St Nicholas Church
Chiswick shown within Greater London
|Area||5.72 km2 (2.21 sq mi)|
|Population||34,337 (Chiswick Homefields, Chiswick Riverside, Turnham Green wards 2011)|
|– density||6,003/km2 (15,550/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|– Charing Cross||6 mi (9.7 km) E|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Brentford & Isleworth|
|London Assembly||South West|
Chiswick (i//) is a district of west London, England, and part of the London Borough of Hounslow. It contains Hogarth's House, the former residence of the 18th-century English artist William Hogarth; Chiswick House, a neo-Palladian villa regarded as one of the finest in England; and Fuller's Brewery, London's largest and oldest brewery. It occupies a meander of the River Thames which is heavily used for competitive and recreational rowing, and Chiswick itself is home to several clubs. The finishing post for the Boat Race is just downstream of Chiswick Bridge.
The area was historically an ancient parish in the county of Middlesex, with an agrarian and fishing economy. Having good communications with London from an early time Chiswick became a popular country retreat, and as part of the suburban growth of London in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the population significantly expanded. It became the Municipal Borough of Brentford and Chiswick in 1932 and formed part of Greater London since 1965, when it was merged into the London Borough of Hounslow. Chiswick has a number of named sublocalities: Bedford Park, Grove Park, the Glebe Estate, Strand-on-the-Green and those with named tube stations Turnham Green, and Gunnersbury all within its three full-sized wards of the United Kingdom.
On a border, the Great West Road Roundabout is the start of the North Circular Road (A406), South Circular Road (A205) with the eponymous road flying over this. Within Chiswick at the Hogarth Roundabout the M4 converts to a non-motorway highway, providing a second mode of transport connection to Heathrow Airport and the M4 corridor or all northern/due west counties of the United Kingdom. The Great West Road runs eastwards to end in central London. In Chiswick starts the Great Chertsey Road (A316) which runs south-west, a road that becomes the M3 motorway.
- 1 History
- 2 Governance
- 3 Geography
- 4 Economy
- 5 Points of interest
- 6 Transport
- 7 Sports
- 8 Notable people
- 9 Demography and housing
- 10 In literature
- 11 Nearest places
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 Sources
Chiswick was first recorded c.1000 as Ceswican; the name "Chiswick" is of Old English origin meaning "Cheese Farm" and originates from the riverside meadows and farms that are thought to have supported an annual cheese fair on Dukes Meadows up until the 18th century.
Chiswick grew up as a village around St. Nicholas Church from c. 1181 on Church Street, its inhabitants practising farming, fishing and other riverside trades including a ferry, important as there were no bridges between London Bridge and Kingston throughout the Middle Ages. The area included three other small settlements, the fishing village of Strand-on-the-Green, Little Sutton and Turnham Green on the West road out of London.
A decisive skirmish took place on Turnham Green early in the English Civil War. In November 1642, royalist forces under Prince Rupert, marching from Oxford to retake London, were halted by a larger parliamentarian force under the Earl of Essex. The royalists retreated and never again threatened the capital.
In 1864, John Isaac Thornycroft, founder of the John I. Thornycroft & Company shipbuilding company, established a yard at Church Wharf at the west end of Chiswick Mall. The shipyard built the first naval destroyer, HMS Daring of the Daring class, in 1893. To cater for the increasing size of warships, Thornycroft moved its shipyard to Southampton in 1909.
In 1822, the Royal Horticultural Society leased 33 acres (13.4 ha) of land in the area south of the High Road between what are now Sutton Court Road and Duke’s Avenue. This site was used for its fruit tree collection and its first school of horticulture, and housed its first flower shows. The area was reduced to 10 acres (4.0 ha) in the 1870s, and the lease was terminated when the Society’s garden at Wisley, Surrey, was set up in 1904. Some of the original pear trees still grow in the gardens of houses built on the site.
The population of Chiswick grew almost tenfold during the 19th century, reaching 29,809 in 1901, and the area is a mixture of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian housing. Suburban building began in Gunnersbury in the 1860s and in Bedford Park, on the borders of Chiswick and Acton, in 1875.
During the Second World War, Chiswick was bombed repeatedly, with both incendiary and high explosive bombs. Falling anti-aircraft shells and shrapnel also caused damage. The first V-2 rocket to hit London fell on Chiswick on 8 September 1944, killing three people, injuring 22 others and causing extensive damage to surrounding trees and buildings. Six houses were demolished by the rocket and many more suffered damage. There is a memorial where the rocket fell on Staveley Road, and a War Memorial at the east end of Turnham Green.
Chiswick forms part of the Brentford and Isleworth Parliament constituency. The MP is Mary Macleod (Con), elected at the May 2010 general election replacing Ann Keen (Lab) (1997-2010). For elections to the London Assembly Chiswick is in the South West constituency, represented since 2000 by Tony Arbour, of the Conservative Party. For elections to Hounslow London Borough Council, Chiswick is represented by three electoral wards: Turnham Green, Chiswick Homefields and Chiswick Riverside. Each ward elects three councillors, who serve four-year terms. For 2010–14, all nine councillors are Conservatives. It is one of 35 major centres identified in the statutory planning document of Greater London, the London Plan.
Chiswick St Nicholas was an ancient, and later civil, parish in the Ossulstone hundred of Middlesex. In 1878 the parish gained a triangle of land in the east which had formed a detached part of Ealing. From 1894 to 1927 the parish formed the Chiswick Urban District. In 1927 it was abolished and its former area was merged with that of Brentford Urban District to form Brentford and Chiswick Urban District. The amalgamated district became a municipal borough in 1932. The borough of Brentford and Chiswick was abolished in 1965 and its former area was transferred to Greater London to form part of the London Borough of Hounslow. With these changes, Chiswick Town Hall is no longer the local government centre, but is still used for some council services. There was a Brentford and Chiswick Parliament constituency from 1918 to 1974.
Chiswick occupies a meander of the River Thames, 6 miles (9.7 km) west of Charing Cross. The district is built up towards the north with more open space in the south, including the grounds of Chiswick House and Dukes Meadows, in both ways it resembles Fulham. Chiswick however has one main commercial area, the Chiswick High Road, forming a long high street in the north. The river forms the southern boundary with Kew, including North Sheen, Mortlake and Barnes in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It includes the uninhabited island of Chiswick Eyot, which is joined to the mainland at low tide. In the east Goldhawk Road and British Grove form a border with Hammersmith in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. To the north are Bedford Park and South Acton in the London Borough of Ealing, with a boundary partially delineated by the District line. To the west, within Hounslow, are the districts of Gunnersbury and Brentford. Chiswick is included in the W4 postcode district of the London post town, which in a tribute to its ancient parish includes Bedford Park, mostly within the London Borough of Ealing.
Bedford Park, designed largely by Richard Norman Shaw, was described by Nikolaus Pevsner as the first place "where the relaxed, informal mood of a market town or village was adopted for a complete speculatively built suburb". Some of the most beautiful period mansion blocks in the area, such as Heathfield Court and Arlington Mansions, line the sides of Turnham Green - the site of the Battle of Turnham Green in 1642. Other suburbs of Chiswick include Grove Park (south of the A4, close to Chiswick railway station) and Strand on the Green, a fishing hamlet until the late 18th century. In 1896, Bedford Park was advertised as being in Chiswick, though at that time much of it was in Acton.
Chiswick High Road contains a mix of retail, restaurants, food outlets and expanding office and hotel space. The wide streets encourage cafes, pubs and restaurants to provide pavement seating. Lying between the offices at the Golden Mile Great West Road and Hammersmith, office developments and warehouse conversions to offices began from the 1960s. The first, in 1961 was 414 Chiswick High Road, that was built on the site of the old Empire Cinema, then in 1964 to 1966 the 18 storey headquarters for IBM were built above Gunnersbury. Designed to accommodate 1500 people, it remained their headquarters until 1992, where after extensive alterations it became the home of the British Standards Institution, now known as the BSI Group in 1994. In 2010 the property was purchased by Harbert Management Corporation and renamed Chiswick Tower. It is undergoing refurbishment and the space vacated by BSI Group is being let by Frost Meadowcroft.
Chiswick is also home to the Griffin Brewery, where Fuller, Smith & Turner brew their prize-winning ales. It and its predecessor companies have been brewing beer on the same site for over 350 years. The original brewery was in the gardens of Bedford House in Chiswick Mall; these premises later expanded to the present site nearby. The company brews cask ale and operates an extensive range of pubs throughout London and the South East.
Points of interest
Chiswick House was designed by the Third Earl of Burlington, and built for him, in 1726–29 as an extension to an earlier Jacobean house (subsequently demolished in 1788); it is considered to be among the finest surviving examples of Palladian architecture in Britain, with superb collections of paintings and furniture. Its surrounding grounds are among the most important historical gardens in England and Wales, forming one of the first English landscape gardens.
St Nicholas Church, near the river Thames, has a 15th-century tower, although the remainder of the church was rebuilt by J.L. Pearson in 1882–84. Monuments in the churchyard mark the burial sites of the 18th-century English artist William Hogarth and William Kent, the architect and landscape designer; the churchyard also houses a mausoleum (for Philip James de Loutherbourg) designed by John Soane, and the tomb of Josiah Wedgwood's business partner, Thomas Bentley, designed by Thomas Scheemakers. One of Oliver Cromwell's daughters, Mary Fauconberg, lived at Sutton Court and is buried in the churchyard. Enduring legend has it that the body of Oliver Cromwell was also interred with her, though as the Fauconbergs did not move to Sutton Court until 15 years after his disinterment, it is more likely he was reburied at their home at Newburgh Priory. Private Frederick Hitch VC, hero of Rorke's Drift, is also buried there.
Chiswick's Roman Catholic church, Our Lady of Grace and St Edward (the Confessor) in the Diocese of Westminster, lies on the corner of Dukes Avenue and the High Road. It is a red brick building; the parish was founded in 1848, a school began c. 1855, and a church was opened by Cardinal Wiseman on the present site in 1864. It was replaced by the present building in 1886, opened by Cardinal Manning. The heavy debts incurred were paid off and the church consecrated in 1904. The square tower was added after the First World War by Canon Egan as a war menorial.
The church of St. Michael, Sutton Court was designed by W.D. Caroe in 1908-1909. It is a red brick building on Elmwood road, in Tudor style. St Paul's Church, Grove Park is a Gothic style stone building designed by H. Currey. It was built largely at the Duke of Devonshire's expense in 1872.
St Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park was initially a temporary iron building from 1876 on Chiswick High Road facing Chiswick Lane. The current building's foundation stone was laid in 1879 and consecrated in 1880. It was designed, along with much of Bedford Park, by Norman Shaw, and was called "a very lovely church" by John Betjeman. It is an Anglo-Catholic church, and was attacked on the day it was consecrated for "Popish and Pagan mummeries" by the brewer Henry Smith, churchwarden of St Nicholas, Chiswick.
Christchurch, Turnham Green is an early Victorian Gothic building of flint with stone dressings. The main part of the building, by George Gilbert Scott and W. B. Moffat, is from 1843; the chancel and northeast chapel were added in 1887 by J. Brooks.
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral was built on Harvard Road in 1998, with a blue and gold dome.
Public houses and theatres
There are several historic public houses in Chiswick, some of them listed buildings, including the Mawson Arms, the George and Devonshire, the Old Packhorse and The Tabard on Bath Road near Turnham Green station. The Tabard is known for its William Morris interior and its Norman Shaw exterior; it was built in 1880. Three more pubs are in Strand-on-the-Green, fronting on to the Thames river path. 
Chiswick had two well-known theatres in the 20th century. The Chiswick Empire (1912 to 1959) was at 414 Chiswick High Road. It had 2,140 seats, and staged music hall entertainment, plays, reviews, opera, ballet and an annual Christmas pantomime. The Q Theatre (1924 to 1959) was a small theatre opposite Kew Bridge station. It staged the first works of Terence Rattigan and William Douglas-Home and many of its plays went on to the West End.
The Sanderson Factory (1902) in Barley Mow Passage, now known as Voysey House, was designed by the architect Charles Voysey. It was originally a wallpaper printing works, now used as office space. It is a Grade II* listed building.
Duke's Meadows stands on land formerly owned by the Duke of Devonshire. In the 1920s, it was purchased by the local council, who developed it as a recreational centre. A promenade and bandstand were built, and the meadows are still used for sport with a rugby club, football pitches, hockey club, several rowing clubs and a golf club. In recent years a local conservation charity, the Dukes Meadows Trust has undertaken extensive restoration work, which saw a long term project of a children's water play area opened in August 2006.
Chiswick is situated at the start of the North Circular Road (A406), South Circular Road (A205) and the M4 motorway, the latter providing a direct connection to Heathrow Airport and the M25 motorway. The Great West Road (A4) runs eastwards into central London via the Hogarth Roundabout where it meets the Great Chertsey Road (A316) which runs south-west, eventually joining the M3 motorway.
The southern border of Chiswick runs along the River Thames, which is crossed in this area by Barnes Railway and Foot Bridge, Chiswick Bridge, Kew Railway Bridge and Kew Bridge. River services between Westminster Pier and Hampton Court depart from Kew Gardens Pier just across Kew Bridge.
Including buses that stop at Kew Bridge and Chiswick High Road, and/or Kew Bridge railway station, Chiswick is served by eleven bus routes (27, 65, 94, 190, 237, 267, 272, 391, 440, E3 and H91) and two all-night services (N9 and N11). Three services run 24 hours a day (27, 65, 94).
The District line crosses Chiswick, the London Underground stations are (east-west): Stamford Brook, Turnham Green, Chiswick Park and Gunnersbury. Turnham Green is an interchange with the Piccadilly line, but only before 06:50 and after 22:30, when Piccadilly line trains stop at the station.
Chiswick's local rugby union teams include Chiswick RFC, formerly Old Meadonians RFC. They currently play in London 2 North West (Level seven), six leagues below the Guinness Premiership. It plays on a Saturday at Dukes Meadows.
On Chiswick Common is the Rocks Lane Multi Sports Centre, where there are tennis, five-a-side football and netball courts available to hire to the public. Private tennis coaching for individuals and groups is also available.
The Chiswick reach of the Thames is heavily used for competitive and recreational rowing, and Chiswick itself is home to several clubs. The University of London Boat Club is based in its boathouse off Hartington Road (the boathouse also houses the clubs of many of the University's constituent colleges and teaching hospitals). ULBC is, periodically, one of the most successful university clubs in the UK, with multiple wins at Henley Royal Regatta. Recent members include Tim Foster, Gold medallist at the Sydney Olympics and Frances Houghton, World Champion in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Mortlake Anglian & Alpha Rowing Club and Quintin Boat Club are situated between Chiswick Quay Marina and Chiswick Bridge. The foreshore facing these clubs is also used as the landing place for Boat Race crews.
Tideway Scullers School is immediately downriver of Chiswick Bridge. The Club's current members include single sculling World Champion Mahé Drysdale and Great Britain single sculler Alan Campbell. The upriver end of the Championship Course from Mortlake to Putney is adjacent to the Tideway Scullers School boathouse. The Boat Race is contested on the Championship Course on a flood tide (in other words from Putney to Mortlake) with Duke's Meadows a popular view-point for the closing stages of the race. The finishing post is just downstream of Chiswick Bridge. Other important races such as the Head of the River Race race the reverse course, on an ebb tide.
Although the garage closed in 2000 and has now become a block of flats, Chiswick was once home to the Chequered Flag garage and its associated motor racing team. Situated on Chiswick High Road, the garage and car showroom was noted for its privateering rally team driving a Lancia Stratos with drivers such as Tony Pond and Russell Brookes. Much earlier, the team had raced Formula Junior cars, and numbered Jim Clark amongst its early drivers.
One of the first notable people to have lived in Chiswick is the artist William Hogarth, who lived in Chiswick from 1749, when he bought the house now known as Hogarth's House, which gives its name to the nearby road junction – the Hogarth Roundabout. Hogarth lived in the house until his death in 1764. He is buried in St. Nicholas's churchyard.
Also in the 18th century, between 1716 and 1719, the poet Alexander Pope, author of The Rape of the Lock, lived in Chiswick - in the building which is now the Mawson Arms at the corner of Mawson Lane. Another 18th-century resident is actor Charles Holland, who was born in Chiswick in 1733.
In the 19th century, the Italian writer, revolutionary and poet Ugo Foscolo, died in exile at Turnham Green in 1827, and was buried at St Nicholas Churchyard, Chiswick. The engineer John Edward Thornycroft was born in Chiswick in 1872; his father, John Isaac Thornycroft, had founded the Chiswick-based John I. Thornycroft & Company shipbuilding company in 1864, which Thornycroft later joined and developed. The artist Montague Dawson, regarded as one of the best 20th-century painters of the sea, was born in Chiswick in 1895. The landscape artist Lewis Pinhorn Wood lived at Homefield Road from 1897 to 1908.
The Pissarro family of painters, the impressionist Camille Pissarro, his eldest son Lucien, as well as Felix and Ludovic-Rodo lived in 62 Bath Road, Chiswick around 1897; with Camille Pissarro painting a series of notable landscapes of the area.
Notable people born before the Second World War include zoologist and broadcaster Aubrey Manning (1930- ), and marine geologist Frederick Vine (1939- ). Rock musicians John Entwistle and Pete Townshend of the Who were both born in Chiswick during the Second World War.
Among those born in Chiswick during the post-war period are the musician Phil Collins (1951- ); the singer Kim Wilde (1960- ); the illustrator Clifford Harper (1949- ); the photographer Derek Ridgers (1952- ); and comedian Mel Smith (1952–2013).
Among those who have lived in Chiswick are the actor Hugh Grant (1960- ), who grew up in Chiswick, living next to Arlington Park Mansions on Sutton Lane; singer Bruce Dickinson (1958- ) of the band Iron Maiden; TV presenter Kate Humble (1968- ) from 1997 to 2010; actress Elizabeth McGovern (1961- ) and her husband the film director Simon Curtis (1960- ).
Demography and housing
|Ward||Detached||Semi-detached||Terraced||Flats and apartments||Caravans etc.||Shared|
|Ward||Population||Households||% Owned outright||% Owned w. loan||hectares|
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