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Hammersmith is an urban centre in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulhammarker in west London approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of Charing Crossmarker on the north bank of the River Thames. One of west London's key transport hubs and commercial and employment centres, and home to several multinational company offices, it is focused on the two London Underground stations, bus station and road network node at Hammersmith Broadwaymarker. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.

It is bordered by Shepherds Bushmarker to the north, West Kensington to the east, Fulhammarker to the south and Chiswickmarker to the west, and is linked by Hammersmith Bridgemarker to Barnesmarker in the southwest.

It has for some decades been the main centre of London's Polish minority in United Kingdom.


There is evidence of occupation of some riverside areas around Hammersmith as far back as Roman and Saxon times , and the area was referred to in the Domesday Book. The name may possibly be a shortening of "Hamoder's Hythe", i.e. the landing-place of a man named Hamoder.

Consequently, house construction and industrial development flourished.Major industrial sites included the Osram lamp factory at Brook Greenmarker, the J. Lyons factory (which at one time employed 30,000 people) and the largest municipal power station in Britain, built near the gasworks in Sands Endmarker.

All these have subsequently been closed and redeveloped as the area has moved from an industrial base to a greater focus on commerce and services.


Hammersmith is a natural centre of activity, located at the confluence of a key arterial route out of central London (the A4marker) with several local feeder roads and a bridge over the Thames. The focal point of the district is the commercial centre (the Broadway Centre) located at this confluence, which houses a shopping centre, bus station, an Underground stationmarker and an office complex.

Stretching about 750m westwards from this centre is King Street, Hammersmith's main shopping street which contains its second shopping centre (King's Mall), many small shops, the Town Hall, the Lyric Theatremarker, a cinema and two hotels. King Street is supplemented by other shops along Shepherds Bush Road to the north, Fulham Palace Road to the south and Hammersmith Road to the east.

Hammersmith's office activity takes place mainly to the eastern side of its centre, along Hammersmith Road and in the Arkmarker, an architecturally-unique office complex to the south of the flyover which traverses the area. The offices of VisitBritain (the national tourist board), Bechtel, Coca-Cola, Disney, EMI, L'Oréal, NHS Hammersmith and Fulham, Sony Ericsson, Universal Music Group, World Wrestling Entertainment, AOL UK, and Accor UK are all found in Hammersmith. Two NHS hospitals provide jobs in Hammersmith - Charing Cross Hospitalmarker to the south of the centre on Fulham Palace Road, and Hammersmith Hospital in the North. Charing Cross Hospital is a large multi-disciplinary hospital with an accident & emergency department and teaching department run by the world-renowned Imperial College School of Medicinemarker.

HammersmithLondon [28113] is responsible for delivering a Business Improvement District (BID) to Hammersmith. It is a business-led not-for-profit limited company established to represent the views of local businesses in Hammersmith town centre. The company identifies and delivers tangible initiatives to benefit local businesses and improve their operating environment.

In addition to the cinema and pubs of King Street, leisure activity also takes place along Hammersmith's pedestrianised riverside, home to a number of pubs, rowing clubs and the riverside park of Furnival Gardens. Hammersmith also has a large municipal park called Ravenscourt Park located to the west of the centre. Its facilities include ponds, tennis courts, a basketball court and creche. The whole area is covered by the same W6 postcode as Hammersmith town centre.

Culture and entertainment

Hammersmith has a number of attractions;
The famous Dove Pub - entrance in the alley that is the only surviving trace of the old Hammersmith Village.
(September 2005)
  • "The Dove" riverside pub, the oldest surviving riverside pub in London with, reputedly, the smallest bar in the world, frequented in the past by Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene. The narrow alley in which it stands is the only remnant of the riverside village of Hammersmith, the bulk of which was demolished in the 1930s. Furnival Gardens, which lies to the east, covers the site of Hammersmith Creek and the High Bridge. The site of the creek can be ascertained by a mound near the Great West Road.

Hammersmith has provided a location for several TV programmes, including the BBC comedy series Bottom, Channel 4's TFI Friday, and the vampire drama Ultraviolet. The opening credits of Bottom show the Hammersmith Broadway (also mentioned in The Pogues' song Dark Streets of London) development, then called Centre West, when it was under construction. In addition, the Flying Squad were Hammersmith-based in the 1970s TV series The Sweeney. Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective contains scenes that appear to be under and adjacent to Hammersmith Bridge. The popular Thames Television series Minder also features black and white photographs of Hammersmith Bridge and the Blue Anchor pub in the closing credits.

News from Nowhere written by William Morris is a utopian novel that describes a journey upstream the River Thames from Hammersmith towards Oxfordmarker. Written in 1890, it is of growing interest to contemporary Ecological and Socialist political movements.

In 1930, Gustav Holst composed a work for military band (later rewritten for orchestra) entitled Hammersmith to reflect his impressions of the town, having lived across the river in nearby Barnes for nearly forty years. It begins with a haunting musical depiction of the River Thames flowing underneath Hammersmith Bridge. Holst was a music teacher at St Paul's Girls' Schoolmarker, where he composed many of his most famous works, including The Planets suite. The music wing of the school is named after him.

Architecturally, Hammersmith is notable for
  • "The Ark" office building [28114] designed by British architect Ralph Erskine and was completed in April 1992 as the name suggests it has the appearance of a large ship.
  • "Hammersmith Bridge Road Surgery" Doctor's office [28115]

US Broadcasters NBC and ABC both have their London News Bureau in Hammersmith.

Hammersmith is the historical home of the West London Penguin Swimming and Water Polo Club, formerly known as the Hammersmith Penguin Swimming Club.

Round Table London Hammersmith 48 [28116] is a community service and networking club for men aged 18 to 45. Regular meetings are held at the London Corinthian Sailing Club on the banks of the river Thames.

The Polish Social and Cultural Centre (known as POSK) [28117] is based in Hammersmith, with facilities including a library, a theatre, restaurants and cafes, and houses many other Polish organisations.

Notable inhabitants


Hammersmith tube sign
The area is on the main A4 trunk road heading west from central London towards the M4 motorway and Heathrow Airportmarker. The A4, a busy commuter route, passes over the area's main road junction, Hammersmith Gyratory System, on a long viaduct, the Hammersmith Flyovermarker. Hammersmith Bridgemarker, the first suspension bridge over the River Thames, carries traffic to and from Barnes and southwest London.

The centre of Hammersmith is served by two tube stations, both named Hammersmith. Onemarker is the western terminus of the Hammersmith & City Line, while the larger onemarker served by the Piccadilly and District Lines . The latter tube station is part of a larger office, retail and transport development, locally known as "The Broadway Centre". Hammersmith Broadwaymarker, itself, stretches from the junction of Queen Caroline Street and King Street in the west to the junction of Hammersmith Road and Butterwick in the east. It forms the north side of the gyratory system also known as Hammersmith Roundabout. The Broadway Shopping Centre includes a large modern bus station, which is open 24 hours a day and served by a large number of buses, night buses, airport transfer buses and some long distance coaches.

The length of King Street places the westernmost shops and offices closest to Ravenscourt Park tube stationmarker on the District line, one stop west of Hammersmith itself.

Hammersmith also used to be able to boast of having not one but two public passenger transport depots: Hammersmith Trolleybus Depot (coded "HB") situated opposite Fulham Palacemarker Road and a Motor Bus Garage, known as Riverside (coded "R") to stop confusion with "HB". Riverside was originally a mansion and after the bus operations ceased the fascia of the building was listed.

Neighbouring districts

External links


  1. UnToldLondon
  2. 750000 and rising: how Polish workers have built a home in Britain ...

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