River Ramble

Fulham Palace gardens from Putney Bridge, January 2018.

This week I filled a lacuna in my tramps along the Thames. Hitherto I’d never walked between Hammersmith Bridge and Putney Bridge on the South bank.

The first landmark is the old Harrods furniture repository which is now flats called “Harrods Village”. It is miles from any public transport and looks like a posh penitentiary. Keep toddling and along comes the London Wetland Centre. There’s nothing to see from the riverside path but there is an entrance off the river if you fancy some twitching. I did spot plenty of birds but basically they fell into two categories: black (crows) and white (gulls). I like this sculpture.

London Wetland Centre, January 2018.

Press on and meet Steve Fairbairn. Although nominally I was a Wet Bob I’d not heard of this famous rowing coach. He was born at Toorak and educated at Wesley College, both in Melbourne, then Geelong Grammar. Finally he read Law at Jesus College, Cambridge where Wiki takes up the story:

Steve Fairbairn (25 August 1862 – 16 May 1938) was a rower and an influential rowing coach at Jesus College Boat Club, Cambridge University, Thames Rowing Club and London Rowing Club in the early decades of the 20th century, and founded the prestigious Head of the River Race in 1925.

Fairbairn memorial, January 2018.
Fairbairn memorial, January 2018.

Appropriately his memorial is affixed to the Mile Post, marking the first mile of the Oxford and Cambridge boat race. There is a similar post marking the start of the race at Putney Bridge but it eluded me. Now Putney Bridge is in view. On the right a waterway controlled by sluice gates debouches into the Thames. This is the well-known (not) Beverley Brook. There is a walk roughly following its course starting at New Malden and going through Wimbledon Common, Richmond Park and Barnes Common – it’s 6 1/2 miles.

Putney, January 2018.

The walk back to Hammersmith starts promisingly through the gardens of Fulham Palace and Bishops Park but then Fulham FC stadium blocks access to the riverside and the rest of the walk is between the river and blocks of flats. One feature is the River Cafe, another personal lacuna; one that is unlikely to be filled.


5 thoughts on “River Ramble”

  1. Christopher, your blog brought back great memories of rowing of Tideway and competing in the Head of the River Race. It’s an amazing event, now organised by my good friend, Dr. Andy Ruddle.

    Seeing that (Jaguar?) coupe parked on the slipway, I was reminded that so many driver parked there at low tide, only to find their car swamped by the incoming tide!

    Whenever you decide to walk that route again, I recommend a stop at The Dukes Head in Putney – great food, great beers!

  2. Loving the Jag Christopher- have you finally succumbed to that most noble acquisition of mid-life crises viz. the classic car?

  3. You might have been lucky enough to meet Mrs May en route as I think you will have passed the Wetland Centre where yesterday she launched her 25 year Environmental strategy. You may also have noticed a rather strange fenced enclosure (for high class Boat Race spectators, presumably) in front of the former Harrods repository -where my grandmother stored possessions, at vast expense, for at least 50 years.

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