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Hammersmith is a district in west London, England, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, approximately five miles (eight kilometres) west of Charing Cross on the north bank of the River Thames. One of west London's key transport hubs and commercial and employment centres, and home to several multinational company offices, it is focused on the two London Underground stations, bus station and road network node at Hammersmith Broadway. It also has its own shopping centre, Kings Mall.
It is bordered by Shepherds Bush to the north, Kensington to the east, Fulham to the south and Chiswick to the west, and is linked by Hammersmith Bridge to Barnes in the southwest. It has for some decades been the main centre of London's Polish minority.
In the early 1660s, Hammersmith's first parish church, which later became St Paul’s, was built by Sir Nicholas Crispe who ran the brickworks in Hammersmith. It contained a monument to Crispe as well as a bronze bust of King Charles I by Hubert Le Sueur. In 1696 Sir Samuel Morland was buried there. The church was completely rebuilt in 1883, but the monument and bust were transferred to the new church.
The Hammersmith Suspension Bridge, designed by William Tierney Clark, was built across the Thames in 1827, and rebuilt in 1893. In 1984–1985 the bridge received structural support, and between 1997 and 2000 the bridge underwent major strengthening work.
In 1745, two Scots, James Lee and Lewis Kennedy, established the Vineyard Nursery, over six acres devoted to landscaping plants. During the next hundred and fifty years the nursery introduced many new plants to England, including fuchsia and the standard rose tree.
House construction and industrial development flourished.[when?] Major industrial sites included the Osram lamp factory at Brook Green, the J. Lyons factory (which at one time employed 30,000 people) and the largest municipal power station in Britain, built near the gasworks in Sands End.
All these have subsequently been closed and redeveloped as the area has moved from an industrial base to a greater focus on commerce and services.
Hammersmith is a natural centre of activity, located at the confluence of a key arterial route out of central London (the A4) with several local feeder roads and a bridge over the Thames. The focal point of the district is the commercial centre (the Broadway Centre) located at this confluence, which houses a shopping centre, bus station, an Underground station and an office complex.
Stretching about 750m westwards from this centre is King Street, Hammersmith's main shopping street which contains its second shopping centre (Kings Mall), many small shops, the Town Hall, the Lyric Theatre, a cinema and two hotels. King Street is supplemented by other shops along Shepherds Bush Road to the north, Fulham Palace Road to the south and Hammersmith Road to the east.
Hammersmith's office activity takes place mainly to the eastern side of its centre, along Hammersmith Road and in the Ark, an architecturally-unique office complex to the south of the flyover which traverses the area. The offices of International SOS, Bechtel, Coca-Cola, Disney, Pokémon, L'Oréal, NHS Hammersmith and Fulham, Sony Ericsson, Shazam, Universal Music Group, World Wrestling Entertainment, AOL UK, Accor UK, Next Fifteen Communications, US Airways, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Frost Meadowcroft Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and Royal Jordanian Airlines are all found in Hammersmith. Two NHS hospitals provide jobs in Hammersmith - Charing Cross Hospital to the south of the centre on Fulham Palace Road and Hammersmith Hospital in the north. Charing Cross Hospital is a large multi-disciplinary hospital with an accident & emergency department and teaching department run by the Imperial College School of Medicine.
CE Europe, a subsidiary of Capcom, has its head office in the George House in Hammersmith. As of May 2011 it will be relocating to the Metro Building, an 11 storey, 106,000-square-foot (9,800 m2) building in Hammersmith.
For a fifteen-year period, Air France had its UK and Ireland office in Colet Court in Hammersmith. In 2006 the UK and Ireland office was moved to Hatton Cross, London Borough of Hounslow.
Architecturally, Hammersmith is notable for
- "The Ark" office building designed by British architect Ralph Erskine and was completed in April 1992 as the name suggests it has the appearance of a large ship.
- "Hammersmith Bridge Road Surgery" Doctor's office
- "22 St Peter's Square" the former Royal Chiswick Laundry and Island Records HQ converted to architects studios and offices by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. It has a Hammersmith Society Conservation award plaque (2009) and has been included in tours in Architecture Week.
- Several of Hammersmith's pubs are listed buildings, including the Black Lion, The Dove, The George, The Hop Poles, the Hope and Anchor, the Salutation Inn and The Swan.
Hammersmith has a cornucopia of organisations that offer property management. It is a trade that has existed in the area for generations.
Culture and entertainment
- Riverside Studios is a cinema, performance space, bar and cafe. Riverside Studios was formerly BBC studios used for TV productions.
- The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre
- The Hammersmith Apollo concert hall and theatre (formerly the Carling Hammersmith Apollo, Hammersmith Odeon, and before that the Gaumont Cinema).
- The Hammersmith Palais nightclub, which is now disused and set to be demolished.
- The Dove riverside pub, which claims to be the oldest surviving riverside pub in London with, reputedly, the smallest bar in the world, frequented by Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene. The narrow alley in which it stands is the only remnant of the riverside village of Hammersmith, the bulk of which was demolished in the 1930s. Furnivall Gardens, which lies to the east, covers the site of Hammersmith Creek and the High Bridge. The site of the creek can be ascertained by a mound near the Great West Road.
In addition to the cinema and pubs of King Street, leisure activity also takes place along Hammersmith's pedestrianised riverside, home to a number of pubs, rowing clubs and the riverside park of Furnival Gardens. Hammersmith also has a large municipal park called Ravenscourt Park located to the west of the centre. Its facilities include tennis courts, a basketball court, a bowling lawn, a paddling pool and playgrounds. The whole area is covered by the same W6 postcode as Hammersmith town centre.
Hammersmith is the historical home of the West London Penguin Swimming and Water Polo Club, formerly known as the Hammersmith Penguin Swimming Club.
"Round Table London Hammersmith 48" is a community service and networking club for men aged 18 to 45. Regular meetings are held at the London Corinthian Sailing Club on the banks of the river Thames.
The area is on the main A4 trunk road heading west from central London towards the M4 motorway and Heathrow Airport. The A4, a busy commuter route, passes over the area's main road junction, Hammersmith Gyratory System, on a long viaduct, the Hammersmith Flyover. Hammersmith Bridge, the first suspension bridge over the River Thames, carries traffic to and from Barnes and southwest London.
The centre of Hammersmith is served by two tube stations, both named Hammersmith. One is the western terminus of the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines, while the larger one served by the Piccadilly and District lines . The latter tube station is part of a larger office, retail and transport development, locally known as "The Broadway Centre". Hammersmith Broadway, itself, stretches from the junction of Queen Caroline Street and King Street in the west to the junction of Hammersmith Road and Butterwick in the east. It forms the north side of the gyratory system also known as Hammersmith Roundabout. The Broadway Shopping Centre includes a large modern bus station, which is open 24 hours a day and served by a large number of buses, night buses, airport transfer buses and some long distance coaches.
Hammersmith also used to be able to boast of having not one but two public passenger transport depots: Hammersmith Trolleybus Depot (coded "HB") situated opposite Fulham Palace Road and a Motor Bus Garage, known as Riverside (coded "R") to stop confusion with "HB". Riverside was originally a mansion and after the bus operations ceased the fascia of the building was listed.
Hammersmith in popular culture
News from Nowhere (1890) written by William Morris is a utopian novel that describes a journey upstream the River Thames from Hammersmith towards Oxford; it is of growing interest to contemporary ecological and socialist political movements.
In 1930, Gustav Holst composed a work for military band (later rewritten for orchestra) entitled Hammersmith to reflect his impressions of the area, having lived across the river in nearby Barnes for nearly forty years. It begins with a haunting musical depiction of the River Thames flowing underneath Hammersmith Bridge. Holst was a music teacher at St Paul's Girls' School, where he composed many of his most famous works, including The Planets suite. A music room in the school is named after him.
Hammersmith has provided a location for several television programmes, including the BBC comedy series Bottom, Channel 4's TFI Friday, and the vampire drama Ultraviolet. The opening credits of Bottom show the Hammersmith Broadway (also mentioned in The Pogues' song Dark Streets of London) development, then called Centre West, when it was under construction. In addition, the Flying Squad were Hammersmith-based in the 1970s TV series The Sweeney. Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective contains scenes that appear to be under and adjacent to Hammersmith Bridge, and Peter Howitt's Sliding Doors includes scenes in and around Hammersmith Bridge. The popular Thames Television series Minder also features black and white photographs of Hammersmith Bridge and the Blue Anchor pub in the closing credits.
The BBC's 2008 Miniseries Lost in Austen stars Jemima Rooper (who was born in Hammersmith) as Amanda Price, a character who lives in modern day Hammersmith, but is transported (through a portal in her flat's bathroom) into Jane Austen's fictional story Pride and Prejudice. Amanda Price gets stuck in fictional Georgian England and upon returning to Hammersmith of the 18th century, discovers it to be a small village miles from London.
- London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham
- Cllr. Stephen Cowan (Lab) - Leader of the Opposition
- Hammersmith's local community web site
- Hammersmith - 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
- Description of Hammersmith in 1868
- Hammersmith, Fulham and Putney, by Geraldine Edith Mitton and John Cunningham Geikie, 1903, from Project Gutenberg
- NHS Hammersmith and Fulham
- HammersmithLondon Business Improvement District (BID)
- "UnToldLondon". UnToldLondon. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- Kirby, Terry (11 February 2006). "750,000 and rising: how Polish workers have built a home in Britain". The Independent. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- Staff (1902). "Hammersmith". Royal Thames Guide. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Company. pp. 9–11, page 11. OCLC 47982768.
- The bust is a 1665 bronze copy of the marble bust made by LeSueur in 1631. "Image of bronze bust of Charles I, Hammersmith"., "Search Hammersmith Historical Sculptures: Charles I by Le Sueur".
- "Bombs, bearings and barges - a brief history of Hammersmith Bridge". London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council. 18 September 2012. Archived from the original on 2 March 2013.
- "Hammersmith Bridge super sewer threat". London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council. 18 September 2012. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012.
- "History of Olympia". London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council. 20 August 2010. Archived from the original on 11 September 2010.
- Willson, Eleanor Joan (1961). James Lee and the Vineyard Nursery, Hammersmith. London: Hammersmith Local History Group.
- "Contact". capcom-europe.com. Retrieved 12 August 2011. UK: CE Europe Ltd 26-28 Hammersmith Grove, 9th Floor London W6 7HA" and "Germany: CEG Interactive Entertainment GmbH Barmbeker Strasse 4 b 22303 Hamburg, Germany" and "France: Capcom Entertainment France 30 bis, rue du Viel Abreuvoir FR.78100 Saint Germain En Laye
- "Office Relocation for CE Europe to the Metro Building". Maris Interiors. May 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2011. "Maris are pleased to announce the commencement of the office fit-out for CE Europe Ltd, who are relocating offices to the Metro Building, Hammersmith, London, W6." and "Maris are relocating CE Europe’s London operations from their present offices in George House, 26-28 Hammersmith Grove to Hammersmith’s Metro Building."
- Press release (6 January 2006). "Air France and KLM Celebrate Official Inauguration of New Office in London". Air France. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- Pybus, Victoria. Live and Work in France. Vacation Work, 2002. 158. Retrieved from Google Books on 4 March 2011. "Colet Court, 100 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP" ISBN 1-85458-284-4, ISBN 978-1-85458-284-3.
- "Career Opportunities." Air France Great Britain and Ireland. 15 August 2004. Retrieved 4 March 2011. "Our head office is in Hammersmith, West London,[...]"
- "Savills UK | 404". Savills.com. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "Hammersmith Bridge Road Surgery London by Guy Greenfield". Galinsky.com. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- Dan Hodges. "Best and worst of Hammersmith and Fulham buildings named".
- "architectureweek.org.uk". architectureweek.org.uk. 24 June 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "Time Out, "London's best local parks," 29 August 2008". Timeout.com. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "posk.org". posk.org. Retrieved 1 February 2012.