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Metropolitan Borough of Hammersmith

Hammersmith Town Hall, built 1938 by E Berry Webber

Hammersmith within London from 1900 to 1965
 • 1961 2,288 acres
 • Coordinates
 • 1841 13,453
 • 1961 110,333
 • Preceded by Chapelry in Fulham
 • Created 1834
 • Abolished 1965
 • Succeeded by London Borough of Hammersmith
Status Civil parish (1834–1965)
Metropolitan borough (1900–1965)
Government Hammersmith Vestry (1834–1855, 1886–1900)
Hammersmith Borough Council (1900–1965)
 • HQ Town Hall, King Street
 • Motto Spectemur Agendo (Let us be judged by our acts)
The Arms of The Metropolitan Borough of Hammersmith
Coat of arms

Hammersmith was a civil parish and metropolitan borough in London, England. It was formed as a civil parish in 1834 from the chapelry of Hammersmith that had existed in the ancient parish of Fulham, Middlesex since 1631. The parish was grouped with Fulham as the Fulham District from 1855 until 1886, when separate parish administration was restored. In 1889 it became part of the County of London and in 1900 it became a metropolitan borough. It included Hammersmith, Wormwood Scrubs, Old Oak Common and Shepherd's Bush. In 1965 it was abolished and became the northern part of the London Borough of Hammersmith, since 1979 renamed the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.


  • History 1
  • Coat of arms 2
  • Poor law 3
  • Population and area 4
  • Politics 5
    • Borough council 5.1
    • Parliament constituency 5.2
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7


Hammersmith was part of the ancient parish of Fulham, Middlesex which occupied broadly the same area as the current London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in Greater London.

A chapel of ease was built for Hammersmith in 1631 and the chapelry developed its own independent vestry. This was recognised in 1834 when the parish of Hammersmith was split from the parish of Fulham. In 1855 the two parishes were combined for civil purposes as the Fulham District, governed by the Fulham District Board of Works. This coincided with the parish becoming part of the area of responsibility of the Metropolitan Board of Works.

In 1886 the district was dissolved and the parish was governed by the Hammersmith Vestry. It was transferred from the County of Middlesex to the County of London in 1889. The parish became a metropolitan borough in 1900 and the Hammersmith Vestry became Hammersmith Borough Council.

In 1965 it was merged with the Metropolitan Borough of Fulham to form the London Borough of Hammersmith and was renamed Hammersmith and Fulham in 1979. The new London borough council retained Hammersmith's motto of Spectemur Agendo, although it was spelled out in English ("Let us be judged by our acts") in the new coat of arms for the first few years.

Coat of arms

Deputy Mayoress medal

The coat of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Hammersmith was granted in 1897. It was Per pale azure and gules on a chevron or between in chief two cross crosslets and in base a scallop argent, three horseshoes of the second. The cross crosslets come from the arms of Hammersmith Bridge. The crest was a castle tower surmounted by two hammers, a pun on the name Hammersmith.[1]

Poor law

With the introduction of the New Poor Law the parish became part of the Kensington Poor Law Union in 1837. From 1845, it was grouped with Fulham as the Fulham Poor Law Union.[2] In 1889 Hammersmith became a single parish for poor law purposes and this lasted until the boards of guardians were abolished in 1930.

Population and area

The borough covered 2,286 acres (9.3 km2). It included Hammersmith, Wormwood Scrubs, Old Oak Common and Shepherd's Bush.

The population in each census was:

Hammersmith Vestry 1801–1899
Year[3] 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
Population 5,600 7,393 8,809 10,222 13,453 17,760 24,519 42,691 71,939 97,239
Metropolitan Borough 1900–1961
Year[4] 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961
Population 112,239 121,521 130,295 135,523 [5] 119,367 110,333


A map showing the wards of Hammersmith Metropolitan Borough as they appeared in 1916.

Under the Metropolis Management Act 1855 any parish that exceeded 2,000 ratepayers was to be divided into wards; however the parishes of Fulham District Board of Works did not exceed this number so were not divided into wards.

In 1873 the population had increased enough for the parish of Hammersmith to be divided into three wards (electing vestrymen): North (24), Centre (27) and South (21).[6][7]

In 1894 as its population had increased the newly incorporated vestry was re-divided into six wards (electing vestrymen): No. 1 (12), No. 2 (18), No. 3 (15), No. 4 (15), No. 5 (6) and No. 6 (6).[8][9]

The metropolitan borough was divided into seven wards for elections: No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7.[10][11]

Borough council

Parliament constituency

For elections to Parliament, the borough was represented by one constituency:

In 1918 the borough's representation was increased to two seats:

In 1955 the borough's representation was reduced to one and a half seats, when part of it was merged with Fulham:


  1. ^ "Civic Heraldry - County of London". Civic Heraldry. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Statistical Abstract for London, 1901 (Vol. IV)
  4. ^ GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, Hammersmith MetB through time | Population Statistics | Total Population, A Vision of Britain through Time. Date accessed: 19th February 2015
  5. ^ The census was suspended for World War II
  6. ^ The London Gazette Issue: 23959. 18 March 1873. p. 1563. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  7. ^ The London Gazette Issue: 23987. 13 June 1873. p. 2838. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  8. ^ The London Gazette Issue: 26503. 13 April 1894. p. 2101. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  9. ^ The London Gazette Issue: 26526. 26 June 1894. pp. 3658–3659. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Post Office London County Suburbs Directory, 1919. 1919. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Ordnance Survey 'County Series 3rd Edition' Map of London (1912-14) at 1:2500 scale. Accessed at

Further reading

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