Shepherd’s Bush Market is located on the east side of the railway viaduct for the Hammersmith and City Tube line, and is bordered on the north side by the Uxbridge Road, and on the south by the Goldhawk Road. The market sits on land owned by Transport for London and is the subject (at time of writing) of a regeneration plan by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
The market dates back to the early part of the twentieth century, when the present layout of the Hammersmith and City tube line was fixed. The market opened for business in around 1914, with shops lining the railway viaduct. Individual market vendors sell a wide variety of goods, including fresh produce, cooked food, music CDs, household goods and clothing. Individual vendors rent their stalls from Transport For London, who own the land on which the market sits.
With a wide variety of fresh produce, fabrics, household goods and furnishings the market has long stood as a one stop shop for the local community, gaining a reputation as one of the most diverse locations this side of London. Many traders in the market have passed their sites down for generations.
Before the market…
The area has a very long history – the Roman London to Silchester road followed the route of present day Goldhawk Road, immediately adjacent to and forming the southern boundary of the Market. This was the main route to the west of Britain.
Uxbridge Road, which partly forms the northern boundary of the site, may have origins in the early medieval period. The road in part replaced the old Roman road to the south as a route towards Oxford.
Hammersmith is mentioned in documentary sources dated to 1294, at which time it was a small village surrounded by scattered farms, located in the vicinity of Queen Caroline Street, close to Hammersmith Bridge, c 1.6km to the south of the site. Part of the settlement grew up along Hammersmith Creek, a small tributary of the Thames at the western end of Lower Mall c 1.4km south of the site and by the late 14th century the larger settlement had developed on King Street.
Shepherd’s Bush was a small settlement of a few scattered houses at the junction between Uxbridge Road and Shepherd’s Bush Green. The village at Shepherd’s Bush Common is first mentioned around 1635.
There was a ‘sub-Manor’ known as Wormholt Wood Farm thought to have been established before 1290, about 510 metres to the north-west of the site. The sub-Manor is shown on Rocque’s map of 1746, called Atley’s Farm. From this map it can be seen that the Uxbridge Road was certainly the most significant road west in this area. There is some evidence for small scale settlement along the edge of this road and the former Roman road, Goldhawk Road.
The rest of this area is depicted as being in open cultivated fields at this time. There were two skeletons discovered c 500m east of the Market site in 1827, which local legend says are the remains of two postboys hanged for highway robbery c 1757, although there is no confirmation of this.
By 1830, there has been much more development in the surrounding area. At this time there were two buildings apparently fronting onto what is now known as Goldhawk Road. Between these two buildings is a small clay pit, one of many noted in the area that represent the extensive quarrying for
brickearth, gravel and clay that went on in this area. Hammersmith remained part of the parish of Fulham until 1834, when it was separated out perhaps as a response to a rise in population.
The railway viaduct the very much defines the site was constructed in 1864. At this time Shepherd’s Bush Station was within the site and the road access that runs along the east edge of the viaduct, now Shepherd’s Bush Market, had been built. A terrace of houses on Goldhawk Road had been constructed in the south of the site, and there is one unidentified building behind ‘Lawn Villa’ which extends into the eastern edge of the site.
Shown by the Ordnance Survey 1896 map, there is no longer any ‘Lawn Villa’ in the central portion of the site where only open fields remain. The Shepherd’s Bush station remains within the site and the terrace of shops at 30-52 Goldhawk Road have been retained. Some of the houses have been enlarged since the earlier map, and there is evidence for some additional buildings in their back garden areas.
By the Ordnance Survey 1916 map, the site looks much as it does today, and is now defined to the east by Pennard Road. The railway station has been moved, with a station now north of the site (Shepherd’s Bush Station) and one south of the site (Goldhawk Road Station). It was at this time that the railway arches were used for the market and that Shepherd’s Bush Market began, and there is some evidence on this map that some small scale market buildings were constructed to the east of the viaduct.
In the wider landscape Pennard Mansions (c 1900) on the south-east border of the site had been built by then, as has Goldhawk House (c 1888-1903). The Empire had been built on Shepherd’s Bush Common(c 1903) c 85m east of the Market, and the Hammersmith School of Building and Arts
and Crafts has been built c 85m to the west of the site (c 1913).
According to the London County Council (LCC) Bomb Damage maps of 1939-45, the area around Shepherd’s Bush was subject to many bombings. The Laundry had moved into new premises a little north into the central area, and is marked as having been “Seriously damaged” by a bomb blast. It is thought this bomb blast may have created a crater within the site that has been identified by geotechnical investigations (Campbell Reith 2009, RPS 2004).
There is no great change by the Ordnance Survey 1:1250 scale map of 1967 except the footprint of the Laundry building (Spring Grove Laundry) has continued to expand. In the north portion of the site the Passmore Edwards Library has been extended southwards and now backs on to one of the Pennard Road terraced houses.
The electrical works in the centre of the site were still in existence up until 1991. This is the area in which the Broadway Day Centre was built in 2001.
The market is the subject of a regeneration plan by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. In September 2010 a revised planning and regeneration brief was issued. In February 2011 the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle reported that plans included 250 flats, and also rehousing the existing tenants, many of whom objected to the plans.
Sections of this text based on “SHEPHERDS BUSH MARKET – London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Historic environment assessment – May 2011”.