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For other uses, see Hammersmith (disambiguation).
The lyric hammersmith.jpg
Lyric Theatre
Hammersmith is located in Greater London
 Hammersmith shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ233786
   – Charing Cross 4.3 mi (6.9 km)  ENE
London borough Hammersmith & Fulham
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district W6
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Hammersmith
London Assembly West Central
List of places

Coordinates: 51°29′34″N 0°13′22″W / 51.4928°N 0.2229°W / 51.4928; -0.2229

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.[1][2] 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.[3] It contained a monument to Crispe as well as a bronze bust of King Charles I by Hubert Le Sueur.[4] 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.[3][5] In 1984–1985 the bridge received structural support, and between 1997 and 2000 the bridge underwent major strengthening work.[6]

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.[7][8]

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.[9]


The river Thames at Hammersmith

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.

King Street

Stretching about 750m westwards from this centre is King Street, Hammersmith's main shopping street. Named after John King, Bishop of London,[10] 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

Culture and entertainment[edit]

  • 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.[15][16]
The famous Dove public house - entrance in the alley that is the only surviving trace of the old Hammersmith Village. (September 2005)
  • 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.

American broadcasters NBC and ABC both have their London news bureau in Hammersmith.

Leisure and social activities[edit]

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.[17] 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 "Polish Social and Cultural Centre" (known as POSK)[18] is based in Hammersmith, with facilities including a library, a theatre, restaurants and cafes, and houses many other Polish organisations.


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[edit]

Hammersmith features in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations as the home of the Pocket family. Pip resides with the Pockets in their house by the river and goes boating on the river.[19]

William Morris's utopian novel News from Nowhere (1890) describes a journey up the river from Hammersmith towards Oxford;[20] 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.[21] 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.[22]

Notable people[edit]

17th century[edit]

18th century[edit]

19th century[edit]

20th century[edit]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Media related to Hammersmith at Wikimedia Commons