11 March 2019
Kew to Hammersmith : a 4.5 mile walk led by John Wray
Another sunny day, another walk! Twenty walkers met at Kew Gardens Station for the lastest of John’s curated walks around London. Many were familiar with Kew Gardens and the nearby National Archives, but fewer had probably not previouly explored the surrounding vicinity. This is indeed a prosperous area of West London, judging by the residential streets along which we walked to the first landmark, the curiously elongated church of St Anne’s (clearly the work of many hands) on Kew Green.
In the churchyard was a discretely placed health and safety notice, declaring that tombstones are dangerous. We crossed Kew Green, admiring more splendid houses along the way, before crossing traffic-laden Kew Bridge, and then headed east along the river to the former fishing village of Strand-on-the-Green. The tide was particularly low, and it was difficult to understand why so many of the riverfront properties had devised their own flood defences. Leaving the riverfront we made our way to Lord Burlington’s Grade I listed Chiswick House, the jewel-in-the-crown of English Palladian architecture.
This was the half-way point and fortified taking refreshment (still in the sun!) at the the Chiswick Gardens cafe we resumed our walk past the church at Old Chiswick and back to the river along Chiswick Mall, where we marvelled at a series of magnificent magnolias in full bloom. This area is full of literary and artistic associations, judging by the numerous blue heritage plaques to be seen. The walked ended at William Morris’s Kelmscott House – here the group divided. Some could not longer resist visiting one the many riverside public houses and dived into the The Dove, while the others made their way to Hammersmith for the journey home before the rush hour began in earnest.