Heritage Trails
 

1. Church Gate to Palace Gate
2. Swan Bank to Golden Lion
3. Daisy Lane to Wandsworth Bridge
4. Stamford Bridge to Walham Green
5. Upper Mall to Hammersmith Terrace
6. Ravenscourt Park
7. Brook Green
8. Shepherds Bush Green


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Trail 6
RAVENSCOURT PARK


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Ravenscourt Park was formerly part of the grounds of a large house called Ravenscourt. The origins of the Ravenscourt estate were in the medieval manor of Palingswick or Paddenswick (the spelling varies). The manor house was surrounded by a moat fed by the Stamford Brook and the present lake is a remnant of this.

The house was rebuilt in its final form in the 1740s when it was given the new name of Ravenscourt, probably derived from the raven in the coat of arms of the owner, Thomas Corbett. The last major private owner of the estate was George Scott who bought the property in 1812. He improved the gardens and encouraged the development of houses on the sides of the park although he retained strong control over their style and appearance. The London and South Western Railway took a strip of land at the southern end of the park to build the viaduct for the Kensington to Richmond line which opened in 1869. More land was taken when the line was widened in 1911.

In 1887, the Scott family sold the estate and the Metropolitan Board of Works (soon to become the London County Council) bought the house and 32 acres of surrounding land for use as a public park. This was opened on 19th May 1888. Later, additional land was purchased in order to enlarge the park and provide entrances from surrounding roads.

Ravenscourt House was leased to the Hammersmith Vestry, the local authority at the time, and opened in 1889 as the first public library in Hammersmith. From 1918 a small part of the building was used as a Tuberculosis Dispensary. The house was demolished after being badly damaged by incendiary bombs in 1941 and only the stable block now survives which has become the park’s café.

The park was transferred by the Greater London Council to the London Borough of Hammersmith in April 1971. It is now part of the conservation area of Ravenscourt and Starch Green.