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HAMMERSMITH (District, Ham. & City, Piccadilly lines)
A splendid riverside walk of
about three miles, with lots of interesting buildings – Boat Race territory.
If you have arrived at the Broadway via the District Line, cross to the Hammersmith & City Line station with its quaint frontage (1907) surmounted by a clock. Just inside to the right are some small Art Nouveau windows. Coming out of the station turn right (away from the Broadway) and cross Lyric Square.  Turn right again and walk down the main street (King Street, though it isn’t marked here). Cross at the lights and walk down as far as the Hammersmith Ram pub, then go left down Angel Walk. Now comes the horrid A4 flyover.  Don't worry - you are only a few minutes from the river now! After negotiating the flyover via the lights to the right, go straight ahead down a little street of Victorian terraced houses (Bridge View).

At the end of the street cross Rutland Grove. Rounding the bend you will see the huge green bulk of Hammersmith Bridge. (Currently (2017) being repaired) Before wandering by the river, you might want to admire this famous bridge and go up the slope to see the view. Three attempts have been made to blow up Joseph Bazalgette’s 1887 construction, but happily it remains as impressive as ever. When you descend to river level,  the tone of the embankment walk towards Chiswick is set at the beginning of Lower Mall. People living here have always wanted to see what is happening on the water, so balconies and verandahs are everywhere. The most celebrated event of the year is The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. This was started in 1829 and has remained a major annual sporting event ever since, except for the war years. In 2015 the women's race is on the same day - can't imagine why it took so long, since they have been competing since 1927. If you follow this trail in March/April you may be lucky enough to see one of the crews in training - an beautiful sight. By contrast The Great River Race was only founded in 1988 and is open to all – a kind of London River Marathon, as it covers 22 miles from Richmond to Greenwich. 

There is a most interesting and attractive mix of late Georgian houses, pubs and sailing clubs all along the Mall. In particular, No.20 looks like a dolls' house, seemingly untouched by time and tide. After Furnival Gardens (laid out in 1951, the area having been badly damaged by wartime bombing), the path moves away from the river and becomes a narrow lane, home to the Dove Inn. The building dates back to the 1790’s and was once a coffee house. The poet James Thomson wrote ‘Rule Britannia’ here, and over the years it has been a favourite watering hole for many different kinds of artists. 

Now back to the river and Upper Mall. The large brick building (No. 26) is  Kelmscott House.   William Morris lived here from 1878 until his death in 1896 and named the house after his country idyll near Oxford. In true Morris style he had a tapestry loom in his bedroom!  Those interested in the history of technology may like to see a stone plaque on the small building next door. This commemorates the fact that in the grounds of Kelmscott house
the first electric telegraph cable was laid (1816). At the time, the Admiralty thought that telegraphs of any kind were 'wholly unnecessary'. 

Continue walking by the river, passing the fine building of the Latymer Prep School on the corner of Riverscourt Road. After the elegant eighteenth-century Corinthian Sailing Club go through a modern brick arcade to find the Old Ship Inn and an open space, where some of the arches of the old Middlesex 
Waterworks still remain. Here the path moves inland to pass Hammersmith Terrace – a surprisingly urban set of buildings for what would have been countryside when they were built in the 1750’s. Note the boot-scrapers set into the porches. A number of gifted people have lived here including de Loutherberg the painter and AP Herbert the politician and satirist. There is also a strong tradition of bookbinding and allied arts in the area: William Morrris had his commercial printing press in a cottage in the Upper Mall (no. 14) and the Doves Bindery operated next to the Dove Inn. You now arrive in Chiswick Mall. Here you will find a contrast to the rather stern Hammersmith Terrace -  two small cottages, Mall Cottage (Victorian Gothic) and Eyot Cottage. After these the houses become grand again with river gardens across the road. The largest of these eighteenth century houses is Walpole House, whose porch has delicate Corinthian pilasters. There are flood defence boards on the wrought iron gate and you may well see evidence of flooding, with high-water debris often scattered along the road. If there is any water underfoot, be cautious as there may be a layer of mud which can make walking tricky. Soon Chiswick Eyot is in view. This island, just under four acres in area, is being steadily eroded by the scouring of the tides. Once osiers for basket-making were grown here, and willows can still be seen clinging to the muddy banks   In the garden opposite the white house called Longmeadow is a sculpture by Peter Randal-PageDeceptively simple, it's a giant boulder sawn in half with the cut surfaces polished and carved.

Take the turning away from the river, Chiswick Road South,  to find Griffin Brewery. (from 1845 Fuller, Smith & Turner). Beer has been brewed on the site for over 350 years and the wisteria which rambles over one of the walls is thought to be the oldest of its kind in England. When the first specimen was brought to Kew Gardens in 1816 the brewery was given a cutting. The Fullers plant survived while the one at Kew died! Could this be something to do with the fact that is given a little of the firm's product every day? 

Guided tours of the brewery are available, but you can have a quick peep into the yard to see the old buildings - just be on the look-out for the delivery lorries that constantly come and go. After the brewery shop is a terrace of eighteenth-century houses, Mawsons Row, where Alexander Pope lived for a while. Return to the river path and continue past another series of large dwellings including Eynham House and Bedford House, which, as you can deduce from the disrupted appearance of the Georgian facade, used to be a single building. The fabric of the original dates back to the seventeenth century. 

At the end of this row, before turning into Church Street, note the draw dock. This is the site of the old ferry crossing. It was also here that barges loaded produce from nearby market gardens and unloaded the hops and malt for brewing. If it is low water, and you decide to have a look at the river from the foreshore, please note that the stones may be extremely slippery.
Church Street is a pretty area with the Parish church near the river. It is dedicated to St. Nicholas, patron saint of sailors and fishermen. Although the church tower was constructed in the fifteenth century, the rest was mainly rebuilt in the 1880's. William Hogarth (1697-1764) is buried in the graveyard. To see his tomb (surrounded by railings) go up the small set of stone steps from the road. (There is easier access further along). 

Opposite the church is an attractive black and white building dating back to the sixteenth century, once an inn. Near that is Lamb Cottage, a weatherboarded building which takes its name from the former Lamb Brewery behind it. This ceased brewing in the 1920's and is now converted into offices. Next to the cottage note the attractive weatherboarded oriel window on the south wall of eighteenth-century Brampton House. On the west side of the road are more Georgian buildings, Latimer House having a fine wrought-iron gateway. A turning to the left brings you to Pages Yard (private) where you can see a row of (heavily) restored seventeenth-century cottages. Alas, loft extensions have been allowed for some unknown reason. However, that is nothing compared to the abrupt termination of Church Street at the massive Hogarth Roundabout. Try to ignore this noisy 1960's monster as you walk left past the George and Devonshire along Burlington Lane. (From the board outside the pub you will learn that in the cellar there is the blocked-up entrance to a secret passage used by smugglers.) Amazingly, there is a peaceful area of late seventeenth-century houses further along the 'Lane' - Chiswick Square. Return to the end of Church Street where our explorations end.  There’s no need to trog all the way back to Hammersmith unless you wish to, as Ravenscourt Park station is much nearer. Just after the Latymer Prep School turn into Riverscourt Road. This is bisected by the A4. To negotiate it, use the subway to the right and turn left on the other side. Go down the other half of Riverscourt Road (first right - unmarked at  this point). At King Street walk left and just before Latymer Upper School cross over at the lights to Ravenscourt Road. The Underground station is tucked under the viaductless than ten minutes walk from the river.   

Photos (l. to r.)(To enlarge, click on image)
View from bridge
Lower Mall/
boats at low tide
No.20 Lower Mall
Kelmscott House/Dove Inn
Mall Cottage and Eyot Cottage 
Former inn in Church Street 
View of Church Street, with Lamb Cottage and old Lamb Brewery. 
Panel on Hogarth's tomb
Burlington Lane, Chiswick Square
Plaque in Chiswick Square


Hammersmith is just one walk from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings  to be found 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 go to to see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!

© DR