Thursday, 24 September 2009

Fulham Palace Road

There's a famous old advert that claims 'You're Never Alone With A Strand'. Well I think the same might be the case with a small digital camera. For example if you're about an hour early when meeting a friend in Hammersmith there's no need to hang around the tube station looking slightly shifty and ill at ease, you can grab your camera and take a quick stroll down an interesting looking local road. You still look a bit shifty and passers-by still give you curious looks but at least you get a few photos before diner.

Which is how I ended up having a quick look at Fulham Palace Road from the old Hammersmith Odeon to Lillie Road and back again...

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Fulham Palace Road - One of the most unmissable of signs on this stretch of road is enormous and ornate plaque for the local school and the slightly overshadowed coat of arms is that of the London County Council who presumably financed its building. There's a real sense of civic pride in the whole building - it looks impressive and has towers, weather vanes, good sized windows and all the rest. No expense spared.
There were several of these light wells along the Fulham Palace Road and also down some of the side roads. Although most of them were pretty worn down you could still see on some that they were made by Haywards Brothers. I'd guess that they were later models and they lack a bit of the charm of the more Victorian styling.
Bit of a gothic Ghost Window down Aspenlea Road. It looks as though it's part of a church but when you get above the ground floor it's actually a pretty standard run-of-the-mill house. There's a betting office behind the window now so they probably weren't too worried about matching brick colour or anything...
Greyhound Road has a few interesting bits and pieces including this nice column. What was most interesting though was the partially concealed tiles along its length.
They're pretty much obliterated by paint and cables now, but would probably have looked quite attractive when new.I couldn't resist this sign down Everington Street. Some time ago I had a collection of 'No Parking - Gates In Use 24Hrs' hand-painted signs. Although I don't think I'll necessarily want to do another full posting on the subject I still couldn't let this one slip through the net.
Sadly there weren't any badged manhole covers on the route but this extra-large sized one from Greyhound Road is tidy enough.
An unusual column pediment from Greyhound Road - not so much for the bloke with whiskers but because it has a date incised on it, in this case 1880. I don't think I've seen one dated quite like this before...
One of several building date plaques on the Fulham Palace Road. Quite a nice one too a a fair bit classier than the building it's stuck on.
No intricate shop front mosaics or colourful displays between shop-fronts so if you're looking for interesting tile-work this is about as good as it seems to get. More gentleman's club than Art & Crafts it's better than a bit of pebbledash and a coat of paint!
Keir Hardie House, Fulham Palace Road: This part of London was staunchly working class for the first half of the 20th century so it's no surprise to find a block of flats named after the founder of the Labour Party.
Down the side is an interesting coat of arms which is documented on the Civic Heraldry site as being as being that of Fulham Metropolitan Borough. This wasn't granted until 1927 and Keir Hardie died in 1915 so they didn't rush into the naming of the block. The explanation of the coat of arms is quite interesting though
The wavy blue lines on the white ground of the shield are emblematical of the River Thames, which forms the most important geographical feature of the district, and bounds the borough for a little more than half its area. The crossed swords through a golden mitre on a red saltire are taken from the arms of the See of London, whose Bishops represented by the mitre have held the Manor of Fulham since the end of the seventh century.
The ancient black ship with a white sail bearing a red and a white rose at the centre, refers to the visit of the Danes to Fulham in the year 879. It accentuates the ecclesiastical character of Fulham whose Manor, which included also the parish of Hammersmith, belonged to the Bishops.
The entrance to Brandenburgh House, Fulham Palace Road was lined with these superb Art Deco tiles. I assume they are original but no doubt someone will tell me that they come from a special craft range at B& Q or something. Either way they're very eye-catching
The corner of Distillery Lane has what looks like an interesting façade but close up turns out to be mostly pebble-dashing. The very top is quite interesting though...
...and I wonder how many people living there realise that it's actually called Sussex House? It looks as though it was built in 1908, has another of those blokes with facial hair and has the mysterious initials "WM"Up near the old Hammersmith Odeon two estates face each other across the street. The Peabody and Guinness Trusts are those sort of estates that seem to pop up wherever you live.
Both were the result of philanthropic individuals but Peabody is the senior and larger of the two, being founded by American banker George Peabody in 1862 and having over 20,000 homes on their books. The Guinness Trust had to wait until 1890 to come into being, again as the result of of one man, Edward Guinness. The Guinness Trust operated in both London and Dublin, although the Dublin connection has since ceased. On the battle of the façades it's a bit of a non-contest though. The Guinness has the edge in design, ambience, architecture and elegance although I've no doubt the Peabody flats would more than hold their own internally
Again this is only a short stroll but there's not so many shop related items, such as mosaics, coalholes or ghost signs but the big themes seem to be the early need for social housing in the area, as well the links with labour and schooling. And short stroll it might have been but it set me up nicely for dinner as well...


Derry said...

Hi there

"...I think the same might be the case with a small digital camera."

Indeed I agree with your sentiments, I find those snatched few moments with a digital camera always seem to yield more fruit than any planned excursion.

I'm writing a piece on the many and various Guiness Trust buildings to be found around London, and I stumbled upon your piece - lovely pictures!

Could I link to your blog post?


History Today Magazine

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