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Hammersmith shown within Greater London
|OS grid reference|
|– Charing Cross||4.3 mi (6.9 km) ENE|
|London borough||Hammersmith & Fulham|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|London Assembly||West Central|
Hammersmith is a district in west London, located in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It is bordered by Shepherds Bush to the north, Kensington to the east, Chiswick to the west, and Fulham to the south, with which it forms part of the north bank of the River Thames. It is linked by Hammersmith Bridge to Barnes in the southwest. The area is one of west London's key commercial and employment centres, and has for some decades been a major centre of London's Polish community. It is a major transport hub for west London, with two London Underground stations and a bus station at Hammersmith Broadway.
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.
Major industrial sites included the Osram lamp factory at Brook Green, the J. Lyons factory (which at one time employed 30,000 people). During both World Wars, Waring & Gillow's furniture factory, in Cambridge Grove, became the site of aircraft manufacture.
Hammersmith is 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. Named after John King, Bishop of London, it contains a second shopping centre (Kings Mall), many small shops, the Town Hall, the Lyric Theatre, a cinema, the Polish community centre 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 office complex to the south of the flyover which traverses the area.
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 accident & emergency and teaching departments run by the Imperial College School of Medicine.
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.
- Also listed are Hammersmith's two parish churches, St Paul (the town's original church, rebuilt in the 1890s) and St Peter, built in the 1820s.
Culture and entertainment
- Riverside Studios is a cinema, performance space, bar and cafe. Riverside Studios was formerly BBC studios used for TV productions.
- Lyric Hammersmith Theatre
- Hammersmith Apollo concert hall and theatre (formerly the Carling Hammersmith Apollo, the Hammersmith Odeon, and before that the Gaumont Cinema).
- Hammersmith Palais nightclub, which was demolished and the site reused as student accommodation
- POSK, the Polish cultural centre, is on King Street. It contains a theatre, an art gallery and several restaurants. Its library has one of the largest collections of Polish-language books outside Poland.
- The Dove is a riverside pub 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 has a municipal park Ravenscourt Park 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 London Underground stations named Hammersmith: one is served by the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines and the other is 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. The length of King Street places the westernmost shops and offices closest to Ravenscourt Park tube station on the District line, one stop west of Hammersmith itself.
In literature and music
William Morris's utopian novel News from Nowhere (1890) describes a journey up the river from Hammersmith towards Oxford; it is of growing interest to contemporary ecological and socialist political movements.
In 1930, Gustav Holst composed Hammersmith, a work for military band (later rewritten for orchestra), reflecting his impressions of the area, having lived across the river in Barnes for nearly forty years. It begins with a haunting musical depiction of the River Thames flowing underneath Hammersmith Bridge. Holst taught music at St Paul's Girls' School and composed many of his most famous works there, including his The Planets suite. A music room in the school is named after him.
- John Milton (1608–1674), poet
- William Sheridan (c. 1635 – 3 October 1711), Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh
- William Belsham (1752–1827), political writer and historian
- Charles Burney (1757–1817), schoolmaster
- Caroline of Brunswick (1768–1821), princess and Queen Consort of George IV
- William Crathern (born 1793), composer
- Lewis Kennedy (c. 1721–1782), nurseryman
- James Lee (1715–1795), nurseryman
- T. J. Cobden Sanderson (1840–1922), artist and bookbinder
- William Tierney Clark (1783–1852), civil engineer, designer of first Hammersmith bridge
- Gustav Holst (1874–1934), composer, taught music at St Paul's Girls' School
- Leigh Hunt (1784–1859), critic, essayist, poet, and writer
- Edward Johnston (1872–1944), scholar, credited with the revival of calligraphy
- William Morris (1834–1896), artist, writer, socialist and activist
- Francis Ronalds (1788–1873), inventor, built the first working telegraph at Hammersmith Mall
- Frederic George Stephens (1827–1907), art critic
- Emery Walker (1851–1933), engraver and printer
- George Wimpey (1855–1913), stonemason
- Lily Allen (born 1985), pop singer
- Bill Bailey (born 1964), comedian
- Sacha Baron Cohen (born 1971), comedian and actor
- Marcus Bent (born 1978), footballer
- Joe Calzaghe (born 1972), boxer
- Sebastian Coe (born 1956), athlete and politician
- Marie Colvin (1956–2012), journalist
- Benedict Cumberbatch (born 1976), actor
- James DeGale (born 1986), boxer
- Cara Delevingne (born 1992), model and actor
- George Devine (1910–1966), director
- Mary Fedden (1915–2012), artist
- Ralph Fiennes (born 1962), actor
- Emilia Fox (born 1974), actress
- George Groves (born 1988), boxer
- Hugh Grant (born 1960), actor
- Tom Hardy (born 1977), actor
- Miranda Hart (born 1972), actress
- A. P. Herbert (1890–1971), humorist
- Jocelyn Herbert (1917–2003), stage designer
- Sophie Hunter (born 1978), theatre and opera director
- James May (born 1963), television presenter
- Rik Mayall (1958–2014), comedian
- Helen Mirren (born 1945), actress
- Maurice Murphy (1935–2010) – principal trumpet, London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) (1977–2007)
- Gary Numan (born 1958), musician 
- Scott Overall (born 1983), Olympic marathon runner
- Stuart Pearce (born 1962), footballer
- Rosamund Pike (born 1979), actress
- Stephen Poliakoff (born 1952), playwright
- Eric Ravilious (1903–1942), artist
- Tony Richardson (1928–1991), theatre and film director
- Alan Rickman (1946–2016), actor
- Vidal Sassoon (1928–2012), hairdresser
- Labi Siffre (born 1945), musician
- Estelle Swaray (born 1980), musician
- Julian Trevelyan (1910–1988), artist
- Evelyn Whitaker (died 1929), children's writer
- Alan Wilder (born 1959), musician from Depeche Mode
The poet John Milton lived in Hammersmith
The composer Gustav Holst taught at St Paul's Girls School
The Hammersmith artist Eric Ravilious made this woodcut in 1925
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Hammersmith.|
Media related to Hammersmith at Wikimedia Commons
- London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham
- Hammersmith's local community web site
- 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)
||Acton||Shepherd's Bush, Hammersmith||Notting Hill, North Kensington|
|Chiswick (part of)||Barnes||Fulham|