Riverside south of the river and west of the Tower. Riverside Mortlake
This post relates to sites south of the river only. The sites on the north bank are at Chiswick Dukes Meadow Sports
Post to the south Mortlake and east Sheen
Post to the east Barnes Bridge and Chiswick Dukes Meadow more sport
Post to the west Kew
Now part of Willams Lane
The alley marks the boundary of the original brewery site. It leads to a Drawdock now barricaded to prevent flooding.
Brewery Wharf. There are rails remaining from cranes used here.
The road was originally planned in the 1920s as a relief road from London to the South West. Construction began in 1928 and the road, with Chiswick and Twickenham Bridges, was opened in 1933.
Chiswick Bridge. The bridge replaced a ferry, which closed when it opened. It is a reinforced concrete deck arch bridge faced with Portland Stone. It was designed by architect Herbert Baker and County Engineer Alfred Dryland. It was opened in 1933 to relieve traffic congestion west of London and carries the A316 which was a new arterial road built in the early 1930s. under the same act as Twickenham Bridge as part of the Great Chertsey arterial road scheme agreed between Middlesex and Surrey County Councils, and designed to relieve pressure on Hammersmith Bridge and in Richmond. It was formally opened by the Duke of Windsor as Prince of Wales in 1933. It was built by the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company. When it opened the central span was the longest concrete span over the Thames.It remains a major transport route.
This farm was still extant in the 1930s. It is now the site of the crematorium
An old lane now running down to the river between the walls of brewery buildings. The Manor House once stood to the east of here,
Cedars. This large house lay to the west of the site of the Bishop’s Palace and dated from at least the 18th. It was gone by 1920 and the site had been taken into the brewery.
Bishop's Palace. This was the former Manor House. The Manor belonged to the Archbishops' of Canterbury from the 11th until 1536. The house was use by the Archbishops and nine of them died there. At the dissolution the manor was given to Thomas Cromwell who enlarged it, and it was later given to Catherine Parr and then to Thomas Cecil. The house then beamed disused after a grander house was built in Wimbledon in 1576 and it slowly decayed. Only ruins remained to be demolished early in the 18th. The land on which it stood was leased to a market gardener and subsequently by the brewery
Ferry. There seems to have been a ferry here although this is very unclear – as it also is slightly up river at Chiswick Bridge. On the riverbank by the Ship Inn is a drawdock and watermen’s stairs – which might indicate a ferry site - and indeed there appears to have been something “east side of the road leading to the river by the “Ship," in the 17th. The Panorama of the Thames shows a ‘hut’ here. “a refuge for ferrymen”. Further upstream Chiswick Bridge is said to have replaced a ferry – presumably this is in the enabling legislation - But Joan Tucker says in her book on Ferries that there was no ferry here.
Riding school. The 1893 OS shows a ‘Riding School’ on the riverside downstream of Ship Lane – the current site of the Maltings. This may account for the ornate gazebo shown in photographs on this corner up to the time the malting were built – or is this the ferryman’s hut.
Ship. The pub dates from the early 19th but there has been a pub here since the 16th then called Hunters Horn. In the 17th it was called the Blue Anchor. .
Maltings building. 8 storey building on the riverside built by Watney in 1903 and unused for Malting since 1954
Thames Cottage. This house with a sharply pitched roof was called Church House in 1608 when it and given to the parish by Thomas Whitfield. The rents were to be used to maintain the parish church. In the 18th it was the Star and Garter Pub.
Wall Post Box
Tudor Cottage. This was built in 1750 and called Tudor Lodge,
Thames Bank House this was built in the grounds of Leyden House in 1730. The gothic front was added in about 1815
The Old Stables
Leydon House. This dates to the 15th but the facade is 18th
Boat Race End. This stone, set into the setts, marks the spot where the University Boat race ends.
Cromwell House. James Wigan, of the Mortlake Brewery, demolished old Cromwell house and built a new Cromwell House on Thames Bank. This was a brick villa with fine Tudor style chimneys. It had 14 bedrooms, a nursery and school-room, servants’ quarters, vast cellars, a billiard room and several offices and other minor rooms. James Wigan moved there in 1858. After their deaths the house became derelict but a caretaker lived in part of the property for some 20 years. In 1940 the Local Defence Volunteers built a hut in the gardens. It was demolished in 1947 when the land was bought by Watneys. The brewery developed the site apart from the area of the actual house.
Cromwell House. The brewery eventually built a third Cromwell House on this site. Employees of the brewery lived in a modern terrace of houses which was demolished in 1990. This final piece of land near to the river was sold and the present Parliament Mews was built in 1992
Parliament Mews. These are on the site of the second and third Cromwell houses and the original high boundary walls of Cromwell House still exist today as the boundary wall of Parliament Mews
The path under the bridge now forms part of the Thames Path, the northernmost arch was used by the Tideway Scullers club for storage
Thames Street ran from the junction of today’s Mortlake High Street and Lower Richmond Road at Mortlake Green. It ran from there to the river but became subsumed into the brewery.
Mortlake Brewery. This was visually very prominent on the riverbank. It grew from this area to dominate the riverside and a considerable distance inland (partly covered by the square to the south). The first brewer here war said to be a John Morgan in 1487 who is Said to have connections with the Archbishops’ Palace and hoping to supply the new royal household at Sheen. He is not thought to have been a forerunner of two commdercial breweries recorded in 1765 on either side of Thames Street – one owned by James Weatherstone and the other by William Richmond. By 1780 Richmond’s brewery was in the ownership of John Prior while Weatherstone had a partner called Carteret John Halford. Weatherstone and Halford extended their brewery northwards to the river in 1807 and then in 1811 took over Prior’s brewery, merging them into one – which is said to have supplied the British army with India Pale Ale. Following deaths and takeovers by 1841 it was owned by Phillips and Wigan. In 1865 they bought all the properties along the river frontage, and shut the alleys and streets that ran through the brewery premises, including Thames Street and Brewhouse Lane. The brewery was then substantially rebuilt and eventually control of the brewery passed in 1877 solely to the Philips family. In 1889 the Phillips were taken over by Watney’s of the Stag brewery, Pimlico. At Mortlake they made pale ales and bitter beers, and for many years all the bitter for Watney’s London trade was brewed at Mortlake and taken down river by two barges, called Mollie and Ann. In 1898 Witney’s merged with Reid’s of Clerkenwell and Combe’s of Covent Garden, to become the largest brewing concern in London. Mortlake brewery was then rebuilt including an eight-storey maltings by the riverside in 1903 on the eastern corner of Ship Lane. In 1930 Watney’s bought a bulk beer pasteuriser from Germany, and began experimenting with pressurised keg beer. Two years later, in 1935, the company launched the Mortlake-brewed Watney’s Special bitter, stronger and more expensive than the “ordinary” bitter. In 1971 Watney’s began again too expand the Mortlake brewery but were taken over by Grand Metropolitan. By the 1980s, under Grand Met, Mortlake was a massive lager brewery producing Fosters and Holsten Export as well as Watney’s Special and Watney’s Pale Ale. The brewery was renamed 'Stag' to reflect the Pimlico brewery where Watney had started – by then closed. Mortlake was leased to Anheuser-Busch to make Budweiser. An announcement that the site was to close was made in 2009, and by 20135 the site had been sold to a Singapore based developer.
This part of the lane was previously Aynscombe Lane and before that Cromwell Lane
Cromwell House. Old Cromwell House was a brick mansion with land stretching from the Lower Richmond Road to the riverside path on what is now Thames Bank. It stood on a site now used by the brewery and facing onto what is now Williams Lane. It got its name from Thomas Cromwell who had local connections, not only through his birth in Putney but through a sister with links to the brewery trade., .In the late 17th it was the home of Edward Colston of the London Mercers' Company with strong links to Bristol. Colston created a fine garden and added the gazebo with views across the Thames. The houses subsequently passed to the Aynscombe family. In 1858 it was bought by James Wigan, of the Mortlake Brewery, who demolished it built a new Cromwell House on Thames Bank. The stone and ironwork gates still exist in Williams Lane although they have been moved from their original site some 40 meters to the west.
Gate Piers of the former Cromwell House. With a niche in the street fronts. The gate is 18th wrought iron and is shown on a painting of 1790 n front of Cromwell House. In 1961 Watney's moved them west as the entrance to the Sports Club Bowling Greens. They are now the entrance to flats.
Bowling Greens. Behind these gates are recently built flats but they were previously the site of two bowling greens. These were part of Watney's Sports & Social Club, which closed in 2000, leaving the greens derelict.
Barnes and Mortlake History Society. Web site
Brown. Barnes and Mortlake Past
History of the Parish of Mortlake. Web site
London Parks and Gardens Trust. Web site
Panorama of the Thames. Web site
SABRE Web site
Tucker. Ferries of the Lower Thames
Wikipedia. Chiswick Bridge. Web site
Zythophile. Web site