Askew Road – ‘Once Upon a Time it was a Quiet Village Street’

The following article was written by Richard Wells and appeared in the local Gazette on 15th July 1971:

‘Askew Road…the busy, bustling shopping area which belongs neither to Hammersmith or Shepherd’s Bush, was once a quiet “village street” type shopping centre with a pond at the far end.

It is one of the few North/South roads in the Borough of Hammersmith. If one starts at Willesden, one can easily drive South and end up in the heart of Hammersmith, via Old Oak Road, Askew Road and Paddenswick Road.

Askew Road starts at the ‘Askew Arms’ pub by the junction with Uxbridge Road and ends at Starch Green – a name which is not used as often as it used to be.

At Starch Green, there used to be a pond where people could sit, according to records. The pond is now extinct and unless you have lived at Starch Green for a long time you would not know that there had been a pond there, or even that the area was called Starch Green.

Chris, the stage door manager at the BBC TV theatre has proved this: “I was travelling on a bus from Shepherd’s Bush to Starch Green,” he said. “It is a route which I have not travelled on since the trolleybuses.”

“I asked the conductor absent-mindedly for Starch Green pond. He gave me a funny look as if he had never heard of the area before. He told me that he didn’t know where the pond was and was adamant that there was no such place as Starch Green.”

Chris continued: “I came to my senses and laughed. I told the conductor that I meant Askew Road by ‘The Seven Stars.’”

The ‘Seven Stars’ – as it stands today – is not the original pub. The former pub was pulled down and a new one built. At the old pub, there was a pull-in for horses.

At the other end of Askew Road, the ‘Askew Arms’ pub still stands as it used to at the turn of the century. Cannon Ales used to be served until amalgamations brought the name, Ind Coope to the pub.

Going back even earlier, we find that the ‘Askew Arms’ used to be called ‘The Three Donkeys’. The licensee said that the name “Three Donkeys” is still on one of the doors in the pub.

Mrs Anette Goodwin, of Percy Road, remembers a very rough “fair” in Askew Road on the site of the present ‘Sun’ public house and the supermarket owned by Hawkins.

“There was a horse trough at the junction of Askew Road and Becklow Gardens,” said Mrs Goodwin. “The pond had water in it and seats around where one could sit.”

“Two of my favourite shops were ‘Shurmans’ and ‘Bates’. They have long since gone. Of course, there were horse drawn trams in my day. But they have all gone now and everything has been modernised.”

Trams gave way to trolleybuses – the quiet, clean non-polluting form of transport which used to carry more than 70 passengers. This, incidentally, is more than the large-size Routemaster’s on the 207 route can carry.

The trolleybus routes 666 and 660 used to run through Askew Road. Even this form of transport gave way to the Routemaster in 1962 and the 266 and 260 bus took over.

An interesting point about Starch Green is that in the 1720’s, rabbit breeding was flourishing. But it died out just under 100 years later.’

Steve Russell

(Thanks to Colin Woodley for sending me the article. The two postcards are from my collection)

2 thoughts on “Askew Road – ‘Once Upon a Time it was a Quiet Village Street’

  1. Like Young Kerrins I lived in Kelmscott Gardens on Askew Rd from 1949 until about 1970. Happy days

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