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Most of London was built using bricks made from the earth and clay directly beneath our feet.  A Land Utilisation map of 1800 shows that, as London was expanding, a ring of brickfields sprung up in all the surrounding suburbs. Wherever the ground was suitable, builders and developers dug the clay on their sites and made it into bricks to build the houses in their immediate area, as transporting bricks was expensive.  Acton was a particular cluster, with brickfields in various parts of the borough, and stretching all the way into Notting Dale beyond Shepherd's Bush. 

BrickfieldViewNotesIn Stamford Brook the local brickmaker was Thomas Hussey and most bricks for the houses came from what was known as the ‘Acton brickfields’.  These were controlled by local landowners, such as the Church and the Goldsmiths Company. The parts that Thomas Hussey controlled were centred on 50 acres of meadowland, underneath what is now Stamford Brook and the streets around Wendell Park. These were leased to Hussey in 1876 by the Church who owned most of land in the area (hence local street names with a church connection such as 'Prebend' Gardens).  Commonly, a field would be excavated to expose the brickearth or London clay subsoil, which was then turned into bricks on the site by moulding and firing them in brick kilns.

The Edwardian 'villa' houses of Stamford Brook tend to have two colours of main brick: 'reds' and 'yellows' made from two different kinds of material dug out of the sames holes in the Acton Brickfields. Brickearth, which is a sort of 'loess' or river sediment, tended to be found in the first metre down and made the bright red bricks used on the front. The deeper clay and chalk laid down in the Thames Estuary made the yellow-grey London stock bricks used for the backs and sides of the houses.

 

BrickmakingPhotos

However, for the ornate red brickwork and decorative features that appear on many facades and chimneys, the developers of Stamford Brook and Bedford Park developers had to turn to Suffolk brickmakers, whose heritage of decorative brickmaking goes back to Tudor times and was linked to the Flemish brick skills imported across the North Sea. Other, more specialist, bricks such as engineering 'blues' were brought into London by canal from other parts of the country.  They arrived in the Thames by barge at the Grand Union Canal junction at Brentford and were brought up to Chiswick by boat.

Hussey sold bricks to Jonathan Carr for his developments at Bedford Park and used the profits to fund the development of his own houses around the north side of Stamford Brook Common.   Brickmaking was a smelly and anti-social business. The brickies were know for their drunkenness and gambling and the brickfields were a lawless expanse that even the local police were wary of entering. Writing in 1859, Mary Bayley commented: "The brick-makers themselves were said to be notorious types known for riotous living."

240px Walmer rd kilnGrowing complaints from the new residents of Stamford Brook resulted in a High Court case in 1890, successfully forcing Hussey to cease brick making.  He ultimately completed only four houses around Stamford Brook Common: numbers 32-38. After the brickfields were closed, local builders and developers were encouraged to dump their building rubbish in the pits to fill in the large holes that covered the area. This explains why, when digging deep in most gardens in Stamford Brook, householders turn up old glazed bricks, pottery and rubble. If you would like to see an example of a brick kiln, the last surving one near Stamford Brook is in Walmer Road (near 'Pottery Lane') in Notting Hill Gate, illustrated in the photo on the left.

St. Peter's Residents' Association was established in 1977 as an Association open for membership by all residents living in the area bordered to the north by King Street, to the East by Beavor Lane, to the South by the Great West Road and to the West by British Grove.

This area is broadly consistent with the area covered by the St. Peter's Conservation Area, which was the first to be so designated by Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council in 1971 and extended to the present area in 1989.

The Association has as its governing objectives the maintenance of the quality of life in the area, seeking to foster community relations, prevent undesirable changes to the neighbourhood and encourage improvements. It seeks to represent the interests of residents in various ways including welcoming new members, supporting events in the area, commenting on planning issues and both taking part in consultations with and making representations to the Council.

The Association also has links with other organisations having an involvement in the area, including Neighbourhood Watch, the local police "Safer Neighbourhood Team", St. Peter's Church and School as well as other residents' associations or groups in the Borough.

Overall the Association seeks to use the skills and experience of its members to maintain and enhance those aspects of the area which make it such an attractive location in which to live, for the enjoyment of all.

History

So far as known, there is no archaeological record for the conservation area. During the medieval period the vast majority of land in the Borough was open fields, common land and woodland which survived until the 19th Century.

By the mid 18th Century, the conservation area was still in open fields apart from several detached buildings fronting King Street north of St Peter's Square. This land use was first recorded on John Rocque's map in 1741-45 where a number of footways, bridleways and field boundaries can be observed. These ultimately became the parallel street pattern (and some property boundaries) we can see today in the conservation area, e.g. Beavor Lane, St Peter's Road, Black Lion Lane and British Grove.

St Peter's Square and the surrounding areas form part of a continuous residential development first laid out in the early to mid 19th Century, stretching from King Street down to the River Thames. The construction of the Great West Road in the late 1950s severed links between the conservation area and both the River Thames and Mall conservation area.

During the 20th Century there was residential infill, one of the most recent completing the built form around St Peter's Square with residential development on the Commodore Cinema Site. However, generally the historic fabric of the conservation area has remained in tact with new development respecting the plan, form and scale of the area.

The character of St Peter's Square conservation area is derived mainly from the variety in form of the original 19th Century residential development centred on St Peter's Square, Black Lion Lane and St. Peter's Grove. This has been left virtually in tact.

The predominant land use within the main body of the conservation area is residential development. Commercial uses are concentrated on the King Street frontage, including shops, offices, cafes and restaurants and a car showroom. There is also a primary school (over three sites), a Church and two Public Houses within the main body of the area which provide local nodes of activity.

One can contrast this with businesses formerly incorporated in the local area, which have diminished over the years as a result of a combination of increased competition and modern living.

However, the area has maintained the charm and appeal for many of its' residents that it has had for so many years.

If you would like additional historical information on the area then please contact SPRA via the details shown on the ‘Contact Us’ page of this site.

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