick Lane. The neatly proportioned building next to the commercial premises (ahead, left) dates back to the eighteenth century. Cross with care at the lights and keep going along Chiswick High Road. On the north side a late Victorian pub, The Roebuck, looms large, with gilded stag reliefs on the top storey.
Back on your side, near the corner of Annandale Road, is a statue of William Hogarth and his pug dog (Jim Mathieson 2001.) No.183 with its old bow window is everyone's idea of how a secondhand bookshop should look.Opposite is a handsome ex-police station, brick-built with carved coat of arms above the door, now a restaurant. No.197,The old Fire Station of 1891, has an early example of a hose-drying tower – look out for the carvings of firemen’s helmets above the largest window. At Linden Gardens bear right, back into the High Road. There is an odd run of shops here, with wide arched windows on the upper storey. Crossing the western end of Linden Gardens, turn left at Duke Road, then right into Bourne Place where Afton House (c. 1800), the Chiswick Memorial Club, has a handsome glazed doorway. This short road leads to Dukes Avenue.
Here you can deviate from the main route by walking down Dukes Avenue to get to Chiswick House and Hogarth House (see below) otherwise cross to Barley Mow Passage where there are two contrasting buildings - both once used by Sandersons wallpaper manufacturers.The tall red brick building to the left is dated 1893, while opposite is the 1903 iconic extension by the Arts and Crafts designer, C.F.A.Voysey. (A bridge once joined the two.) It is Voysey's only factory building, being constructed in white glazed brick with graceful curving roof line - now home to a variety of organizations, including the Voysey Society. Next you will come across an old pub, the Lamb Brewery, once the Barley Mow. It has a micro brewery (the name refers to the Lamb Brewery, closed in 1922, which was situated by the river opposite Chiswick Eyot). The pub itself is known to have been operating in the eighteenth century. Continue towards Turnham Green and Heathfield Terrace, though you might be tempted by the smell of hops to break your ramble here! If the Civil War is your thing, at the end of the alley turn right, where you will find a small information area (not the first one) adjacent to the alley on Turnham Green Terrace with a board containing details of the important Battle of Turnham Green in 1642.
Now turn your attention to Heathfield Terrace. No 2 is a Georgian cottage near what used to be the Army & Navy furniture repository (now flats). Pass Heathfield Court to get to a nineteenth century terrace with large arched windows. Soon comes the Town Hall - an impressive building of 1876. Cross Sutton Court Road for an early Victorian stucco terrace, the first house of which has been painted a surprising green. The two little dormer windows on neighbouring dwellings look as if they belong to a dolls' house.
At the West end of Heathfield Terrace is an Arts and Crafts style Church Hall (1913). Walk over the road towards the Green via a zebra crossing, follow the path ahead and then go left at the gap in the railings. At the traffic island cross Sutton Lane North towards Arlington Gardens. Behind Arlington Park House (right hand side) look for the tucked-away rural survival, Arlington Cottages. This was originally a farmhouse and the open front garden is still delightfully informal. (Please respect the privacy of the owners.) Proceed to the end of the Arlington Gardens, turn right into Marlborough Road, then left at Chiswick High Road to discover something entirely different - the Chiswick Park business centre.
The buildings are apparently very simple in design, but closer inspection shows that a great deal of thought has been given to the problems of working in glass-dominated buildings. There is a clever arrangement of projecting louvres plus exterior yellow sun blinds. These are activated by light sensors.Gardens surround these airy units and include a lake and waterfall where I saw a heron and water wagtail looking quite at home.
As Gunnersbury Tube station is opposite you could return home from there. Or you could walk towards the river and Kew Bridge following the route on my entry for Gunnersbury
From the top of Dukes Avenue it is less than ten minutes to the public parkland surrounding Chiswick House. To negotiate the major road, Hogarth Lane, (aka the Great West Road) you will need to use the subway. You'll emerge near the main iron gates of the park which are to the west. Going through these and up the tree-lined drive is a more pleasant way into the gardens than via the car park to the east. To find Hogarth's House, turn left. Cross Sutherland Road. Soon you will see the high brick wall of the house that was once the country home of William Hogarth, eighteenth century artist and satirist. He described this building as ‘a little country box by the Thames’. Now only a 100 yards from the massive Hogarth Roundabout, it is a surprisingly tranquil place. The distinctive bay window looks out onto the small walled garden where there is a mulberry tree so old that it was already mature in Hogarth's time. Please note the opening hours – afternoons only and closed on Monday. Well worth a detour.
Retrace your steps for Chiswick House. This summer retreat was built in the 1720’s for Lord Burlington. He was known as the ‘architect earl’ because of his leading part in the revival of Palladian architecture. The exquisite building is surrounded by 65 acres of landscaped gardens containing many statues and other ornamental features. It was originally intended as a place to enjoy peace and quiet away from the city and to house Lord Burlington’s art collection.
There is a magnificent range of glasshouses dating back to 1828 which houses an important camellia collection, part of which is thought to be the original planting.
From the Burlington Lane exit it is only a few minutes to Chiswick overground station (South West Trains).
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Stamford Brook is just one route from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings in the area covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like to click on the link above and see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!