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Hammersmith (St. Paul)

HAMMERSMITH (St. Paul), a parish, in the union of Kensington, Kensington division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county of Middlesex, 3½ miles (W. by S.) from London; containing 13,453 inhabitants. This village, which, by a continuity of buildings, is almost united with Kensington, forms one of the most populous appendages to the western part of the metropolis, and is pleasantly situated, on the northern bank of the river Thames. The principal street extends along the line of the great western road, and a wide street called the Broadway diverges from it towards the river; the houses are in general of respectable appearance, and there are some handsome ranges of modern erection. In the environs are numerous seats and elegant villas, especially towards the river, on the bank of which was Brandenburgh House, a noble mansion, erected by Sir Nicholas Crispe in the reign of Charles I., and occupied by General Fairfax, in 1647, while the parliamentary forces were quartered in the neighbourhood, pending the treaty between Charles and the parliament. It was afterwards the residence of the Margravine of Anspach, and subsequently of Queen Caroline, since whose decease the building has been taken down. The streets are well paved, and lighted with gas, and the inhabitants are supplied with water by the West Middlesex Company, established at Hammersmith by act of parliament, in 1806. The Great Western railway passes through the northern part of the parish, parallel with and close to the Paddington canal; and in the vicinity is also the West London railway, noticed in the article on Kensington. A beautiful suspension-bridge leading to Barnes Common, whence roads branch off to the south and south-west, was erected over the Thames in 1825-7, from a design by Mr. Tierney Clarke, at an expense of £45,000. Here are an extensive iron-foundry and forge for the manufacture of machinery, steam-boilers, and other articles; two breweries; some large nursery-grounds; and grounds for bleaching wax: a great quantity of bricks, also, is made in the neighbourhood. A creek which extends from the Thames to the village is navigable for barges. The petty-sessions for the Kensington division are held here every Monday, and courts leet and baron in November and at Easter. In July, 1843, commodious premises were opened at Brook-Green, for the Hammersmith Police Court.

The living, formerly a perpetual curacy, became a vicarage, under an act passed in 1834, for the separation of the place from the parish of Fulham; net income, £310; patron, the Bishop of London. The church, erected in 1631, is a spacious and neat edifice of brick, with a tower; against the north wall of the nave is a handsome bronze bust of Charles I., erected in grateful remembrance of his royal master, by Sir Nicholas Crispe, whose heart, in pursuance of his directions, was inclosed in an urn and placed underneath it. A second church, dedicated to St. Peter, and containing 1600 sittings, whereof 600 are free, was erected in 1829, on ground given by George Scott, Esq., at an expense of £14,000, of which £2000 were raised by subscription, and the remainder by a grant from the Parliamentary Commissioners. It is a handsome edifice of Suffolk brick, in the Grecian style, with a stone tower surmounted by a cupola, and a good portico of the Ionic order, supporting a triangular pediment. The church has a district annexed, containing 3565 inhabitants, and the living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £268; patron, the Bishop of London, who presented the communion-plate. St. Mary's chapel, a neat brick building, was erected in 1813, at the expense of the late Richard Hunt, Esq.: the living is a donative, in the gift of C. E. and R. Hunt, Esqrs. Here are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyans. A school for boys, now in union with the National Society, was founded in 1624, by Edward Latymer, who gave 35 acres of land, producing a rental of upwards of £540, of which a part is appropriated to the clothing of 30 aged men. There are a Roman Catholic school and chapel at Brook-Green; where also are almshouses for four women, founded and endowed by Thomas Isles, D.D., in 1629. A mechanics' institute and a savings' bank have been established. In Kingstreet is a convent of Benedictine nuns, said to have subsisted since the reign of Charles II.; at the east end of the building is a chapel, which was rebuilt in 1810, at an expense of £1600, defrayed by subscription. Near the parochial church was an ancient mansion, supposed to have been erected at the same time as the palace at Hampton Court, and recently taken down; the apartments in the north part of the building were much admired for the beauty of their architecture.

In a house adjoining the Dove coffee-house, Thomson the poet is thought to have written his Seasons. Catherine, Queen Dowager of Charles II., resided for some years in a house in the Upper Mall, in which Dr. Radcliffe subsequently lived. Among the eminent persons interred here, are, Sir Samuel Morland, the inventor of the speaking-trumpet; Dr. William Sheridan, author of some sermons; Thomas Worlidge, a painter and etcher of great eminence; Sir Elijah Impey, Knt., who was first appointed to the high court of judicature for the British possessions in India; George Doddington, Lord Melcombe, a distinguished courtier and statesman in the reign of George II.; and Arthur Murphy, a barrister, and a dramatic writer of celebrity. Philip James de Loutherburgh, the celebrated landscape painter, resided here.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.