Arts & Crafts Hammersmith Project Manager, Simon Daykin muses on the picturesque riverside garden at 7 Hammersmith Terrace.
We talk a lot about Emery Walker’sand Kelmscott House and their interiors and collections, but both houses boast further hidden gems quite literally on their doorsteps.
Dorothy Walker, Emery’s daughter and resident until her death in 1964, was a keen gardener, and it shows. The garden at 7 Hammersmith Terrace is testimony to her golden horticultural touch, against the marvellous backdrop of the River Thames. The garden long pre-dates Dorothy, however – we know that one former occupant, Emery Walker’s Doves Press partner James Cobden-Sanderson, erected a summerhouse at the back of the space overlooking the river – but it is her painstakingly detailed records from the 1930s onward that demonstrate the greater love and attention.An essential part of the visitor experience, the garden is another example of the Arts and Crafts aesthetic, where the natural world and interiors meld together in harmony to create a practical but pleasurable environment. The garden is these days tended by a loyal team of volunteers, who prune, weed, trim, dead-head and generally keep the garden looking at its best. Before our building contractors moved in, the giant wisteria growing over the rear of the house (and up to second floor level) had to be taken down and protected. Similarly the vine that has pride of place in the conservatory – an ancient and very vulnerable specimen, taken as a cutting by Walker from the vine at nearby Hogarth’s House in Chiswick.
A perfect spot for quiet contemplation and to survey the various rowers, walkers and swimmers as the sun dances on the Thames – and, as the project team have discovered – a very pleasant al fresco office when the day is hot, to meet and create amongst the flowers and the bees.