Another scorching day to travel to a vibrant part of west London and one I’ll look forward to returning to as Hammersmith serves as the terminus for both the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines. This was an interesting and delightful sojourn, not only because of the things I saw, but also for the people I met and stopped to talk with. All in all a great day out.
Before stretching my legs too far, a quick stroll around the immediate vicinity, I spot a delightful shop, Turners florist, framed nicely through some lavender; and just around the corner in Hammersmith Grove there’s an interesting traffic calming approach. In creating a road obstacle, seating areas adorned with plants are positioned in such a way to narrow the side road thus creating a sun trapped haven for those seeking some respite, or a place for a good natter.
Crossing Beadon Road, the smell of the open air food market wafts over the traffic creating a sensory experience to make the tummy rumble with excitement. Such markets have become very popular across London, and this was no exception. It’s always interesting to see which stall has the longest queue, as this serves as an indication of the quality of the food on offer. Having walked around a couple of times, I’m stopped by a passer-by who also turns out to be a keen amateur photographer with a passion for Leica cameras.
Walking on, I wanted to make a beeline for Olivier’s Bakery as I was attracted to their display of home baked breads and cakes. I courteously ask if I can take some close up pictures and offer some free advertising through this blog. This leads to a conversation about what I am doing, and the ladies were more than happy to pose. The stall is well positioned at the front of the market, and clearly attracts customers as evidenced during my visit. Many thanks too for the baguette, which served as my lunch for the day.
Hammersmith is also served by the Piccadilly and District lines, albeit from a different station about 100 metres away in the covered Broadway Shopping Centre, and en route to the extensive bus station. To get there, though, you have to navigate across Hammersmith’s extremely busy one-way ring road, and although controlled by traffic lights, many pedestrians risked life and limb thinking they knew the lighting sequencing better; they didn’t…
Out of the shopping centre onto Hammersmith’s south side, where the infamous Hammersmith Eventim Apollo theatre is found. Even at midday a leisurely queue was beginning to form presumably for the evening’s performance or maybe for the the ticket office to open, and although the advertising indicated Michael Buble was the performer, those queueing did not fit the expected Michael Buble fan base profile.
For those who know Hammersmith you’ll know that it is in some way defined by the A4 flyover which dissects a swathe from Hogarth Roundabout to Cromwell Road to manage the traffic flow to/from the M4 and west London. The vision is none more striking than how it apparently cuts St Pauls church in half.
Heading south down Queen Caroline Street towards the Thames Path and the north shore, I’m drawn into the Peabody Estate Hammersmith by its characteristically strong brick built facade, cloistered inner courtyards and functional security arrangements (but a sad indictment of today’s needs to protect property). I’m also reminded that today is England’s final World Cup group stage game with the nation having a high expectation of a win as the team has already qualified for the next knockout stage. As I walk around, I stop and chat with Gary a local resident, who has a shared interest in London photography. I also learn he’s a guitarist with Caribbean Xpress a steel band performing Caribbean music, ska and reggae; have a look at them on YouTube
On the approach to the Thames, I pass the revamped Riverside Studios and take in the view of the redeveloped north shore and espy the iconic Hammersmith Bridge, which features annually during the Cambridge vs Oxford Boat Race. Turning left to stroll along the embankment, there are several interesting stopping points, as indeed I did. There’s the impressive ‘Figurehead’ sculpture by Rick Kirby; a plaque to commemorate William Tierney Clark who built the bridge; a bust of Lancelot (Capability) Brown by Laury Dizengremel who lived nearby in the mid 18th century, and the Fulham Reach Boat Club. If you look across the Thames to the south shore you’ll also see the Harrods Furniture Depository. A busy walkway indeed full of nearby office workers enjoying the sun during their lunch break.
I decide a walk over the bridge is a must, which takes me into the neighbouring village of Barnes, which sits within the borough of Richmond on Thames before turning back over the bridge when I spot the unassuming, yet attractive headquarters of British Rowing. I end my day’s journey in Furnivall Gardens with a well deserved ice cream. I only mention this as I was surprised by the generosity of the ice cream van vendor who recognised my surprised shock at the price of a standard ice cream (£2.50) and he reduced the price by 20% to (£2.00). As my father always told me…’if you don’t ask, you don’t get’…It was a very generous portion too… mmmmmm
For more info, look up Hammersmith on Wikipedia
See all Hammersmith pics on Google Photo here – feel free to comment