MAURICE B ADAMS
Maurice Adams (1849-1933) was one of the architects of Bedford Park and a resident of the area. As editor and draughtsman with the Building News for 50 years, he was also instrumental in drawing attention to the new Bedford Park development by publishing details of house designs by R Norman Shaw and others. From about 1880 to 1899 Adams lived at 14 Woodstock Road and then, until his death, at Edenhurst, 1 Marlborough Crescent (demolished in the 1960s and replaced by the block of flats called St James’s Court). Adams designed the Chiswick School of Art in Bath Road, also the north aisle, pulpit and font of St Michael and All Angels and its church hall. He was responsible for the houses 12 and 14 Newton Grove and 5 Priory Avenue.
Cecil Aldin (1870-1935) was a prolific artist and illustrator who lived at 46 Flanders Road between 1894 and 1898 and at 41 Priory Road (renamed Priory Avenue in 1947) between 1898-1904. Priory Road was renumbered in 1902 when 41 became 47. Most famous for his pictures of animals, Aldin owned plenty of models: at one time 13 dogs, two monkeys and a fox cub. He drove around Bedford Park in a donkey and cart and regularly set off on his horse to hunt at Esher.
Eamonn Andrews (1922-1987), the TV personality who was the host of This is Your Life for 25 years lived in Chiswick between 1961 and 1970. His house was No 61 Hartington Road, one of Chiswick’s more lavish residences with a 60ft garden on the Thames. The house was built about 1933 and was originally the home of a Mr Alfred Fensom. At a later stage it became the Nicaraguan Embassy.
Before Steve Redgrave, the only rower to win five consecutive Olympic medals was Jack Beresford (1899-1977) who lived at The Belfairs, 19 Grove Park Gardens between 1903 and 1940. Beresford won gold in the single sculls (1924), coxless fours (1932) and double sculls (1936); silver in the single sculls (1920) and the eights (1928). There is now an English Heritage blue plaque on his former home.
CHARLES TILSTON BRIGHT
Charles Tilston Bright (1832-1888) who is buried in the graveyard of St Nicholas was the man responsible for laying the first telegraph cable across the Atlantic. In 1858 as Chief Engineer of the Atlantic Telegraph Company he laid the cable that linked Europe with the United States from the sailing ship HMS Agamemnon. This enabled Queen Victoria to transmit an instant message to President Buchanan and Charles Tilston Bright was knighted for his achievement at the young age of 26. Bright became one of the most eminent engineers of his day and was associated with all the main developments in telegraphy. Sir Charles, his wife, Hannah, Lady Bright and their six children lived mainly in Kensington but between 1868 and 1873, while Sir Charles was on another cable-laying expedition, Hannah and her children lived at 2 Bolton Road, Chiswick with her mother, Mrs Taylor, and her sister and brother.
3rd EARL OF BURLINGTON
Richard Boyle, the 3rd Earl of Burlington inherited the large Jacobean mansion known as Chiswick House in 1704 (this was demolished in 1788). Between 1726-29 Burlington, known as the ‘Architect Earl’, designed the Palladian Chiswick House which was built 18 metres to the south west of his Jacobean mansion. He didn’t build his Palladian villa as a residence but perhaps as somewhere to display the paintings and sculptures he had acquired when abroad, or perhaps as, has recently been suggested, as a Masonic temple He also designed other buildings including the Assembly Room at York and a villa at Petersham. Burlington’s architectural style was inspired by the buildings of Classical Rome and the work of Andrea Palladio and Inigo Jones, whose statues still stand at the front of Chiswick House.
Like every young nobleman Burlington went on the Grand Tour where he met William Kent who became his artistic collaborator and life-long friend. Burlington was a man of wealth and taste who became a great patron to artists, architects and musicians. In 1733 Lord and Lady Burlington made Chiswick their main London home as Lord Burlington was disaffected. He had failed to secure a promised court appointment and was opposed to the Excise Bill. Here he lived when in London until his death 20 years later. Burlington had three daughters but no sons so the earldom became extinct and the two Chiswick Houses passed into the Cavendish family, the dukes of Devonshire, through the marriage of Burlington’s only surviving daughter Charlotte to William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, later 4th Duke of Devonshire.
Jonathan Thomas Carr (1845-1915), the developer of Bedford Park was a woollen merchant turned property speculator. He was one of a large family from Battersea noted for its artistic inclinations and radical political views. GK Chesterton rather unkindly described Carr as ‘a speculative builder faintly tinged with art’.
In 1873 Carr married Agnes, daughter of Hamilton Fulton who lived in Bedford House, South Parade. Carr acquired Fulton’s grounds and other land on which to build his new development. As a reaction to the ubiquitous Victorian terrace house and inspired by the aesthetic movement of the 1870s, Carr set out to create attractive houses in an informal layout at reasonable rents for middle class Londoners. Bedford Park though was intended as more than just another housing development, it was to be a self-contained community with its own church, club, pub, schools and stores. Carr was heavily involved with all aspects of communal life in Bedford Park. He sat on various committees, gave lectures and was the proprietor of the club.
Carr lived first at 3 Queen Anne’s Gardens moving to the magnificent Tower House, designed for him in 1878 by R Norman Shaw. The Tower House had 16 rooms and large grounds with tennis and badminton courts (the house was demolished in the 1930s and replaced by St Catherine’s Court). Here, Carr lived like the Lord of the Manor, a genial man, dispensing liberal hospitality. ‘His active memory and keen interest in an enormous variety of subjects made him a most interesting companion’, according to his obituary in the Chiswick Times. Carr however was not universally popular; he fell out with his architects, gained a reputation as a poor payer and appears to have become estranged from some members of his family.
With the core of Bedford Park complete, Carr embarked on other building schemes elsewhere in London, including Burlingwick in Grove Park. Unfortunately none of these were successful and Carr lived his latter years in financially straitened circumstances. After the death of his wife he moved from the Tower House in 1905 to live with his son, John Fulton Carr, first at 5 Addison Road and from 1912 at 13 Queen Anne’s Grove. He died poor and obscure and is buried in the graveyard of St Nicholas Church.
The most striking monument in St Nicholas Church is that to Sir Thomas Chaloner (1561-1615). Made of alabaster it shows the figures of Sir Thomas and his second wife kneeling over a prayer stool, under a canopy which is supported by two soldiers.
It was erected by Sir Thomas’s third son Edward and was originally in the chancel where Sir Thomas and his wife are buried. When the church was rebuilt it was transferred to the Lady Chapel. It has been restored several times, most recently in 2001. The monument’s inscription tells us that Sir Thomas ‘was universally learned as he was esteemed, a compleat gentleman and an experienced soldier’. Chaloner was knighted by the King of France in 1591while he was serving with the English army in France. He was an intimate of King James I and served as Chamberlain to his son Henry Prince of Wales. He was a keen naturalist and the first person in England to mine alum (a salt used for paper sizing and dressing leather).
He had visited alum mines in Italy and discovered that it was present on his Yorkshire estate. His alum works became very profitable and were eventually claimed by Charles I for the Crown.
Chardin Road is named after Sir John Chardin (1643-1712), a protestant refugee from France who came to England in 1685. Chardin was a famous traveller who published a ten-volume account of his travels in the Middle East and Far East. He lived at Bolton House, Turnham Green for some years until his death. He was buried in St Nicholas Church and has a monument in Westminster Abbey.
Chaloner Chute (1595-1659), ‘a gentleman of much eminence and knowledge in his practice of the lawes’, bought the lease on Sutton Court in 1643 when it had been sequestrated to the Lord Mayor and citizens of London. He was a cousin of Thomas Chaloner whose monument is in St Nicholas Church. In 1659 Chute became Speaker of the House of Commons. His daughter married into the Barker family of Grove House.
Sir Sydney Cockerell (1867-1962), whose son Sir Christopher Cockerell invented the hovercraft, lived at three addresses in Bedford Park – 51 Woodstock Road in 1886, 5 Priory Road/Gardens and 3 Fairfax Road. Sir Sydney was a collector of books and manuscripts, one time assistant to William Morris, literary executor of Thomas Hardy and friend of Leo Tolstoy, George Bernard Shaw and T E Lawrence. Between 1908 and 1937 he was Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
Comic genius Tommy Cooper (1922-1984) lived in Chiswick for almost 30 years. He moved into 51 Barrowgate Road in 1955 and was living there when he collapsed with a heart attack during a performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre, dying on his way to hospital.
Famous for his catchphrase ‘Just like that’, and his bumbling magic tricks (he was actually an accomplished magician and a member of the Magic Circle), Cooper began his career during World War II, entertaining the troops while serving in the Middle East. It was here he acquired his trademark fez – by accident. Unable to find his pith helmet before a performance he borrowed a waiter’s fez, stuck it on his head and walked on stage to roars of laughter.
The sign on the outside wall of the Bulls Head pub at Strand-on-the-Green proudly boasts that:
‘During the Civil War Oliver Cromwell’s sister the Countess of Fauconberg lived nearby and Cromwell was a frequent visitor to the pub. Whilst enjoying the Bull’s hospitality Cromwell was betrayed to Royalist troops. However, he escaped through a tunnel to an island in the river which is now known as Oliver’s Eyot…’
It’s a dramatic story but its authenticity is distinctly dubious. For a start Lady Fauconberg was not Cromwell’s sister, but his daughter and she did not move to Chiswick until 1676 – over 30 years after the commencement of the Civil War. In 1642, when the war broke out, Cromwell (1599-1658) was MP for Cambridge and just one of 80 captains in the Parliamentary Army (he didn’t become Protector until 1653).
There is another Cromwell connection with Chiswick. Cromwell’s body is said to lie in a vault in St Nicholas Church. On his death Cromwell was buried in Westminster Abbey but exhumed in 1660 at the Restoration of the Monarchy. His body was dragged through the streets on an open hurdle to Tyburn where it was hung on the gallows. Later that day it was taken down, the head was hacked off and the headless trunk consigned to a deep pit dug below the gallows. The head was stuck up on a pole on Westminster Hall where it remained for over 20 years. However, there were persistent rumours that Cromwell’s headless corpse was disinterred from the pit and spirited away by his family or friends. Nobody knows where to but Chiswick is one possibility. The evidence for Chiswick comes from a letter written by Captain E L Dale, the son of the Rev Lawson Torriano Dale who was vicar of St Nicholas when the church was rebuilt between 1882 and1884 when the vaults were opened.
Captain Dale’s letter reads: ‘…In that vault where Lady Fauconberg lies, were three coffins thus: two on the north side of the vault both of which were known from the registers. The coffin on the south side of the vault bore signs of rough usage and was pushed as far as possible from the entrance… now I am certain that Mr Smith [the churchwarden], my father and the clerk of works knew that the coffin pushed up to the end of the vault contained the remains of Oliver Cromwell. Not one of them would say a word about it. All three hated Cromwell like poison and “weren’t going to have people coming down to moralise over a regicide…’
The evidence for Captain Dale’s claim is somewhat supported by the fact that both Mary Fauconberg and her widowed sister, Frances, chose to be buried in the Chiswick vault, rather than with their respective husbands. However, it was 15 years after Cromwell was hung at Tyburn before Lady Fauconberg came to Chiswick and she lived until 1713. Where would she have kept the coffin during this time? Antonia Fraser, Cromwell’s biographer, thinks it more likely that the body was taken to Newburgh Priory, the Fauconberg’s home in the north of England, where there is a strange kiln-like tomb which has never been opened.
Newspaper man Hugh Cudlipp (1913-1998) who, as Chairman of the International Publishing Corporation, the parent company of Mirror Newspapers, is said to have created the modern tabloid paper, lived at 21 Strand-on-the-Green between 1962 and 1963 before moving to No 14 in the then newly-built Magnolia Wharf development where he remained until 1997.
A Bedford Park green plaque on 19 Blenheim Road commemorates Alec Dickson (1914-1994) who, together with his wife Mora, founded VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) and CSV (Community Service Volunteers).
EARL AND COUNTESS FAUCONBERG
Fauconberg Road gets its name from Thomas Belasyse, Viscount (later Earl) Fauconberg who took over the lease of Sutton Court in 1676. In 1657 Fauconberg, a widower, had married Mary Cromwell, the third daughter of Oliver Cromwell. Although the Fauconberg family owed its honours to King Charles I, Viscount Fauconberg was not an active Royalist and the match was actively promoted by Cromwell who sent Fauconberg on a goodwill mission to France and nominated him for the ‘upper’ house of parliament. The Restoration of the Monarchy, however, did nothing to dim the fortunes of the Fauconbergs: Charles II appointed Lord Fauconberg Ambassador Extraordinary to Venice in 1669, made him a Privy Councillor in 1679 and William III created him an Earl in 1689. While in Chiswick Fauconberg paid for repairs to the chancel of St Nicholas Church. He died in 1700, leaving no children so the Earldom became extinct.
Mary Fauconberg is said to have been handsome, despite the fact that she resembled her father. Bishop Burnet described her as ‘a wise and worthy woman, more likely to have maintained the post of Protector than either of her two brothers’. A visitor to Sutton Court said ‘she was fresh and gay, though of great age’. She stayed on at Sutton Court until her death in 1713 when she was interred in a vault in the chancel of St Nicholas Church (where it is rumoured her father is also buried).
The actor, writer and entertainer Michael Flanders (1922-1975), particularly remembered for his partnership with Donald Swann in ‘At the Drop of a Hat’, lived at 63 Esmond Road from 1971 until his death.
E M FORSTER
Author and critic, Edward Morgan Forster (1879-1970), maintained a pied a terre at 9 Arlington Mansions, Sutton Lane from 1939 until his death. Forster, a member of the Bloomsbury Group and a friend of Virginia Woolf, is best known for novels such as A Passage to India and Howard’s End but for the last 46 years of his life he eschewed novel writing and published short stories and non-fiction. Forster hid his personal life from the public gaze but he is known to have had a relationship with a London policeman and he wrote a novel with a homosexual theme, Maurice, which was not published until after his death.
Italian writer and patriot, Ugo Foscolo (1776-1827) lived for the last months of his life in part of Bohemia House, Chiswick High Road. This house at the top of Chiswick Lane had been converted from a famous pub called Bohemia Head. Foscolo was buried in St Nicholas churchyard. His splendid marble chest tomb, which was not put up until 1861, is still there but Foscolo is no longer inside. In 1871 his remains were disinterred and returned to Florence at the request of the King of Italy.
The important 17th-century politician and civil servant, Sir Stephen Fox (1627-1716), bought a country retreat in Chiswick in 1663. The property was in Burlington Lane next door to Chiswick House and was later known as Moreton Hall.
Fox was a financial entrepreneur who, in his position of Paymaster to the Armed Forces and Lord of the Treasury, almost single-handedly propped up the impoverished Restoration government by borrowing money on his own credit and re-lending it to the Crown. He became immensely wealthy, computed by his friend John Evelyn to be worth £200,000 ‘honestly got and unenvied which is next to a miracle’. Fox put his money to good use acquiring property around the country and building churches, almshouses and charity schools. He was also the guiding light behind the formation of the Chelsea Hospital. This was designed by Sir Christopher Wren on land purchased by Fox. In 1682 Fox commissioned the architect Hugh May to design him a grand mansion on the site of his house in Chiswick. This mansion was not demolished until 1812. In 1685 Fox added to his Chiswick estate by taking over the lease of the Prebendal Manor. He is said to have built two other houses in Chiswick, put up a barn for the vicar, and provided a lock-up and a pair of stocks.
Fox married twice but nine of the ten children from his first marriage pre-deceased him and his surviving son produced no heirs. Unwilling that ‘so plentiful an estate’ should go out of his name and being of a ‘vegete and hail constitution’, Fox married for the second time at the age of 77 and sired four more children. Stephen, the eldest of this second family, became the first Lord Ilchester; Henry, the first Lord Holland and the father of Charles James Fox, the eminent Whig politician who coincidently died at Chiswick House next door to his father’s birthplace. Sir Stephen himself died in 1716 in his 90th year.
A plaque above the Victorian building at the roundabout where Heathfield Terrace joins Wellesley Road reads: ‘Fromow & Sons, estd 1829′. This commemorates the Fromow family who ran a nursery garden in Chiswick for over 140 years. In 1829 William Fromow bought an existing nursery on the west side of Sutton Lane near the junction with Wellesley Road and in 1888 the offices of Fromow moved to the building that bears its name. In the 1890s the Fromow’s own cottage in Sutton Lane was replaced by a magnificent conservatory and palm house.
Heavy death duties in the 1930s led to the sale of the Sutton Lane premises for development (the blocks of flats called Beverley, Belgrave and Beaumont Courts occupy the site) and the Fromow’s moved to premises they also owned in Acton Lane. Here the firm maintained 24 greenhouses and carried on an extensive trade with Covent Garden and Spitalfields markets until it closed in 1970.
JOSEPH MICHAEL GANDY
Gandy (1771-1843) is best known as the draughtsman for the architect, Sir John Soane, but he was also a famous artist in his own right, known especially for his architectural fantasies and his illustrations for topographical books. Between 1833 and 1838 Gandy lived at 58 Grove Park Terrace which now has a plaque to commemorate him.
EARL OF GRANTHAM
Henry d’Auverquerque (1672-1754), Master of Horse to William III, was created Baron of Alford, Viscount Boston and Earl of Grantham in 1698. The rate books suggest that he lived first at Sutton Court before moving into Grove House where he remained until his death.
THOMAS AFFLECK GREEVES
A Bedford Park green plaque on 12 Newton Grove commemorates Tom Greeves (1917-1997) who was largely responsible for preserving the character of Bedford Park as it is known today. When Greeves, an architect and Slade-trained artist, and his wife Eleanor, also an architect, moved to Newton Grove in 1951, Bedford Park had become something of an architectural wilderness: houses were being demolished, converted into flats, becoming dilapidated or being unsuitably altered. Greeves decided the time had come to safeguard the area and, with retired builder Harry Taylor, formed the Bedford Park Society in 1963. Greeves spearheaded the Society’s four-year long campaign to get a statutory listing for the Bedford Park buildings. He subsequently contributed articles on Bedford Park to Country Life and wrote Bedford Park, the first garden suburb, a pictorial survey, which is the standard work on the architecture of the area.
Dr Ralph Griffiths (1720-1803) was a bookseller and publisher who lived at Linden House, a large house on Chiswick High Road from c1760 until his death. The success of his publication of Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland enabled him to found a periodical called The Monthly Review, which he edited for over 50 years. It became one of the most important literary periodicals of the day.
Lord Grimond (1913-1993), leader of the Liberal Party between 1956 and 1967, lived at 24 Priory Avenue from 1976 until his death.
One of the greatest cricketers of all time comes from Chiswick. Elias Henry Hendren (1889-1962), better known under his moniker, Patsy, was one of six children born to Irish parents living at 5 Jessops Row, a terrace of small houses that once ran off Belmont Road. His sporting prowess was evident at an early age when he played football for Chiswick St Mary’s and Chiswick St Nicholas’s Football Club, also cricket for Turnham Green. In his late teens he became a ‘ground boy’ at Lords Cricket Ground and before too long a regular in Middlesex Cricket Club’s top team. He played for England 51 times. His cricketing record is phenomenal, he made 170 centuries, a number only equalled by Sir Jack Hobbs, and 57,611 runs, only bettered by Hobbs and Frank Woolley.
In test cricket his average was nearly 48, a figure surpassed by few English cricketers. In the winter months Hendren turned his attention to soccer, playing for various clubs, most notably Brentford Football Club. He played for Brentford 400 times between 1911 and 1927. In his last cricket match at Lord’s in 1937, Hendren, aged 48, knocked up 103 against Surrey and was serenaded by the crowd with ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’.
The tomb of Frederick Hitch (1856-1913) in Chiswick old cemetery, topped by a stone topee, has the following inscription: ‘This memorial was erected by voluntary subscriptions to commemorate his heroic action at Rorke’s Drift’. During the Zulu War in South Africa, Hitch was one of around 120 men defending a small mission -hospital and supply depot known as Rorke’s Drift.
On 22 January 1879 Rorke’s Drift was attacked by a large Zulu force but, despite fierce fighting, the British managed to repel the advance. Eleven men, including Private Hitch were awarded the Victoria Cross for acts of heroism. Hitch, who had been shot in the arm, was invalided out of the army and became a taxi driver. Between 1907 and 1910 Hitch lived at 56 Duke Road. He then lodged with his friend Henry Wylie at 62 Cranbrook Road until his death.
His funeral was attended by 1,500 cabbies wishing to pay their respects. A blue plaque commemorating Hitch was installed on the house in Cranbrook Road in January 2004.
Chiswick’s most famous resident is the artist William Hogarth (1697-1764) who, in 1749, bought his ‘little country box by the Thames’ in what became known as Hogarth Lane (now part of the A4) and spent the greater part of each summer there. Hogarth is best known for his pictorial satires of 18th-century life such as A Rake’s Progress and Marriage a La Mode which were produced as engraved prints which made them relatively inexpensive to purchase. Hogarth was a quintessentially English painter who wanted to establish a native style of English art and improve the status of English artists. As such he was out of step with the aesthetic preferences of the time which harked back to Classical themes.
Hogarth’s fiercely independent, cocky and belligerent nature made him many enemies but he had a softer side – he loved animals and children and was one of the founder-governors of the Foundling Hospital in Bloomsbury, established by philanthropist Thomas Coram. Hogarth is buried in the churchyard of St Nicholas under a tombstone with an epitaph written by the actor David Garrick.
Holland (1733-1769), the son of a Chiswick baker, became a well known actor. David Garrick cast him in many roles at Drury Lane. When Holland died of small pox aged only 37, Garrick wrote the epitaph for his large chest tomb which is in the north west corner of St Nicholas churchyard.
A grave in the old cemetery of St Nicholas commemorates Henry Joy (1819-1893). Its inscription tells us that he was trumpet major, 17th Lancers, and present with the regiment in the Crimea and, ‘as staff trumpeter to General the Earl of Lucan sounded the memorable charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava’. This claim is hotly disputed by descendants of Lord Cardigan’s trumpeter Billy Brittan and it seems more likely that Henry Joy sounded the earlier charge of the Heavy Brigade since Lord Lucan, Commander of both brigades, did not participate in the charge of the Light Brigade, but remained with the Heavies. Joy, as his staff trumpeter, would most probably have stayed by his side. After the war Joy became a messenger in the War Office before retiring on a civilian pension to Bank’s Buildings, Chiswick High Road (these were on the corner with Annandale Road).
William Kent (1685-1748) was a landscape gardener, an architect, interior designer and a painter. Born in Yorkshire and apprenticed to a coach painter, he was sent to Rome to study painting. Here he met the Earl of Burlington who brought him back to London to help renovate Burlington’s own properties. Kent lived with the Burlingtons for the rest of his life and is said to be buried in the Burlington vault in St Nicholas Church.
They were an odd combination, Burlington and Kent, a real attraction of opposites. Burlington was a wealthy nobleman, learned scholar and rigid theorist while Kent was humbly born, impulsive and mercurial. However, their letters show a friendship full of humour and affection and Kent was a great favourite with Lady Burlington, she nicknamed him the ‘little Signor’ and took painting lessons from him.
It is not known exactly how much part Kent played in the design of Chiswick House itself, perhaps just some of the interior decoration, but he had a large hand in landscaping the grounds. According to Horace Walpole, it was Kent who saw that ‘all nature is a garden’ and devised an informal layout for the Chiswick House gardens. Kent is now recognised as the pioneer of the ‘natural taste in gardening’. He became much sought after, commissioned to design many things, particularly Holkham Hall for the Earl of Leicester and the gardens at Stowe and Rousham.
Dr John Lindley (1799-1865) was a famous naturalist and botanist who was connected with the Horticultural Society’s (later Royal Horticultural Society) Chiswick Gardens for 42 years. He joined as Assistant Secretary in 1822, becoming Secretary in 1858, a post in which he continued until 1863. He was thus very involved in laying out the gardens and supervising the collection of plants. Lindley was also Professor of Botany at University College, London, Professor of Botany at Chelsea Physic Garden and editor of the Gardener’s Chronicle. He lived in Turnham Green Terrace before moving to Melbourne House in 1824. In 1836 he moved next door to Bedford House where he lived until his death.
Mason was one of two brothers who ran the Chiswick Soap Company, famous for its Cherry Blossom Boot Polish. The Masons were enlightened employers, the company had its own hospital with a nurse in attendance, a gymnasium, a sports ground, a model housing development for staff in Staveley Gardens (initially the present nos 1-50) and a club for female employees in Boston House. Here, young women were educated in the firm’s time.
Dan Mason was also one of Chiswick’s main benefactors. It was he who endowed Chiswick cottage hospital and he who gave Afton House for use as the Chiswick Memorial Club for ex-servicemen. In 2004 the road leading to Duke’s Meadows from the A316 was named Dan Mason Drive in his memory.
This was the family who started the brewery which later became Fuller, Smith and Turner and whose name is commemorated in Mawson Row (which they built) and the Mawson Arms pub.
Thomas Mawson bought the brewery in 1701. When he died in 1714 it was continued by his eldest son, also Thomas. He died in 1748 and left the brewery to his brother Dr Matthias Mawson. Matthias Mawson became Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and, successively, Bishop of Llandaff, Chichester and Ely. Not surprisingly he had no interest in brewing and the brewery was leased to Matthew Graves. Ownership descended down the Mawson line until 1782 when the brewery was sold to John Thompson.
E J MAY
Edward John May (1853-1941) was one of the architects of Bedford Park. He was assistant to R Norman Shaw whom he succeeded as the estate architect in 1880. May was responsible for all the houses in Priory Gardens, some in Addison Grove and Queen Anne’s Grove and also worked out Norman Shaw’s design for the Bedford Park Club. May lived at 6 Queen Anne’s Grove between 1881 and 1890.
Long forgotten now, but Joseph or Josiah Miller (1684-1738) was a comic actor ‘of considerable merit’ who lived at Vernon Cottage, Strand-on-the-Green between 1686 and 1738. He became even better known when a book entitled Joe Miller’s Jests was published a year after his death, although it is not thought he was its author.
Nancy Mitford (1904-73) was the eldest daughter of 2nd Baron Redesdale and one of the noted Mitford sisters. She wrote articles, biographies and novels, notably Noblesse Oblige and Love in a Cold Climate. Between 1934 and 1936 she lived at 84 Strand-on-the-Green while she was married to the Hon Peter Rodd and working in a bookshop. Her writing, combined with clever investments on the Stock Exchange, made her wealthy and after her divorce she moved to Paris where she lived the highlife among the French and Italian aristocracy.
Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (1887-1976), later Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, spent part of his childhood at 19 Bolton Road, Grove Park, a house rented by his father. Montgomery obtained a commission in the regular army before the outbreak of World War I and lived a bachelor existence until the age of 40 when he married the widowed artist Betty Carver, who lived on Chiswick Mall, in St Nicholas Church. Following his marriage he was posted to India where his son David was born and where Betty died from a mysterious illness.
During World War II Winston Churchill appointed Montgomery the general commanding the Eighth Army in Egypt. The Battle of Alamein was the first of his many victories. He was promoted to the rank of Field Marshall and became a popular hero.
In 1945 Montgomery was awarded the freedom of the Borough of Brentford and Chiswick at a ceremony in the Chiswick Empire, following a procession along the High Road from Young’s Corner.
The Rev Thomas Morell (1704-1784) was an eminent Classical scholar who lived at Turnham Green and was great friends with William Hogarth. He was Handel’s librettist, Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries and one of the earliest writers for the Gentleman’s Magazine.
Between 1872 and 1878, when he moved to Kelmscott House, Hammersmith, William Morris (1834-1896) was renting Horrington House in Chiswick High Road, near to where Thornton Avenue is today. He was thus close to Bedford Park which was in the process of being built. Although the new estate’s design was influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, of which Morris is the acknowledged father, Morris is said to have been ambivalent towards Bedford Park.
The playwright Alun Owen (1925-1994) who wrote the script of the Beatles film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ in 1964 lived at 4 Upham Park Road between 1985 and 1994.
Paxton (1803-1865), one of the greatest gardeners of the 19th century and the man who created the Crystal Palace, was trained in Chiswick. In 1823, aged 20, Paxton joined the Horticultural Society’s (later Royal Horticultural Society) experimental Chiswick gardens as a labourer. This was the heyday of plant collecting and the Horticultural Society’s gardens were considered the most prestigious in Britain, so it was an ideal proving ground for a keen would-be gardener. Paxton is known to have worked in the arboretum and in the ornamental garden and he probably took advantage of the Society’s splendid library to spruce up his gardening knowledge.
At some stage Paxton encountered the 6th Duke of Devonshire who had his own private gate into the gardens. In 1826 the Duke offered Paxton the position of Superintendent of the garden at Chatsworth, his estate in Derbyshire. Paxton was not yet 23 years-old and over the next three decades he created a garden that became the envy of every aristocrat in the land and made Chatsworth the most visited country house in England.
While at Chatsworth, Paxton experimented with large glass buildings using revolutionary technology. This led to the commission to design the Crystal Palace, which is considered one of the greatest design and engineering feats of the 19th century.
Piffard (1867-1939) was a well known painter and book illustrator and also an early aviator who lived at 18 Addison Grove from 1896 until his death. In 1909 he built an aeroplane in his studio and assembled it in a rented shed on Back Common, Turnham Green. He hired a field in Ealing to test its flying capabilities – but without success. He had better luck in 1910 when his plane Hummingbird flew across a field in Sussex, earning Piffard a crate of champagne and the reputation as one of the first people to fly in the UK. There is a replica of Hummingbird in Shoreham Airport Historical Association’s museum.
ARTHUR WING PINERO
Pinero (1855-1934), the playwright most famous for The Second Mrs Tanqueray lived at 10 Marlborough Crescent in 1883-4. After the success of his farce The Magistrate Pinero left Bedford Park and eventually built himself a house in Harley Street.
Lucien Pissarro (1863-1944), the eldest son of French artist Camille Pissarro moved to 62 Bath Road in 1897 and, in 1902, to The Brook, Stamford Brook. In 1897 Camille came to visit his son and during the two months he stayed produced seven oil paintings of Stamford Brook.
Lucien was an artist who painted many scenes in west London. He was also a wood engraver and a printer and is perhaps best known for founding the Eragny Press which produced exquisite little hand-printed books. Lucien was a short, shy, softly-spoken man with a very large beard. However, the Pissarros were very hospitable giving regular soirees for their friends from the art world.
Actor-Manager Sir Nigel Playfair (1874-1935) who was manager of the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith between 1919 and 1932 lived at Said House, Chiswick Mall between 1931 and 1934. It was Playfair who installed the large, curved glass window at the front of the house.
Pleasance (1919-1995), the actor who appeared in films such as The Great Escape, Dracula, Halloween and, as Ernest Blofeld in You Only Live Twice, lived at 10 Strand-on-the-Green in 1969, purchasing no 11 in 1973 when it was called Bull Cottage. Pleasance moved out in 1985.
The poet, essayist and writer, Alexander Pope (1688-1744), lived with his parents in Mawson Row, Chiswick between 1716 and 1719. The house where he lived now contains the Mawson Arms pub. Some of Pope’s original translation of The Iliad was drafted on the backs of letters addressed to ‘Mr Pope’ at his house in ‘ye New Buildings, Chiswick’. In 1719 Pope moved to his villa in Twickenham where he constructed a celebrated grotto. Due to a childhood illness Pope was diminutive and disabled. He never married but had many friends including Lord Burlington of Chiswick House to whom he dedicated his essay entitled On Taste. However, since Pope was a quarrelsome fellow he also made many enemies among the literary fraternity.
Potter (1900-1969), the author of Gamesmanship, One-Upmanship, Lifemanship etc came to live at 2 Riverside, Chiswick Mall in 1928. In 1939 he was living at Thames Bank Villa where he stayed until 1942.
Although William Hogarth kept his house in Chiswick for 15 years, he is only known to have executed one picture of the area. This is an etching, entitled on some versions ‘Mr Ranby the surgeon’s house’. John Ranby (1703-1773) lived in Burlington Lane, Chiswick between 1748 and 1754. He was an important medical man in 18th-century England being principal surgeon to George II and the first master of the newly-formed surgeons’ company (now the Royal College of Surgeons). He was an admirer and collector of Hogarth’s work and, during the time they were near neighbours in Chiswick, Hogarth painted two portraits of Ranby’s illegitimate children (both pictures are now in Tate Britain).
Ranby was also a friend of novelist Henry Fielding who defended him over the medical controversy surrounding the death of Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford and prime minister of England (Ranby was one of the doctors who attended Walpole). Fielding also pays Ranby this glowing tribute in Tom Jones: ‘…this surgeon, whose name I have forgot, though I remember it began with an R, had the first character in his profession and was serjeant-surgeon to the king. He had moreover many good qualities and was a very generous good natured man and ready to do any service to his fellow creatures…’ When Fielding died in 1754, Ranby took over his house, Fordhook, in Ealing. Ranby died in 1773 at Chelsea Hospital where he had been appointed surgeon in 1752.
Actor Michael Redgrave (1908-1985) bought Bedford House in Chiswick Mall in 1945. With his wife Rachel Kempson and children Vanessa, Lyn and Corin, he lived there until 1954. Redgrave had been a schoolteacher before his illustrious career on the stage, involving seasons at the Old Vic, Stratford and Chichester. He also appeared in about 50 films, becoming popular after his leading role in Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes (1938). A tall and imposing figure he was articulate about the craft of acting, writing two books on the subject.
Novelist Samuel Richardson (1689-1761), famous for Pamela, Clarissa and Sir Charles Grandison was a tenant of the manor of Sutton Court from 1736-1738.
T M ROOKE
The pre-Raphaelite artist T M Rooke (1842-1942) was a studio assistant to Burne Jones for nearly 30 years, also a friend and helper to John Ruskin. Rooke lived at 7 Queen Anne’s Grove, a house, with a ground floor studio, designed for him by W Wilson in 1878. Rooke painted the original inn sign for the Tabard Inn.
Dr Rose (1719-86) was a literary man who translated Greek, Latin and French and helped Ralph Griffiths establish the Monthly Review. For thirty years he ran a school for boys in Bradmore House (demolished 1896) in Chiswick Lane. He was a friend of Dr Johnson who often visited him in Chiswick and who considered Rose was too lenient with his pupils!
JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU
The influential French philosopher, writer and political theorist lived in Chiswick for two months in 1776. Rousseau (1712-1778) was brought to England by the Scottish philosopher David Hume after his book Emile, a treatise on education, caused controversy in France. In January 1776 Rousseau wrote to a friend: `I am going to stay at a village near London, called Chiswick’. He lodged with a grocer called James Pullen, probably in Church Street.
This versatile man built some of Chiswick’s grandest houses but is more renowned for building the earliest boats to be powered by electricity.
William Samuel Sargeant (1836-1918) was born in Kentish Town, the son of a builder. By 1871 he was living in Grove Park Terrace, Chiswick where he was in the process of building large houses in Grove Park Road. By 1874 he had built four enormous Gothic constructions on the riverside – Nos 68-74 Grove Park Road.
Sargeant also had boat-building yards at Strand-on-the-Green and in 1888 he was commissioned by Moritz Immisch, a pioneer of electric motors, and Viscount Bury, an MP and electrical engineer, to adapt `a roomy hulk’ for electric power. In 1888 Sargeant also designed and built the Viscountess Bury which was at the time the largest electric passenger launch in the world. He built several more electric launches before his business was taken over by a firm called Woodhouse and Rawson in 1890. Sargeant purchased a new site on Eel Pie Island where he continued to trade under the name of The Thames Electric & Steam Launch Company until 1907. In 1888 Sargeant had moved into Zachary House, Strand-on-the-Green which he purchased in 1900. He lived there until a year before his death in 1918.
Sharp (1749-1824) was one of the most celebrated engravers of his day. For the last months of his life before he died of dropsy he lived at Orford House (now rebuilt) in Chiswick Mall. Sharp is buried in the churchyard of St Nicholas.
Chiswick has every reason to be grateful to Lieut-Colonel Shipway (1841-1928) since he was the man who saved Hogarth House from demolition and opened it as a Hogarth museum.
Shipway was a Tory Middlesex County Councillor and a JP. He had a long association with the Queen’s Westminster Rifles, a volunteer regiment which was a Victorian equivalent of the Territorial Army, where he rose to the rank of Lieut-Colonel. He was a director of Hammond & Co, a family firm in Oxford Street that made breeches.
In 1894 Shipway was renting Grove House which he purchased in 1897 and improved by various additions and alterations. Photographs of the interior show that Shipway adorned the walls with large animal heads (he was a crack shot). In 1902, after the public appeal to rescue Hogarth House failed, Shipway bought the house himself, furnished it and opened it as a Hogarth museum in 1904. In 1909 he conveyed it in trust to the Middlesex County Council.
John Sich was leasing the Lamb Brewery by 1790 and purchased it in 1795.The brewery was run by members of the Sich family until they sold it to Isleworth Brewery in 1920. They are described in 1819 as being brewers, maltsters and coal merchants.
Members of the family lived in many fine houses in Chiswick including Bedford House, Eynham House and Norfolk House, all on Chiswick Mall; Wisteria Cottage and Ferry House in Church Street. Mabel Sich married Frederick William Tuke whose family ran the mental asylum and lived in Thames View House. The Sich’s were active members of the Chiswick community also benefactors of St Nicholas Church, assisting with its 19th century rebuild. Henry Sich (d 1868) and his wife Anne (d 1884) are buried in a vault (now sealed) in St Nicholas where there was once a monument to them. Other members of the family are buried in the churchyard.
Augustus John Ruskin Spear (1911-1990), a Royal Academician and famous narrative painter with works in many public collections, lived at 20 Fielding Road between 1960 and 1979, moving in 1980 to 60 British Grove.
This was the name used in Britain by Sergius Mikhailovich Kravchinsky, a Russian anarchist and revolutionary. Stepniak (which means `man of the steppes’) fled Russia in 1878 after being implicated in a murder. Stepniak (1851-1895) arrived in London in 1885 where he worked as a journalist and published a book on the Russian revolutionary movement (Underground Russia) which was to have a great impact on the early British Socialist movement.
Stepniak numbered William Morris, Walter Sickert and George Bernard Shaw among his friends and was extremely popular: ;one of the gentlest of men, a man of a sweet and lovable nature’ is how one friend described him. It is said that Stepniak was the model for the Russian exile in Edith Nesbit’s novel The Railway Children.
Stepniak lived at 31 Blandford Road from 1893 to 1895 when he moved to 48 Woodstock Road. Later that year he was killed on the level crossing of the North & South Western Junction Railway line in Woodstock Road. Around a thousand mourners turned out for his funeral procession from Chiswick to Waterloo (he was buried at Brookwood cemetery near Woking.
The actor William Terriss (1847-1897) lived at 4 The Avenue between 1884 and 1890 and at 2 Bedford Road from 1893 until his death. Terriss turned to acting after trying his hand at various activities such as tea planting in India and sheep farming in the Falklands. He became a leading actor of his day, playing under Henry Irving at the Lyceum and Adelphi theatres. Popular and handsome he was also something of a ‘heart throb’.
In 1897, as he arrived for an evening performance at the Adelphi, he was stabbed in the back by Richard Arthur Prince. Prince had once worked at the Adelphi but had been fired because of his strange behaviour and bore Terriss a grudge. Prince was found guilty of murder but insane.
When the novelist and journalist William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) was five years-old his father, an administrator for the East India Company, died and his son returned to England. The following year he was sent to an academy for young gentlemen at Walpole House on Chiswick Mall, where he was homesick and unhappy. According to his daughter, Walpole House was the setting for Miss Pinkerton’s Seminary for Young Ladies in Vanity Fair. However Thackeray seems to have used considerable artistic licence in his illustration of Becky Sharp throwing her `dixionary’ out of the carriage window. Boston House which was indeed a seminary for young ladies at the time also claims the credit.
John Thaw (1942-2002), the versatile actor of screen and stage, perhaps best remembered as Inspector Morse, lived at 70 Grove Park Road between 1978 and 1992.
HERBERT BEERBOHM TREE
Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1853-1917) was an actor-manager, famous particularly for his staging of Shakespeare at the Haymarket and at Her Majesty’s theatre which he built in 1897. He lived at Walpole House, Chiswick Mall between 1903 and 1910.
This family of doctors was instrumental in introducing more humane methods of treatment for the mentally ill. Rather than keep patients restrained with straitjackets or hobbles, they allowed them to move around freely and took care of their physical health and comfort.
Dr Edward Tuke, who originally came from Ireland, set up a private mental asylum in Homerton, moving it to Manor Farm House, Chiswick in 1837. After he died in 1846, his wife held the licence with her son, Dr Thomas Harrington Tuke as the asylum’s physician. Famous patients treated by the Tukes were Edwin Landseer, the painter, and Chartist leader, Feargus O’Connor, who was pronounced insane after a scene in the House of Commons. In 1892 the asylum moved to Chiswick House where it was run by Thomas Harrington Tuke’s doctor sons, Thomas Seymour Tuke and Charles Molesworth Tuke. It was licensed for 35 patients and remained at Chiswick House until 1929. Various members of the Tuke family lived on Chiswick Mall in the houses called Said House and Thames View.
VINCENT VAN GOGH
As a young man Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) spent three years in England. For the last six months in 1876 he lived and taught at a school in Isleworth. This school was run by Rev Thomas Slade-Jones who had established a Congregational church at Turnham Green. Vincent van Gogh became a co-worker at the church, visiting parishioners, combined with a bit of teaching and preaching.
The parish registers tell us that Barbara Villiers (1641-1709) Duchess of Cleveland was buried in St Nicholas Church on 13 October 1709. Barbara Villiers was a renowned beauty who became a favourite mistress of Charles II and bore him several children. She is said to have retired to Chiswick in 1707 and lived at Walpole House, Chiswick Mall. By this time she was suffering from dropsy and had `swelled to a monstrous bulk’ but died of smallpox.
C F A VOYSEY
The Arts and Crafts designer and architect CFA Voysey (1857-1941) lived for a brief period at 7 Blandford Road in 1885, shortly after he married. Voysey was responsible for two of Chiswick’s most distinctive buildings. In 1891 he designed 14 South Parade for the artist JW Foster. An Arts and Crafts purist Voysey produced a design of extreme simplicity, using only the cheapest materials. In contrast to its red brick and tile Bedford Park neighbours, Voysey’s house had a slate roof and was faced with roughcast. This caused an outcry among local architects but by this time Jonathan Carr had sold the Bedford Park estate and there were no controls over new house designs.
Voysey’s second Chiswick building was the white-tiled block in Barley Mow Passage, now offices known as Voysey House. This was designed as a new factory for Sanderson for which company Voysey had also designed wallpaper. It was completed in 1902-3 and described as a `model factory with a feeling of airiness and spaciousness’. It was Voysey’s only industrial building and is now listed Grade II*.
THOMAS GRIFFITHS WAINEWRIGHT
Thomas Griffiths Wainewright (1794-1847) was one of Chiswick’s more infamous residents. He was a writer and an artist who exhibited at the Royal Academy; his friends included Hazlitt, De Quincey and Charles Lamb. He was also a dandy, described as an ‘over dressed young man’, a spendthrift, a forger and a probable poisoner, although it has to be said he was never convicted for murder.
Wainewright was probably born in Linden House, the home of his grandfather Dr Ralph Griffiths. After Dr Griffiths’s death Linden House was inherited by his bachelor son, George Edward Griffiths, who in 1827 invited Wainewright and his wife to live with him. Six months later George Griffiths became suddenly and unaccountably ill, seized with convulsive stomach pains and died in terrible agony.
Wainewright inherited the house and in 1830 his mother-in-law, Mrs Abercromby and her two unmarried daughters came to live there. A few months later, just six days after making her will, Mrs Abercromby died in just the same manner as George Griffiths, according to the nurse who attended both death beds.
In the same year Helen Abercromby, Wainewright’s sister-in-law was urged by Wainewright to take out an insurance policy on her life – not with just one insurance company but with several. The proceeds in the event of her death to go to her sisters and brother-in-law.
Wainewright was now heavily in debt and obliged to put Linden House up for sale. With his entourage Wainewright moved to Conduit Street where less than two weeks later, the young and previously healthy, Helen Abercromby was taken ill and died. The doctors were persuaded that the cause of death was wet feet and too many oysters.
The insurance companies thought the death suspicious and refused to redeem the policies. Undeterred, Wainewright sued one of the companies. The case came to court five years later and was settled in favour of the insurance company. Wainewright, meanwhile had taken refuge in France, fleeing from his creditors. When he returned to England, seven years after the death of Helen Abercromby, he was promptly arrested – but not for murder, for a bank forgery, a crime he had committed 11 years earlier by forging his cousins’ signatures to get his hands on a capital sum to which he wasn’t entitled. He was convicted and transported to Tasmania where he remained until his death.
J M WHISTLER
The artist James McNeill Whistler (1834 -1903) is buried in the graveyard of St Nicholas Church. His fine classical tomb was designed by Edward Godwin, his stepson. In 1888 Whistler had married the widow of E W Godwin, one of the architects of Bedford Park. The four statuettes on the corners of the tomb represent the four seasons. The present statuettes are replicas of the original bronze statues which were stolen.
This tomb, however, was not put up until 1912, nine years after Whistler’s death.When Whistler was buried on 23 July 1903, next to his wife Beatrix, he was laid in an unmarked plot beside a wall covered with clematis and surrounded by a low flower-strewn trellis-like railing.
WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
Poet and playwright William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), winner of the 1923 Nobel Prize in Literature, lived at two addresses in Bedford Park. In 1876 his father, the artist John Butler Yeats, moved his wife and six children to No 8 Woodstock Road. In about 1880 the family moved away but returned in 1888 to 3 Blenheim Road where William remained until about 1894.
It was while living in Bedford Park that Yeats composed his best-known poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree and met Maud Gonne, the woman who was to be the object of his unrequited passion and an important influence on his writing. Yeats described the meeting as the day ‘the troubling of my life began’. He proposed to her several times but was always refused.
The German-born artist Johann Zoffany (1733-1810) arrived in England in 1760 to seek his fortune. His arrival coincided with George III’s accession to the throne and the patronage of George’s German queen, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, enabled Zoffany to become one of the most fashionable artists of the day. In 1764 he rented London Style House, a large house on the banks of the Thames by Kew Bridge.
In 1772 Zoffany went abroad but on his return in 1789 he bought 65 Strand-on-the-Green, later called Zoffany House. Zoffany was extravagant, flamboyant and entertained lavishly. Consequently he was frequently in debt. He may also have been a bigamist as no evidence has come to light to show that his first wife was dead before he married for the second time.
Zoffany painted two altar pieces as gifts for local churches. He used local fishermen as models for the apostles for his painting of The Last Supper. Tradition has it that he painted himself as St Peter and that the model for Judas was a lawyer he had fallen out with. He offered the painting to St Ann’s Church Kew but the church refused to accept it and instead it went to St George’s Church, Brentford (it now hangs in St Paul’s Church). The altar piece he painted for St Nicholas Church was sold at Christies in 1904.