Caroline MacMillan: What’s in a street name?

Discover the history of family names and royal connections in your road. Location: Brackenbury Village, Hammersmith, London, W6:

How often have you walked down a street and asked yourself, ‘I wonder why it’s called that?’. Hammersmith has many fascinating street names reflecting our rich history.

Some road names illustrate the patriotic fervour gripping the country after the victory at the Battle of Waterloo 100 years ago.

To mark the defeat of Napoleon’s army, Wellesley Avenue off Dalling Road was named after the family name of the Duke of Wellington who led the English to victory over the French. Macbeth Street off King Street was once called Waterloo Street in honour of the battle.

The history of Perrers Road and Paddenswick Road near Ravenscourt Park go back to the 14th century when Edward III gave many estates, including that of Pallenswick located between Goldhawk Road and King Street, to his mistress Alice Perrers. Over the years the Pallenswick estate became known as Paddenswick.

In 1746, the manor on the estate was bought by Thomas Corbett, Secretary to the Admiralty. Because he had ravens on his coat of arms the manor became known as Ravenscourt House, and the area obviously became Ravenscourt Park.

The owner of that house from 1764 until 1812 was the Dorville family, hence Dorville Crescent adjoining Holy Innocents Church. Sadly, Ravenscourt House, which later became a library, was damaged beyond repair by bombs in the war. Only the stables survived which are now the tearooms.

Bradmore Park Road reminds us of Bradmore House which stood where traffic now circumvents Hammersmith Broadway.

Nearby Atwood Road was named after Thomas Atwood, curate of St Paul’s Church, Hammersmith, in 1788.

Upon his death in 1826 his son Francis accepted the incumbency and proved to be a popular vicar during his thirty years of service.

© Caroline MacMillan 2015.

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