Hammersmith Then and Now

When Morris and Walker moved to Hammersmith in the late 19th century, it was not the upmarket idyll by the Thames it appears today.

Back then the shacks and malt houses that had grown up in what is now Furnivall Gardens were noisy, dirty and crowded and the area dubbed “Little Wapping”.

Even so, many artists and social activists moved to this unfashionable area to be near their friends and colleagues. An impressive roll call of influential and creative people lived between Walker’s House and Morris’. Please use this page to plot their whereabouts as you walk along the Thames Path, starting at Hammersmith Terrace.

Just upstream from Walker’s house in Hammersmith Terrace in Eyot Gardens, William Benson founded a metal work foundry where he created Arts & Crafts objects and lights.

Hammersmith Terrace, where Emery Walker lived, was home to a host of creative neighbours including FG Stephens, a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (No.10); May Morris who was an artisan and embroiderer and editor, (No. 8) and lived next door to the bookbinder TJ Cobden Sanderson and then Emery Walker (No. 7).

The leading wood engraver WH Hooper (No. 5) lived two doors down from the acclaimed calligrapher and typographer Edward Johnston, who designed the sans-serif Johnston typeface that was used throughout the London Underground system until it was re-designed in the 1980s (No. 3). He taught sculptor and type designer Eric Gill, who created the Gill and Gill sans type, and lived nearby in Eyot Gardens.

Downstream at 34 Hammersmith Mall, you’ll find the home of Arts & Crafts metal worker Harold Stabler and his wife Phoebe, an accomplished sculptor and ceramicist.

Suffragette Dora Montefiore lived at No 32 and the author and campaigner for women’s rights Naomi Mitchison lived in what is now Latymer Preparatory School. Keep going and you’ll find Morris’ home on your left at number 26, just before the Dove’s Pub, which the Dove’s Press and Bindery was named after.

Take a look at Samuel Leigh’s panorama below, and you can see what the path between Emery Walker’s and William Morris’ home looked like back in 1829, 50 years before Morris moved to the house he named Kelmscott after his country manor.

Morris and Walker made this journey every day in the last six years of Morris’ life.

Why not follow in their footsteps? Many more famous artists have lived on this stretch of the river, including the artist JMW Turner, Capability Brown and, more recently, Eric Ravillious, Mary Fedden, Julian Trevelyan and Ben Johnson.

Use these panoramas of the Thames from 1829 and 2014 to click on the houses and find out more about the many artists and designers who have been drawn to Hammersmith Mall over the centuries. With thanks to John R Inglis for allowing us to feature his wonderful project, “Panorama of the Thames”.


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