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Hammersmith Estate including Sunken Garden Hammersmith & Fulham


The Hammersmith Estate, with blocks of flats of dark red brick, was built for the Peabody Trust in 1926 on a site that was once the Good Shepherd Convent. It was the last Peabody estate constructed with a separate bathhouse. In the central courtyard is a walled sunken garden with trees, shrubs and a lawn, which is contemporary with the original building, and was reputedly the site of the nuns' burial ground. There are single trees in other parts of the estate and raised beds by the entrances to the blocks, and overall there is much more greenery than many blocks of this type. The estate was badly bombed in WWII and the garden extensively damaged. It has now been restored by the Peabody Trust, working closely with residents.

Basic Details

Site location:
Fulham Palace Road

W6 9PG ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Housing/Estate Landscaping


Victor Wilkins

Listed structures:

Hammersmith & Fulham

Site ownership:
Peabody Trust

Site management:
Peabody Estate

Open to public?

Opening times:
private, but unrestricted access to communal area
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 2 times, most recently in 2011.

Special conditions:


Sunken Garden has opened for OGSW

Public transport:
Tube: Hammersmith (District, Piccadilly, Hammersmith & City) then bus. Bus: 190, 211, 220, 295

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:

On EH National Register :

EH grade:

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:

In Conservation Area:

Conservation Area name:
Hammersmith Odeon

Tree Preservation Order:
To be checked

Nature Conservation Area:

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:

Other LA designation:

Fuller information

The Peabody Donation Fund was founded in 1862 by George Peabody (1795-1869), an American banker, diplomat and philanthropist who had moved to London in 1837. He was part of a circle of influential thinkers and social reformers that included Lord Shaftesbury, William Cobbett and Charles Dickens, and he became the first American to be awarded the Freedom of the City of London. His charitable works benefited a great many organisations, including education, music, science, banking and housing. At his funeral in 1869 Queen Victoria and Prince of Wales sent carriages to follow his coffin and William Gladstone, then Prime Minister, was one of the mourners at Westminster Abbey. Setting up his fund with a donation of £500,000, a gift that Queen Victoria described as 'wholly without parallel', Peabody's aim was to tackle the poverty and poor housing that he witnessed around him in London. The first Peabody estate was built in Spitalfields in 1864, which was followed by the Greenman Street Estate in Islington in 1865. All the pre-1900 estates were designed by architect Henry Darbishire. With a view to improving the residents' health, blocks of housing were separate from each other and a central space generally provided a safe area for children to play; shared facilities such as laundries, bathhouses, coal stores and pram sheds were usually provided and each estate was overseen by a resident superintendent. The Fund was initially restricted to building its estates within 8 miles of the Royal Exchange in the City.

From 1875 housing legislation came into effect that permitted slum clearance in London as a result of which Peabody was among the bodies that purchased cleared sites from the Metropolitan Board of Works, and was also required to provide housing for the displaced slum-dwellers. This led to a number of new Peabody estates being built in poor areas of London such as Whitechapel (1881), Whitecross Street (1883) and Clerkenwell (1884), and existing estates were also enlarged. From 1900 a Royal Charter enabled the Fund to operate over a 12 mile radius of the Royal Exchange and the improved transport network now in place across London also provided a better service for those travelling between home and work. Although estates continued to be built, for example at Bethnal Green (1910), Fulham (1912) and Vauxhall Bridge Road (1913), Peabody also began to build cottages, for example at Herne Hill (1901-05) and Tottenham (1907).

Peabody's estate architect from 1910-47 was Victor Wilkins, whose estates of the 1920s were more elaborate in design. The Hammersmith Estate, built in 1926, was the last to have a separate bathhouse, and the Cleverly Estate (q.v.) in Shepherd's Bush was the first where each flat had its own bathroom. In the more stringent times of the 1930s the estate design became simpler and separate bathrooms were no longer provided; these estates included the Chelsea Manor Street (1931), Dalgarno Gardens (1934-8) and Clapham Estates (1936). Building ceased in WWII and many of the estates suffered damage and loss of life; the Hammersmith Estate was among those with severe bomb damage.

After the war a private Act of Parliament in 1948 extended Peabody's operational area to a 25 mile radius and new powers were granted to enable the Fund to carry out an extensive recovery programme of repair and replacement. The Roscoe Street Estate near the Barbican is an example of a new approach, with a different layout and tall tower blocks constructed around a single staircase. Modernisation of the older estates also began to be carried out. In addition, in the 1950s Peabody began to purchase other existing housing estates, the oldest being Parnell House in Bloomsbury of 1850 built by the Society for Improving the Condition of the Labouring Classes; the Shaftesbury Park Estate in Battersea, built in the 1870s by the Artizans' Labourers' and General Dwellings Company; the Carlton Square Estate in Mile End built in the 1850s by the Pemberton-Barnes family; the Ebury Estate of the 1870s built by the Improved Industrial Dwellings Company; and the Tachbrook Estate (q.v.) in Westminster, built in 1935-47 by Westminster Housing Trust. In 2011 four estates were purchased from the Crown Estate: Cumberland Market Estate, Millbank Estate in Pimlico, Lee Green in Lewisham and Victoria Park Estate in Hackney. A number of estates are LBII: Blackfriars Road, Parnell House, Shadwell and part of Ebury.

The Group currently owns and manages over 19,000 homes in London and runs various community programmes for its residents and neighbourhoods. In 2007 a 10-year programme of major improvements was launched, which includes environmental improvements to the open spaces of around 40 estates, carried out in consultation with the residents. These aim to improve access, safety and security as well as address issues such as waste management, climate change and biodiversity. Soft and hard landscaping, lighting, provision of play areas are among the works and residents' panels work with Peabody to select the landscape architects and other contractors for the programme.

The Hammersmith Estate, built in 1926 on the former site of the Good Shepherd Convert, was modernised in the 1970s. The central courtyard, The Square, has a walled sunken garden landscaped with trees, shrubs and a lawn, which is contemporary with the original building, and was reputedly the site of the nuns' burial ground. The garden, which was extensively damaged by WWII bombing, has now been restored by the Peabody Trust, working closely with residents. There are single trees in other parts of the estate and raised beds by the entrances to the blocks that are used by residents and overall there is much more greenery than many blocks of this type.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed) p 247; OGSW booklet 2010; Peabody history on

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