Sunday, 6 August 2017

Hammersmith, on the Thames

One of my favourite haunts in West London is the stretch of the Thames between Hammersmith and Chiswick. I'd spend many a summer evening here in the pubs and on the riverside paths and lawns; pleasure cruisers would make their way up and down stream, disco music blaring - The Hustle by Van McCoy from 1975 there in my memory. Pints of ale at the Blue Anchor, the Rutland, the Dove, the Old Ship and the Black Lion. And plenty of Brictorian architecture along the way.

From the roofs of these desirable riverfront properties, the views of the Thames - in both directions - must be truly uplifting. Note the raised step and solid wooden gate - a sign that flooding is a risk that householders have to live with.

Below: the view westwards towards Chiswick, visible on the bend of the river. Close to this viewpoint is the house, now occupied by the William Morris Society, from which in 1820 Sir Francis Ronalds sent the first electrical telegraph a distance of signal eight miles.

Below: the view eastwards towards Hammersmith Bridge. Note the sprawl of houseboats at anchor on the northern bank of the river.

Below: a floating residence upon the Thames has long been popular alternative to ultra-expensive bricks and mortar. The solid Victorian embankment stands over the river at low tide, exposing its muddy bottom.

Below: quintessentially English view; Georgian architecture, an MG Midget sports car parked outside. The high wall to the left backs onto the river. Down the passage to the left is the Dove, a charming and historic pub, in which it is said the poet James Thomson wrote the words of Rule Britannia!. At the far end of the passage is Furnivall Gardens, a popular park wedged between the roaring traffic of the Great West Road and the placid waters of the Thames.

Looking west down the passage with the Dove to the left. Many's the time I made my way here, the half-way point of the five-pub riverside stroll that starts at Hammersmith Bridge and ends at the Black Lion.

This is London at its best, day or night, summer or winter, if you're in town for several days, this walk is certainly worth it, especially if you call in at the pubs along the way for refreshment.

Below: bonus shot - a Rolls-Royce 25-30 HP Touring Limousine with bodywork by Park Ward, near Scotch Common, Ealing.

Below: bonus bonus shot - a Bentley 4¼ Litre Drophead Coupe with bodywork by Park Ward, near Ealing Common, Ealing.

By the mid-30s, when both these cars (now over 80 years old!) were built, Bentley was owned by Rolls-Royce and was producing essentially sportier versions of a vehicle with similar mechanicals.

This time three years ago:
In search of quintessential English countryside

This time four years ago:
Behold and See - short story, Pt III

This time seven years ago:
Another return to Penrhos

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