Tales of The Thames Path

You can now view the film, guide and interactive maps on the dedicated web page here.

Tales of the Thames Path Project  – Winter 2016-17: End of the road… 

Christ Church of England Primary School

Last term we worked with Christ Church of England School in Chelsea, covering the last part of the Thames Path in our project area. We had lots of fun learning about some of the interesting people and places along the Thames Path between Albert Bridge and Chelsea Physic Gardens, it was incredible to find there so much history in this area to explore! For instance, did you know the name Chelsea comes from the Chelsea Manor House were Kind Henry VII lived and Queen Elizabeth was born? Children found amusing to learn the stories surrounding the notorious pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Rossetti and his pet toucan who used to ride a Lama wearing a cowboy hat around the dinner table to entertain guests!?! And he is only one of the many famous residents that Cheyne Walk has seen over the last few hundred years.

One of the highlights of the project was the visit to Chelsea Physic Gardens were children had the opportunity to learn about the incredible history of these little-known gardens, Wardian cases (an early type of sealed protective container for plants which changed the world economy!) and they had the chance build to make their own case with tamarind and lemon seeds (to our surprise they worked!).


Volunteer Training Day at Chelsea Physic Gardens

We also organised a training event at Chelsea Physic Gardens in September led by Michael Holland, Chelsea Physic Gardens Head of Education. We learned a lot about developing and delivering educational sessions in a heritage site but the absolute highlight was the Rococo chocolate tasting at the end!

By the way: did you know that Sir Hans Sloane, primary benefactor of the Gardens, was first to bring the hot chocolate recipe to the UK from Jamaica?

Photo 3

Film Award

Finally, we were gladly surprised to have received an award for one of the short films part of this part of this project!

Hammersmith United Charities organised a community film festival on 22 September at the Lyric theatre’s new cinema. 25 films ranging from 2 to 20 minutes were presented reflecting the energy and diversity of Hammersmith’s community and its voluntary sector. We received the ‘Best reflection of Hammersmith the place’ award for our film about The Thames Path in Hammersmith made in partnership with St Peters Primary. Below you can see our treasurer Mary Lou proudly receiving the award. You can watch the film here: https://youtu.be/PO0h1ubJIdo

mary lou receiving film award

We’ll be busy in the next couple of months putting together all the information we’ve been collecting during the project and producing a long film, map guide and interactive website.

Tales of The Thames Path Project – Blog part 3: Into Chelsea

Langford and Ashburnham Primary Schools, Summer Walk

We had busy summer term working with Langford Primary and Ashburnham Community Schools and we also enjoyed leading a heritage walk with volunteers and members of the U3A (University of the Third Age) from Putney Bridge to Hammersmith.

fulham power station

Langford Primary School, situated in Sands End, had the opportunity to discover the local industrial heritage from Wandsworth Bridge to Lots Rd. We explored how the area has seen a massive transformation over the last 100 years and gone from being an industrial area with two big power stations, Fulham and Lots road, to now being an upmarket residential area with very exclusive places such as Chelsea Harbour.

Of Particular interest was the group’s visit to the Fulham Jetty and learning how it was used to unload coal into the Fulham Power Station but now it’s been used as a showroom for a riverside development.

IMG_0951The activity enjoyed mostly by the Yr 6 class was the kayaking trip facilitated by our friends from EPIC CIC (https://www.epiccic.org.uk/kayaking-london), the children learned how to kayak and revisited the Imperial Wharf area we’ve been learning about during the project to enjoy it from a different angle!

Ashburnham Community School Yr 4 group investigated how the Chelsea riverside around the World’s End estate has changed over the last couple of centuries. We took the children to the riverside and learned more about Cremorne Gardens, Chelsea Embankment and Wharf and the Battersea Bridge. For instance, did you know Cremorne Gardens was a very popular Pleasure Garden during the Victorian era? And that it was depicted by famous local artists such as Whistler and Greaves?

cremorne landscape2

ash brmptn


Ashburham also visited Brompton Cemetery, where Robert Stephenson from the Friends group (https://brompton-cemetery.org.uk/ )  guided the group around a number of important Victorian graves such as that of Robert Fortune (who first brought tea into the UK) who are buried there.


One of the highlights from the project waIMG_0785s the visit to Fulham Palace (https://www.fulhampalace.org) where the Yr 4 class gained an insight into children’s lives in Victorian times in full costume role-play!


Lastly, we organized a guided walk on 30th June, from Bishops Park to Hammersmith which was very well attended. We visited some of the places we’ve been exploring with lo local schools during the project: Fulham Palace, Putney Bridge, the Sir William Powell Almshouses, Fulham Football Club, the Crabtree Pub and also we had the chance to explore how the Hammersmith riverside has changed from Industrial to residential. After almost 3 hours of walking, participants were treated to a light lunch and a premiere of some the short films we’ve been producing with schools.


Next term, we will continue to investigate the fascinating history and tales along the Thames Path from Battersea to Chelsea Bridge, we’re particularly looking forward to visiting Chelsea Physic Gardens.


Tales of the Thames Path Project Blog 2 – The Journey Continues

Queens Manor and Sulivan Primary Schools, Winter Walk and Riverside Family Fun Day.

During the winter term (Jan-March 2016), we have been busy working with two further schools, organised two guided walks and a Riverside Family Fun day, the later as part of the Find Your London festival.

Queens Manor and Sulivan Primary Schools had the opportunity to explore interesting places and tales along the Thames Path. Queens Manor looked at the industrial and Victorian heritage in the area between Hammersmith Bridge and Fulham FC while Sulivan had the chance to learn how the area surrounding Broomhouse Lane has changed over the last 200 years.

IMG_0450Queens Manor Primary learned some interesting stories surrounding the Hammersmith Bridge, such as the time (December 1919) when Lieutenant Charles Campbell Wood was passing and upon hearing a woman’s cries for help he dived into the river to rescue her.  He saved the woman’s life, but died two weeks after the rescue…

Queens Manor’s Yr 5 children also had the chance to go on a trail and learn about the industries that were based on the riverbank, from BBC studios to sugar factories and the many wharves that were in the area. Most of these wharves have now gone, we even saw one, Palace Wharf, being demolished! We also saw one of the few remaining ones now hosts the famous River Café and offices.

Finally, the children had the chance to visit Craven Cottage, home to Fulham FC, the oldest football club in London and interview their Media Relations Manager Carmelo Mifsud.



Sulivan Primary School explored the area around Broomhouse Lane and discovered that their school is named after Charlotte Sulivan whose Family used to live in Broom House. Charlotte Sulivan was a local benefactress who did a lot for the people of Fulham.


For instance, did you know that the building that stands in the corner of Daisy Lane and Broomhouse lane was a ragged school built by the Sulivans? It was called the Elizabethean school in honour of Charlotte’s mother.



Children from Sulivan School also had the unique opportunity to visit to the Hurlingham Club for a tour and see where the Sulivan’s Broom House used to be and walk along the Thames on the last remaining natural riverside (not embanked) in Central London. They also managed to interview their archivist to find out more about Charlotte Sulivan and her influence on Fulham.


We held a successful Riverside Family Fun Day on the 20th March at the Fulham Jetty with River inspired local history, nature and craft activities as part of the Find Your London Festival.



Families came from all over London and had the chance to: look at the River Art exhibition with works produced by children from local schools (as part of the Tales of the Thames Project), participate in a treasure hunt around the Imperial Park and do some bird watching with help from Kevin (one of our amazing volunteers!).



We also led two guided walks along the Thames Path. Our first walk, at the beginning of the year, was from Hammersmith Bridge to Hammersmith Terrace. We had a great turnout despite the wet weather and attendants were rewarded with a comforting hot soup back at our centre while watching the short films we’ve produced as part of the project. walkOur other walk was from Bishops Park to Fulham Wharf Jetty. We had the chance to share some of the secret stories along the Thames Path that we’ve learned through working with local schools such as Bishops Park, Fulham Palace, All Saints Church, Eight Bells Pub, Broomhouse Dock and the Kop Brewery. Participants were impressed by how much history  there is along the Thames Riverside!

First Blog – Dec 2015

Welcome to the H & F Urban Studies Centre: Tales of Thames Path Project First Blog!

In this exciting new project we will look at the Thames Path, between Hammersmith and Chelsea, to discover the fascinating stories of people and places of the past. The Thames Path will be 20 years old in 2016 and to celebrate we will work in collaboration with 8 local schools exploring some well known Victorians who have a strong connection to the local riverside and who through their vision and hard work left a legacy of great value.
Through the discoveries of local children, we aim to capture the heritage of the Thames Path in our local area and share it more widely by producing a guide and short film and we’ll also organise events for local groups and families. Our first event is a walk is on January 7th along the Hammersmith Thames Path, see below for further details.

The story so far: All Saints and St Peter’s Primary Schools.

The ‘Tales of the Thames’ project is now well under way and we have already worked with two local Primary Schools.
as1Pupils from All Saints C of E Primary School in Fulham have been learning about their local area. In particular how Bishops’ Park was created thanks to Bishops of London that lived at Fulham Palace and how the area how changed over the years.

as2We enjoyed some archaeology with the Thames Explorer Trust in the Thames foreshore by Putney Bridge. We found many objects including some Tudor and Victorian pottery!


For Fulham Palace and Bishops Park further info and opening times please visit:
Bishops Park H&F page

sp1St Peter’s CE Primary School in Hammersmith had the chance focus on the contrast between William Morris and his Arts & Crafts movement against the backdrop of Victorian Industries in Hammersmith. Pupils learned how factories, boat builders, malt houses and engineering works were a familiar site, and made west London’s riverside a bustling, crowded and industrious place.They also explore the lives of notable riverside residents, such as T. J. Cobden-Sanderson (founder of the Dove Bindery and press), William Morris (designer, writer and political activist), Eric Ravilious (artist) and William Tierney Clark (engineer).

sp2Pupils from St. Peter’s  found fascinating to hear about the Black Lion Pub ghost story, the 1928 Hammersmith flooding and had the chance to visit the William Morris Society at 26 Upper Mall. While visiting the Society children created their own William Morris inspired artwork and explored Victorian life while handling old objects.

Please visit https://www.williammorrissociety.org/ for more details.

What’s next & how to get involved

Next term (winter 2016) we will be working with Queens Manor Yr 5 class learning more about riverside has changed over the years. From the industries lasted right up to the 1960s to how current redevelopments along the Thames Path are changing the nature of the area. We are aiming to help children rediscover the fascinating heritage of this place. We hope that by the end of term all children will be able to spell Bazalgette! (Sir Joseph Bazalgette was a 19th-century English civil engineer, chief engineer of London’s sewer network and designed current Hammersmith Bridge).

January 7th Hammersmith Heritage Walk

Hammer bridgeJoin us on the 7th January, 10.30 am for a friendly, sociable and exploratory walk along the Thames Path. We will walk from Hammersmith Bridge to Hammersmith Terrace looking at interesting stories and the people behind them along the way. This 2 hour walk will be followed by a light lunch at our (warm) classroom and a brief talk about the Tales of the Thames Project volunteering opportunities. Meet under Hammersmith Bridge. Booking necessary: phone 0208 74138 or email carlos@hfusc.org.uk

And finally…

A huge Thank You to the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the Tales of the Thames project and to All Saints and St Peters’ Primary Schools teachers, staff and pupils for their support and creative input into the project, it has been very enjoyable so far!

Until next blog 🙂