About

About the HFHBG

The Hammersmith & Fulham Historic Buildings Group was founded in 1987 to focus attention on the historic environment of the borough and to record, preserve and enhance its historic buildings. At that time people were not as aware of the borough’s heritage as they are today. Here are some examples of the work we've done over the years and the successes we've achieved.

RECORDING

Historic Buildings

The first thing we did was to compile a list of all buildings in the borough of historic interest, documented as far as possible with dates, architects and historic associations and backed up by a photographic record. The task was an enormous one for a voluntary organisation. We reckoned it would take at least five years. In fact we were able to publish the first edition of our list in March 1989. Following many revisions since then, it now includes over 2000 buildings of all types located throughout the borough. Research and recording continue and we hope one day to publish the list on the internet.

Sculpture

Line drawing of sculpture of Eve
Statue of Eve

 
In recent years we have added a survey of sculpture in the borough to our survey of historic buildings published in the Local List. This survey, conducted by HBG member John Sheppard, is published on the council's website and there is a hard copy in the borough archives and local history centre. Both online and hard copy versions are updated with new information as it comes to hand. This sculpture survey, initiated and carried out by the HBG, is the only one of its kind in the country.

Line drawing of Campbell family vault
Campbell family vault

 
The sculpture survey was inspired by the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association’s recording project. The main purpose of this project is to record what we have and point out where conservation is most needed. We had been concerned for some time about the deteriorating state of the monuments – especially some of the listed ones – in our local cemeteries and graveyards. In 2005, in collaboration with the council and with grant funding from English Heritage, our sculpture survey was extended to include these monuments. In 2007 this work led directly to the repair of the tomb of Granville Sharp, father of the 18th century anti-slavery movement, in Fulham churchyard. We hope other restoration projects will follow.

Industrial Heritage

 

Line drawing of Gasholder No 7, Imperial Wharf
Gasholder 7 - Imperial Wharf

HBG committee member John Goodier is working on a long-term survey of former industrial sites in our borough. One of the major sites is the former Imperial gas works in Sands End which thanks partly to our research and suggestion was included in the related Imperial Square conservation area. This site contains what is thought to be the oldest gasholder in the world, listed Grade II. In 2007 three additional historic buildings on the site were listed.


PRESERVATION

Bradmore House

Line drawing of Bradmore House
An early and major success in this area of our work was the retention and restoration of the garden front of the listed early 18th century Bradmore House at Hammersmith Broadway. This had been threatened with demolition. Now the house – the most elegant in the borough – is an admired part of the Broadway Centre facing St Paul’s church and green. After the house was saved, we published an illustrated booklet about it, available for purchase through our publications page.

West London Hospital

Another building we helped save from total demolition was the old West London Hospital in Hammersmith Road. The Group appeared at a public inquiry and successfully used its research to argue that the building should be retained and adapted to a new use. It is now an office building occupied by Sony.


ENHANCEMENT

Broomhouse Drawdock

Line drawing of Broomhouse Drawdock
Broomhouse Drawdock is a good example of our work in enhancing the borough, both in terms of appearance and amenity. The dock, in Sands End at the end of Broomhouse Lane, is an ancient public access to the river first recorded in the Middle Ages. For many years in modern times it was cut off by gates and unusable. We were involved in the detail of the restoration work which culminated in the reopening of the dock in 2005. Now people can once more use the dock for accessing the river and launching boats if they so choose.


Line drawing of Temperance Billiard Hall
Temperance Billiard Hall

LISTING AND CONSERVATION AREAS

These are adjuncts to our work of recording, preserving and enhancing the borough's historic environment.

Listing

Listing means persuading English Heritage to grant a building listed building status. Listing helps to protect

Line drawing of Granville Sharp's tomb
Granville Sharp tomb

the structure, both inside and out. We have supported the listing of a number of buildings in Hammersmith and Fulham. Recent successes are the former Temperance Billiard Hall in Fulham High Street, now ironically the Temperance pub, and the tomb of Granville Sharp mentioned above. This was listed in 2007, the 200th anniversary of the act of parliament abolishing the slave trade.


Conservation Areas

Conservation areas are parts of the borough specially designated by the council and subject to tighter than normal planning rules to help preserve their special character and appearance. From the beginning we have been involved in detailed work with the council on analysing and recording the qualities of conservation areas and in producing conservation area profiles. The profiles – some printed and some only available on the Council's website – are invaluable because they include general design guidelines which can be used (by us and others) to help defend an historic building or area from unwelcome development. In 2006, for example, they were instrumental in defeating proposals for developing a conspicuous site in the Ravenscourt conservation area. In 1981 there were 17 conservation areas in the borough; now there are 43 so our workload in this area has grown enormously.

In some cases we have successfully argued for the extension of conservation area boundaries. Thanks to our lobbying, the whole of the borough’s riverside, including Chelsea Creek, is now in a conservation area. And in 2002 the council accepted our proposal that the Grand Union canal in the north of the borough should be made a conservation area.

WIDENING OUR INTERESTS

Over the years we have followed the lead of English Heritage in recognising the importance of the wider historic environment. In other words, we have gradually extended our brief from buildings to include landscape, parks, open spaces, the Grand Union canal and the River Thames and what planners like to call the public realm, which means things like signage, street furniture and materials.

In 1996 the Group, together with the Hammersmith Society, helped found the West London River Group, an association of amenity societies on both sides of the Thames between Kew and Chelsea. This led to the 2002 publication of the Thames Strategy - Kew to Chelsea, an analysis of the river’s character with policies for its protection and suggested projects for improvement. The Broomhouse Drawdock project mentioned above was one of the Thames Strategy projects successfully brought to fruition with our assistance and involvement.

The Group takes a particular interest in the much-loved views along and across the river, particularly to the wooded tow path on the opposite bank. We are working with the Thames Strategy and colleagues in other boroughs to protect the towpath and to have a management plan adopted to safeguard its landscape and ecological future.

Elsewhere in the borough, we are represented on the advisory board for Fulham Palace and its grounds, on the West London River Group mentioned above and on the stakeholder groups for Bishops Park and Shepherds Bush Common. We are also a member of the London Forum of amenity societies.

If you would like more information about what we have done, are doing now or plan to do in the future, please contact us via the Contact page.

Back to the top


Hammersmith & Fulham Historic Buildings Group. All Rights Reserved.

Design by skinnycat