|Brook Green||Hammersmith & Fulham|
Brook Green, once a small hamlet, is a long triangular site originally part of the course of Parr’s Ditch and formerly manorial waste. It was purchased in 1881 along with Eelbrook Common and Parson's Green from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by the MBW. It was then landscaped and London plane trees planted along its boundaries. A pond referred to in 1823 has long since disappeared. The area to the west of Brook Green was originally retained for a chapel but later was made part of the open space.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/07/2005
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Brook Green is a long triangular site that was formerly manorial waste. It was originally on the course of a tributary of Stamford Brook called Parr’s Ditch, which formed the boundary between the hamlets of Hammersmith and Fulham when Hammersmith became a separate parish in 1834. Now underground, the watercourse ran through Brook Green and under a bridge at Hammersmith Road and then under what is now Talgarth Road. In 1839, Thomas Faulkner described Brook Green as 'a pleasant and respectable village, embellished with several large houses' that 'commands, on the north, extensive views of the surrounding country, including the Cemetry [sic] of Kensal Green, Hampstead, Highgate, and Harrow'. He goes on to describe some of the surrounding houses, which included the Police Station House 'at the north-west angle of the Green', and an 'antique dwelling, affording in its present dilapidated condition, a picturesque object for the artist's pencil'. On the opposite side of the Green was 'the pleasant mansion of Mr. George Bird, the builder of St Peter's Chapel, and of the towers of the Suspension Bridge'. Bird's House was 'built in the modern villa style, and forms a striking contrast to its venerable neighbour'. On the west side were four almshouses founded in the C17th by Thomas Isles; public houses included the Jolly Gardeners and the Queen's Head, and there were various religious and educational establishments. A property at the south end of the Green was a Roman Catholic School and Chapel called 'The Ark', rebuilt in 1787. Faulkner also notes that an annual fair was held on the Green on May 1st until it was suppressed in 1823, following an Act of Parliament that put down 'all fairs within ten miles of London, unless legal cause be shown of their origin and continuance'.
Brook Green was purchased by the Metropolitan Board of Works along with Eelbrook Common (q.v.) and Parson's Green (q.v.) from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, acquired under the Metropolitan Commons Supplemental Act 1881. Brook Green was landscaped and London plane trees were planted along its boundaries. A pond referred to in 1823 has long since disappeared. The area to the west of Brook Green was originally retained for a chapel but was made part of the open space in 1887. In the 1990s a detached parcel of land to the west was incorporated and landscaped with paving, seats and roses
Originally the Green was broken up by a number of tracks but these were removed and the plane trees planted. In the early 1930s plans were drawn up for building a new town hall on the Green, but this was defeated by local opposition. Since 1948 four tennis courts have been provided in the central area, adjacent to which a play area is a more recent addition. Some improvement works were carried out by LB Hammersmith & Fulham in 1971 when the area was designated a Conservation Area. Brook Green is overlooked by a number of notable buildings and its fine London planes are now mature trees in good condition. By 1995, the chapel site had been redesigned with a paved area with seats and rose bushes. The roads on either side of Brook Green are designated as local access roads.
In November 2008 £100,000 refurbishments to the Green were announced, the plans including upgrading the tennis courts, replacing fencing, improving access and pathways and refurbishing the dog exercise area. New park benches and bins were to be installed and grass areas dramatically improved. Longer term plans include refurbishing on-site buildings, the children’s play area and information signs.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed) p 220, LB Hammersmith & Fulham Archives Dept, 'A note on the open spaces of Fulham and Hammersmith', 1974 p4; The Parks Agency 'Commons, Heaths and Greens in Greater London. A short report for English Heritage', 2005; Thomas Faulkner 'The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Hammersmith', 1839; Warwick H Draper, 'Hammersmith: A Study in Town History', 1913 (facsimile reprint, Bingley Publishing, 1989)