diamond geezer

 Wednesday, April 24, 2013

HAMMERSMITH & CITY: Walk the line
125 years before the Hammersmith & City line there was the Hammersmith & City Railway. Opened in 1864, it was built as an offshoot of the Great Western Railway to carry passengers from Paddington to Hammersmith. The new tracks left the GWR mainline at Westbourne Park and ran on a curving viaduct through mostly undeveloped fields. At Latimer Road the line split, one branch to Hammersmith, the other to Kensington. The latter branch is now part of the Overground, while the former remains the Hammersmith & City. I thought I'd walk it, following a four mile arc alongside the viaduct. [map]

There are two Hammersmith stations, as every local knows, but which still comes as a surprise to visitors attempting what appears a simple interchange on the tube map. Instead there's a busy gyratory to cross, on one side a modern shopping mall, on the other the H&C station. This is a fine Edwardian edifice, a symmetrical structure with pedimented gable end, mostly unencumbered by modernity. Only the far right entrance is used these days, while Alexander's barbershop soldiers on in the central retail space. Something much less memorable is going up alongside, an eight-storey glass block called 10 Hammersmith Grove, into which developers would simply lurrve your business to relocate. Just not yet, because it's a right mess at ground level while builders complete the concrete piazza outside. Beyond the gym and training centre the rest of Hammersmith Grove is much more desirably residential. Most of the streets ahead are similarly blessed, lined by tall terraced houses with white bay windows and fortunate tenants. Only when a road slips off to the right is the reality behind revealed, with a builders yard and a secure facility lodged up against the railway.

Trussley Road provides a rare crossing beneath the viaduct, but the sight of businesses in the arches will become more familiar as the walk progresses. Shoots and Leaves is one of the more upmarket outlets - they do landscape design and garden maintenance - with neighbours involved in bathrooms suites and paint. Sulgrave Road is currently a riot of pink cherry blossom, most appropriate on a Hammersmith & City line walk, but alas only a temporary signposting system. An unexpected sight is the back of a bus garage, accessed on foot up a "no public access" alleyway which all the local public seem to use. This emerges into the heart of the machine, where terminating buses turn into the front of the depot and where the drivers park their cars under the viaduct. It's no safe place to be, hence no footpath, but it is the perfect shortcut to the shops. [Here be Goldhawk Road]

Goldhawk Road has loads of shops, surviving as best they can in the shadow of Westfield and under imminent threat from developers. There are some ace survivors, including several eateries dating back to the glory days of the 60s. The Zippy Diner has a Wimpyesque interior, rarely preserved, nextdoor to the darker Rostomia cafe/restaurant. Further down is a pie and mash outpost, courtesy of A Cooke's, where a QPR 2010/11 Champions banner hangs well past its sell by date above the tables. I ventured inside Vivian Patisserie, a Chinese Food Bakery where cheap sweet treats are laid out and inventively labelled. A 'Lemond Tart' appealed, but instead I plumped for a large juicy 'Raisimg Danish', a sub-£1 snack that put corporate coffeeshop fare to shame.

For further bargains, try the market. Shepherd's Bush Market runs along the edge of the railway viaduct, all the way from one station to the next. This characterful multi-ethnic bazaar is the place to come for shoes, foam, unlocked phones and halal cuts... but not on a Sunday. On a Sunday the arched entrances are shuttered shut and the usual retail cut-through is unavailable, so you'll have to make do with some words I blogged 18 months ago. Instead the shortest route north is via Lime Grove, past where the BBC studios used to be but where there are now bland flats. The rest of the road maintains smart residential decorum, or so you'd think by the looks of it, but the sight of two late-middle-aged ladies in hoodies squabbling over a recently-purchased aerosol of glue told me otherwise. [Here be Shepherd's Bush Market]

The Uxbridge Road has a more Middle Eastern flavour, ideal if you need a jilbaab or Damascene cuisine. It's also not the place to dash across the street without looking, as I deduced from the ambulance staff tending to a prone body in the middle of the road beside a knocked down suitcase. I crossed more safely, lest the rubberneckers turn their steady gaze on me instead. The bustle of Shepherd's Bush Green can be avoided by turning left at the Bush Theatre to follow MacFarlane Road. This is another desirable residential street, right up to Auntie's massive satellite dishes hanging over the railway viaduct at the end of the road. Here you'll find the back entrance to BBC Television Centre, the direct route to the rear of the scenery block, now deceased. When this end of the site is redeveloped for flats, expect renewed interest. [Here be Wood Lane]

Redevelopment has already transformed the next part of the walk. You'll know it as Westfield, rather than the Central Line Railway Generating Station and Depot. No shops stretch up here by the pink railway bridge, instead there's an unexpectedly underused bus station and an expanse of warehouses. One of these belches out multi-coloured Ocado lorries on a regular basis, so best cross the entrance with care. To avoid the crowds follow the broad pavement along Ariel Way, where no shopper has any need to go, and where of course a large hire bike docking station has been installed. Planners kindly installed a pedestrian footbridge over the Overground when the megamall complex opened, allowing the estatefolk beyond to avoid a long detour. It's cut my H&C walk by half a mile too, for which I am forever grateful. Let's pause here above the dual carriageway, and continue into Kensington & Chelsea tomorrow.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan22  Feb22  Mar22  Apr22  May22  Jun22  Jul22  Aug22  Sep22
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21  Jun21  Jul21  Aug21  Sep21  Oct21  Nov21  Dec21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
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

twenty blogs
our bow
ian visits
blue witch
on london
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
bus and train user
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
from the murky depths

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain

read the archive
Aug22  Jul22  Jun22  May22
Apr22  Mar22  Feb22  Jan22
Dec21  Nov21  Oct21  Sep21
Aug21  Jul21  Jun21  May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards