The Old Ship, 25 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, London W6

For Bill Burnett’s latest excursion to West London, I suggested a meet-up in ‘The Old Ship’.

Situated very close to the river in Hammersmith, there are a limited number of outdoor tables. Once inside, I took note of the following:

‘The Old Ship, circa 1678 – originally the pub faced inwards away from the river. The 17th Century main entrance Grade 11 listed porch still exists centrally behind the main bar.

The pub as you see it now was re-built in 1850 with the new entrance directly off the riverbank.’

Originally called ‘The Ship’ in the 1722 Register, it later became known as ‘The Old Ship’ in order to distinquish it from another local pub with a similar name.

Upstairs is a private bar and a balcony.

The West London Observer reported in September 1893 that a Hammersmith Athletic FC Committee meeting was to be held at the pub.

And: ‘Gentlemen desirous of joining the above club can obtain all particulars from F. S. Waite, 80 Beryl Road, Hammersmith.’

The pub had been the headquarters of the Eyot Sailing Club, and the ‘Old Ship Slate Club’ had held their first annual dinner there in February 1904.

The arrangements for the dinner were superintended by T. H. King and the pub landlord, W.G. West.

Local residents, and historians, Jane Bain & Georgina Williams wrote for the ‘Panorama of the Thames’ website that:

‘According to the 1915 Survey of London, “very little seems to be known about this old riverside Inn beyond the information supplied by Thomas Faulkner in his 19th century ‘Histories and Antiquities of Hammersmith’, who says that it was an ancient building in the style of the time of Charles 1.’ 

‘However, records show that it is a very old inn, mentioned in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Fulham, with a porch dating to the early 17th century.’

‘It was saved from demolition in the building of the West Middlesex Water Works because it had an important landing stage on its river frontage.’

‘It remained sandwiched between the noise and pollution of heavy industry and the river for over a century. Until the sixties, there was no thoroughfare along the Thames and entry to the pub was from a passage, now at the rear, which ran through the site of Lord Napier Place to the remainder of the Upper Mall.’

The West Middlesex Waterworks Company was established in Hammersmith in 1806 to supply water to the areas of Paddington and Marylebone.

It closed the site in the mid-19th Century and new pumping works were established at Hampton.

Tragically on 20th March 1941, the licensee, Arthur Riddle, aged 55, was found shot in the boathouse at his premises and died two days later in Hammersmith Hospital.

The Evening Standard voted it their ‘Pub of the Year’ in 1978.

Steve Russell

(Thanks to Bill Burnett for the photo & also to Colin Woodley for sending me various newspaper articles)

2 thoughts on “The Old Ship, 25 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, London W6

  1. I started using the The Old Ship when I was 17 and together with a few pals (Bob Izzard being one) celebrated the League Cup Final success there. Many happy memories of the original Old Ship, some best not repeated !!.
    Back then it was an old style traditional pub with access through a lane at what is now the rear of the pub from an alley that bisected the old Bemax factory before it was demolished and replaced with riverside houses.
    Back then it was run by Arthur and Phyllis Watkins who retired in c.1970 and it was then taken over by Barry and Marge Roberts, it was their first pub after they trained at the Greyhound in Fulham Palace Road. They became good friends and they moved on the the Kings Head in Acton then the Red Rover in Barnes, both pubs no longer there. I lost touch with Barry and Marge in the early 1980’s and wonder where they are now.
    Some great memories of what was a proper pub until it became a poncy gastropub.

    I then moved down the river to the Dove, many happy memories of good times in that pub as well.
    Not forgetting the wonderful Thatched House when it was magbificently run ex-Fulham forward Bedford and Joyce Jezzard who was surely the best landlords that ever existed.

    It stayed as that until it was modernised in the late 1970’s into what it is now.

Comments are closed.