Ravenscourt Park

Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith & Fulham

A public park and its neighbouring residential locality, situated at the western end of Hammersmith

Ravenscourt Park - geograph-4237785-by-Peter-McDermott

From at least the 14th cen­tu­ry this was the manor of Pallingswick or Pad­denswick. In 1746 Sec­re­tary to the Admi­ral­ty Thomas Cor­bett bought the estate and rebuilt the manor house, nam­ing it Raven­scourt after the bird on his family’s coat of arms. Parts of the 80-acre estate were leased to ten­ant farm­ers after Corbett’s death.

George Scott, who lived at Raven­scourt from 1812 to 1859, pro­gres­sive­ly sold off chunks of his land for house­build­ing and insist­ed on high stan­dards of archi­tec­ture and con­struc­tion. He also improved the park­land and added flower gar­dens. Some of the new hous­es were soon demol­ished dur­ing the build­ing of the rail­way that cut across the south­ern end of the estate. The sta­tion opened in 1877, and was called Shaftes­bury Road for the first eleven years of its exis­tence.

In 1887 Scott’s heirs sold Raven­scourt and 32 acres of grounds to the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Board of Works, which con­vert­ed the gar­dens into a park. “To my mind this indeed is the most beau­ti­ful park in Lon­don,” wrote WH Hud­son in Birds in Lon­don in 1898.

Ravenscourt Park
Raven­scourt Park

Queen Charlotte’s hos­pi­tal (now merged with Chelsea hos­pi­tal and sit­u­at­ed in Worm­wood Scrubs) opened in a large Vic­to­ri­an house on the west side of the park in 1929. Two years lat­er the Roy­al Mason­ic hos­pi­tal replaced some neigh­bour­ing hous­es. Lat­er called Raven­scourt Park hos­pi­tal, it is present­ly pro­posed to become the Lon­don Inter­na­tion­al, described as ‘Lon­don’s first inde­pen­dent super spe­cial­i­ty hos­pi­tal’. How­ev­er, this project appears to have pro­ceed­ed more slow­ly than had been expect­ed.

The site of Queens Charlotte’s hos­pi­tal has been rede­vel­oped with hous­ing, a com­mu­ni­ty cen­tre, doc­tors’ surgery and shops. For­mer nurs­es’ accom­mo­da­tion at the Roy­al Mason­ic has been con­vert­ed to the flats of Ash­lar Court.

The man­sion called Raven­scourt served as a pub­lic library in its lat­er years but was destroyed in an air raid in 1941.

Raven­scourt Park was des­ig­nat­ed a con­ser­va­tion area in 1974 and plans to demol­ish old hous­es in Pad­denswick Road were aban­doned.

Half of Raven­scourt Park’s res­i­dents are sin­gle and a sim­i­lar num­ber are uni­ver­si­ty-edu­cat­ed. Among the area’s many eth­nic minori­ties the Pol­ish com­mu­ni­ty is the most vis­i­ble, with a cul­tur­al cen­tre on King Street and spe­cial­ist shops near­by.

The northern tip of Ravenscourt Park is still named on some maps as Starch Green. Earlier called Gagglegoose Green, it had a pond that was filled in c.1926. Starch Green acquired its name from the laundries that operated hereabouts in the 18th and 19th centuries. Another speciality of this micro-district was rabbit-breeding for the City meat markets.

Postal district: W6
Population: 10,785 (2011 census, showing no increase over 2001)
Station: District line (zone 2)
Further reading: Rosamund Vercoe, Ravenscourt, Fulham and Hammersmith Historical Society, 1991
* The picture of Ravenscourt Park, seen from the Premier Inn, at the top of this page is a slightly modified version of an original photograph, copyright Peter McDermott, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.