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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°29′33″N 0°15′48″W / 51.4925°N 0.2633°W / 51.4925; -0.2633

Chiswick is located in Greater London

 Chiswick shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ205785
London borough Hounslow
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district W4
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Brentford & Isleworth
London Assembly South West
List of places: UK • England • London

Chiswick (pronounced /ˈtʃɪzɪk/ ( listen)) is a large area in West London, located 5.9 miles (9.5 km) west of Charing Cross, and is part of the London Borough of Hounslow.[1] The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.[2]

Chiswick High Road contains a mix of retail, restaurants, food outlets and expanding office and hotel space. The wide streets encourage cafes and restaurants to provide pavement seating. Chiswick is home to the Griffin Brewery, where Fuller, Smith & Turner brew their prize-winning ales. Artist William Hogarth lived in the area, and is buried in St Nicholas churchyard.



The name "Chiswick" is of Old English origin meaning "Cheese Farm" and originates from the riverside meadows and farms that are thought to have supported an annual cheese fair on Dukes Meadows up until the 18th century. Chiswick was first recorded c.1000 as Ceswican.[3]


Chiswick grew up as a fishing village around St. Nicholas church on Church Street, but the name Chiswick later became used for a wider area, formed originally by merging the four villages of Chiswick, Strand-on-the-Green, Little Sutton and Turnham Green. By 1815, Chiswick parish included all the area bounded by the loop of the Thames, the High Road west of Turnham Green, the north side of Chiswick Common and Bath Road to Goldhawk Road.[4][5] In 1896, "Bedford Park, Chiswick" was advertised,[6] which at that time was partly in Acton Urban District.[7]

For centuries fishermen and watermen have used the waterfront of old Chiswick to deliver goods to riverside businesses and the surrounding area. By the early nineteenth century the fishing industry in and around Chiswick was declining as the growth of industry and the invention of the flush toilet were causing pollution in the river. Fish began to die out and the river became unsuitable as a spawning ground. Locks upstream also made the river impassable by migratory fish such as salmon and shad.

Fuller, Smith & Turner P.L.C. and its predecessor companies have been brewing beer on its Chiswick site for over 350 years.[8] The original brewery was in the gardens of Bedford House in Chiswick Mall, and these premises later expanded to the present site nearby. The company brews real ales and owns public houses.

From the 18th century onwards the High Road became built up with inns and large houses. Today the High Road is a busy shopping street with many cafes, restaurants and several 19th century public houses.

In 1864, John Isaac Thornycroft, founder of the John I. Thornycroft & Company shipbuilding company, established a shipbuilding yard at Church Wharf at the west end of Chiswick Mall.[9][10] Steam yachts were built to innovative designs, followed by torpedo boats. Torpedo boat destroyers were then built. These could reach up to a speed of 30 knots.The ships were up to 225 feet long, causing difficulties in movement under the bridges down the Thames. For this reason, the shipbuilding facilities were transferred to Woolston near Southampton in 1904, after which the Chiswick yard was gradually run down. The Thornycroft Steam Wagon Co. was formed in the late 1890s, at the Homefield Motor Works in Hogarth Lane, now the A4 road, close to Church Wharf. Buses and trucks were the main vehicles produced. The works closed in 1908.

In 1822, the Royal Horticultural Society leased 33 acres (13.4 ha) of land in the area between the now Sutton Court Road and Duke’s Avenue.[11] This site was used for its fruit tree collection and its first school of horticulture, and housed its first flower shows. The area was reduced to 10 acres (4.0 ha) in the 1870s, and the lease was terminated when the Society’s garden at Wisley, Surrey, was set up in 1904. Some of the original pear trees still grow in the gardens of houses built on the site.

Christ Church, Turnham Green. The glass-clad building in the background is on the site of the Chiswick Empire theatre

Chiswick had two well-known theatres in the 20th century.[5] The Chiswick Empire (1912 to 1959) was at 414 Chiswick High Road. It had 2,140 seats,[12] and staged music hall entertainment, plays, review, opera, ballet and an annual Christmas pantomime. The Q Theatre (1924 to 1959) was a small theatre opposite Kew Bridge station. It staged the first works of Terence Rattigan and William Douglas-Home and many of its plays went on to the West End.

Dukes Meadows stands on land formerly owned by the Duke of Devonshire. In the 1920s, it was purchased by the local council, who developed it as a recreational centre. A promenade and bandstand were built, and the meadows are still used for sport with a rugby club, football pitches, hockey club, several rowing clubs and a golf club. In recent years a local conservation charity, the Dukes Meadows Trust[13] has undertaken extensive restoration work, which saw a long term project of a children's water play area opened in August 2006.

Chiswick is the birthplace of the modern domestic violence refuge movement, with the first shelter established by Erin Pizzey in 1971.

During World War II, Chiswick suffered a number of bombing raids. W.P. Roe’s book[14] pages 80 to 90 notes areas of damage due to 50 bombing raids in late 1940 to early 1941, and another 5 in 1944. Both incendiary and high explosive bombs were used, and there was also damage from falling anti-aircraft shells that had not exploded as intended. From June 1944, V-1 flying bombs started to fall; Mr. Roe lists 14 of these. The first V-2 Rocket to hit London fell on Chiswick in September 1944, killing three people and causing extensive damage to surrounding trees and buildings. There is a memorial where the rocket fell on Staveley Road. There is also a War Memorial at the east end of Turnham Green.


Civic history

Chiswick St Nicholas was an ancient, and later civil, parish in the Ossulstone hundred of Middlesex.[15] In 1878 the parish gained a triangle of land in the east which had formed a detached part of Ealing.[7] From 1894 to 1927 the parish formed the Chiswick Urban District.[16] In 1927 it was abolished and its former area was merged with that of Brentford Urban District to form Brentford and Chiswick Urban District.[17] The amalgamated district became a municipal borough in 1932. The borough of Brentford and Chiswick was abolished in 1965 and its former area was transferred to Greater London to form part of the London Borough of Hounslow. With these changes, Chiswick Town Hall is no longer the local government centre, but is still used for some council services.

Political representation

The constituency of Brentford and Chiswick was created in 1918, and existed until 1974, when it was replaced by the present constituency of Brentford and Isleworth. Ann Keen, a member of the Labour Party, has been the MP since 1997.

In local representation, Chiswick is located in the South West constituency in the London Assembly. Since 2000, the constituency has been represented by Tony Arbour, a member of the Conservative Party.

Chiswick is divided into three electoral wards for elections to Hounslow Borough Council: Turnham Green, Chiswick Homefields and Chiswick Riverside. Each ward elects three councillors, who serve four-year terms. For 2006-10, all nine of Chiswick's councillors are Conservatives.


Places adjoining Chiswick are:

  • Acton
  • Shepherd's Bush
  • Hammersmith
  • Barnes
  • Mortlake
  • Kew
  • Brentford

Chiswick is included in the W postcode area of the London postal district. Additionally, the southern part of the Southfield ward of the London Borough of Ealing[18] including most of Bedford Park, is within the W4 postcode district, which is associated with Chiswick.[19]

Architecture and development

Classical stone bridge in Chiswick House grounds, designed by James Wyatt in 1774.

The population of Chiswick grew almost tenfold during the 19th century, and the built environment is a mixture of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian.

Chiswick House was designed by the Third Earl of Burlington, and built for him, in 1726–9 as an extension to an earlier Jacobean house (subsequently demolished in 1788); it is considered to be among the finest surviving examples of Palladian architecture in Britain, with superb collections of paintings and furniture. Its surrounding grounds constitute one of the most important historical gardens in England and Wales, and mark a significant step on the road to the picturesque aesthetic in garden design.

St. Nicholas church has a 15th century tower, although the remainder of the church was rebuilt by J.L. Pearson in 1882–4. Monuments in the churchyard mark the burial sites of the 18th century English artist William Hogarth—whose house is now a museum known as Hogarth's House—and William Kent, the architect and landscape designer; the churchyard also houses a mausoleum (for Philip James de Loutherbourg) designed by John Soane. One of Oliver Cromwell's daughters, Mary, lived and died in Chiswick and is buried in the churchyard. Enduring legend has it that the body of Oliver Cromwell was also interred with her. On a later note, Private Frederick Hitch VC, hero of Rorke's Drift, is also buried there.

St. Michael on Elmwood Road, of 1908-9, was designed by W.D. Caroe. Chiswick is also home to a Russian Orthodox Cathedral, built in 1998. (See photo at Gunnersbury.) Less visually prominent than these because of its position amid other building is the Sanderson Factory, now known as Voysey House and situated in Barley Mow Passage, designed by the architect C.F. Voysey and completed in 1902. Its original purpose was a wallpaper printing works, but it is now used as office space. It is a Grade II* listed building.

Suburban building began in Gunnersbury in the 1860s and in Bedford Park, on the borders of Chiswick and Acton, in 1875: the latter, designed largely by Richard Norman Shaw, was described by Nikolaus Pevsner as the first place "where the relaxed, informal mood of a market town or village was adopted for a complete speculatively built suburb". Other suburbs of Chiswick include Grove Park (south of the A4, close to Chiswick Station) and Strand on the Green, a fishing hamlet until the late 18th century.[20]

There are several historic public houses in Chiswick. Three are in Strand-on-the-Green, fronting on to the river path. The Tabard on Bath Road near Turnham Green station is known for its William Morris interior. A large part of Chiswick falls within the conservation areas within the London Borough of Hounslow.[21]

Pomander Walk in Manhattan is a street built to replicate the stage set of the play Pomander Walk set on a quaint Tudor street in Chiswick.


Chiswick is situated at the start of the North Circular Road (A406), South Circular Road (A205) and the M4 motorway, the latter providing a direct connection to Heathrow Airport and the M25 motorway. The Great West Road (A4) runs eastwards into central London via the Hogarth Roundabout where it meets the Great Chertsey Road (A316) which runs south-west, eventually joining the M3 motorway.

The southern border of Chiswick runs along the River Thames, which is crossed in this area by Barnes Railway and Foot Bridge, Chiswick Bridge, Kew Railway Bridge and Kew Bridge. River services between Westminster Pier and Hampton Court depart from Kew Gardens Pier just across Kew Bridge.

Including buses that stop at Kew Bridge and Chiswick High Road, and/or Kew Bridge railway station, Chiswick is served by eleven bus routes (27, 65, 94, 190, 237, 267, 272, 391, 440, E3 and H91) and two all-night services (N9 and N11).

Until its closure in 1989, London Transport had a Central Works and Training School (for bus crews) located in Chiswick High Road, opposite Gunnersbury Underground Station. The Training School incorporated a bus "Skid-Pan."

The District line crosses Chiswick, the London Underground stations are (east-west): Stamford Brook, Turnham Green, Chiswick Park and Gunnersbury. Turnham Green is an interchange with the Piccadilly line, but only before 0650 and after 2230, when Piccadilly line trains stop at the station.

The nearest National Rail stations are Chiswick and Kew Bridge. South West Trains operates a regular service to London Waterloo via Clapham Junction.

The North London line crosses Chiswick (north-south); the nearest London Overground station is Gunnersbury


Primary schools

State primary schools include "Strand-On-The-Green", "Belmont", "Hogarth", "St.Mary's RC", "Cavendish" and "Grove Park". There are also private primary schools including "Orchard House", "The Falcons", "Heathfield House", "Chiswick & Bedford Park" and "Kew College" in nearby Kew.

Secondary schools

Chiswick's local secondary state school is Chiswick Community School. It has an attendance of roughly 1200 pupils and contains a Sixth Form College, which has an attendance of about 150 students. Chiswick Community School was granted Technology College status in 2004. Although the school is located in Chiswick, it attracts many pupils from places such as Shepherds Bush, Hammersmith, and other locations in West London. Chiswick Community School scored moderately well in its last Ofsted inspection. The former head teacher of the school, Dame Helen Metcalf, received her Damehood in 1998 for her service to the school. She is widely recognised as the person who turned the school's reputation around.[22]

There are several private secondary schools in nearby areas, such as Godolphin and Latymer School (all girls, Hammersmith), Latymer Upper School (mixed, Hammersmith), St Paul's Girls' School (girls, Brook Green), St Paul's School (boys, Barnes). Chiswick is also in the catchment area for Hampton School (boys, Hampton), Lady Eleanor Holles School (girls, Hampton) and King's College School (boys/mixed sixth form, Wimbledon). As well as the Arts Educational Schools of London for details of which see below.

Higher education

Chiswick is also home to the Arts Educational Schools of London, a theatre academy specialising in both acting and musical theatre. This institution has three areas: a secondary school for 11–16-year olds, a sixth form, and a degree-course school which offers BA Honours degrees in acting and in musical theatre. It is accredited by the Council for Dance Education and Training (CDET).



Chiswick has a local rugby union team, Chiswick RFC, formerly Old Meadonians RFC. It currently plays in London 2 North West (Level seven), six leagues below the Guinness Premiership. It plays on a Saturday at Dukes Meadows.


The Boat Race finishing post by Chiswick Bridge

The Chiswick reach of the Thames is heavily used for competitive and recreational rowing, and Chiswick itself is home to several clubs. The University of London Boat Club is based in its boathouse off Hartington Road (the boathouse also houses the clubs of many of the University's constituent colleges and teaching hospitals). ULBC is, periodically, one of the most successful university clubs in the UK, with multiple wins at Henley Royal Regatta. Recent members include Tim Foster, Gold medallist at the Sydney Olympics and Frances Houghton, World Champion in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Mortlake Anglian & Alpha Rowing Club and Quintin Boat Club are situated between Chiswick Quay Marina and Chiswick Bridge. The foreshore facing these clubs is also used as the landing place for Boat Race crews.

Tideway Scullers School is immediately downriver of Chiswick Bridge. The Club's current members include single sculling World Champion Mahe Drysdale and Great Britain single sculler Alan Campbell. The upriver end of the Championship Course from Mortlake to Putney is adjacent to the Tideway Scullers School boathouse. The Boat Race is contested on the Championship Course on a flood tide (in other words from Putney to Mortlake) with Duke's Meadows a popular view-point for the closing stages of the race. Other important races such as the Head of the River Race race the reverse course, on an ebb tide.

Notable people

Statue of William Hogarth, Chiswick resident, by Jim Mathieson, in Chiswick High Road.

Blue plaques

Blue plaques have been erected for the following people:[23]

Other notable residents

Chiswick's notable past and current residents include:

Media appearances


  1. ^ Hounslow London Borough Council - Map of Hounslow. Retrieved on 1 February 2008.
  2. ^ Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)". Greater London Authority. 
  3. ^ Room, Adrian: “Dictionary of Place-Names in the British Isles”, Bloomsbury, 1988
  4. ^ See map in Chiswick Past, page 63
  5. ^ a b Clegg, Gillian: “Chiswick Past”, Historical Publications Ltd, 1995
  6. ^ map in Chiswick Past, page 123
  7. ^ a b Chiswick: Growth, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden, (1982). Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  8. ^ Fuller Smith & Turner - History. Retrieved on 1 February 2008.
  9. ^ Humphrey Arthure: "Thornycroft Shipbuilding and Motor Works in Chiswick". (24 page booklet with no date or ISBN number.)
  10. ^ Humphrey Arthure: "Life and Work in Old Chiswick", March 1982, no ISBN number.
  11. ^ Elliot, Brent: “The Garden, June 2004”
  12. ^ Looby, Patrick: Britain in Old Photographs, Chiswick & Brentford. Sutton Publishing Ltd, 1997. ISBN 0-7509-1154-4
  13. ^ Dukes Meadows Trust - About Us. Retrieved on 1 February 2008.
  14. ^ Roe, William P., “Glimpses of Chiswick’s Development” 1999, ISBN 0 95165122 2 6
  15. ^ Vision of Britain - Chiswick parish (historic map). Retrieved on 2008-02-01.
  16. ^ Vision of Britain - Chiswick UD (historic map). Retrieved on 2008-02-01.
  17. ^ Vision of Britain - Brentford and Chiswick UD/MB (historic map). Retrieved on 2008-02-01.
  18. ^ Ealing London Borough Council - Southfield ward map. Retrieved on 1 February 2008.
  19. ^ Museum of London - The Postcodes Project: W4 Chiswick. Retrieved on 1 February 2008.
  20. ^ Chiswick: Economic history, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden (1982), pp. 78-86. Retrieved on 1 February 2008.
  21. ^ Hounslow London Borough Council - Conservation Areas. Retrieved on 1 February 2008.
  22. ^ "Can't learn, won't cook". BBC News. 1998-06-17. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  23. ^ English Heritage - Search Blue Plaques. Retrieved on 1 February 2008.

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHISWICK, an urban district in the Ealing parliamentary division of Middlesex, England, suburban to London, on the Thames, 7a m. W. by S. of St Paul's cathedral. Pop. (1901) 29,809. The locality is largely residential, but there are breweries, and the marine engineering works of Messrs Thornycroft on the river. Chiswick House, a seat of the duke of Devonshire, is surrounded by beautiful grounds; here died Fox (1806) and Canning (1827). The neighbouring gardens belong to the Royal Horticultural Society. The church of St Nicholas has ancient portions, and in the churchyard is the tomb of William Hogarth the painter, with commemorative lines by David Garrick. Hogarth's house is close at hand. Chiswick Hall, no longer extant, was formerly a country seat for the masters and sanatorium for the scholars of Westminster school. Here in 1811 the Chiswick Press was founded by Charles Whittingham the elder, an eminent printer (d. 1840).

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Simple English

Chiswick is a district in West London. It is most famous as the home of the artist William Hogarth.

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