diamond geezer

 Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stamford Brook
lower course: Ravenscourt Park → Hammersmith Creek

At the northern end of Ravenscourt Park there's a pond. It's a rather attractive asymmetrical pond with a central island, and a stone footbridge up one end beneath which the watery channel disappears. It's a waterfowl magnet, and the parkkeepers have kindly provided an identification board in case you can't tell your moorhens from your mallards. What most visitors don't realise is that in a previous incarnation it used to be part of a moat fed by the Stamford Brook. The moat surrounded Paddenswick House - a mansion of great standing dating back to the 12th century, and once owned by Edward III's mistress. Paddenswick House was upgraded several times over the years, and the gardens were duly landscaped (hence the park), but incendiary bombing in 1941 left the structure in need of total demolition so there's no trace now. Apart from the moat, that is. [photo]

Within the grounds of Ravenscourt Park the Stamford Brook's trio of headwaters finally merged, then headed south. We know that their combined flow was still visible 100 years ago in a culvert running beneath 180 King Street (now an estate agents) [photo]. From King Street onwards the river was once wide enough to be navigable, and the wharf-lined inlet so formed was known as Hammersmith Creek. It's anything but picturesque today. Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall has been erected either on top of or right beside the old waterway, and you won't be seeing this building appearing on local postcards. Having said that, one bunch of architects have ambitious plans to restore the Stamford Brook to the surface here, including a potentially very expensive crossing of the A4 at aqueduct or surface level. The full scheme will never happen, not in this financial climate, but something more symbolically fluvial could easily reappear beside the town hall as part of a smaller scale redevelopment.

And finally, Furnival Gardens. This Thames-side park lies on the northern rim of the Hammersmith meander, and was created for the Festival of Britain out of an area of bombed wasteground. It's a very pleasant spot, with manicured flowerbeds and a small walled garden. Pleasant enough to be the location of choice for toddling families, keen joggers and Woodpecker-swilling inebriates. A semi-private pier juts out into the Thames, from which it's possible to look back towards the riverbank. If the tide's low enough, revealed before you is the outlet of the sewer which replaced Hammersmith Creek [photo]. One flap, which raises if it rains too much [photo], and a grey sludgy channel guiding whatever emerges into London's largest river [photo]. It's no wonder that Thames Water are keen to construct a mega-expensive replacement, starting very nearby indeed and heading down to Beckton. Those who live nearby will raise a cheer that former plans to sink the new tunnel from Furnival Gardens have been withdrawn. And come 2020 even the old Stamford Brook dribble-pipe will have been realigned, redirected and reborn.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream