Chiswick as it was

Historic Print of William's Terrace in 1837 forms part of exhibition on Chiswick's Past

This print was acquired by the library in 1924. It shows a terrace of ten town houses, with white stucco neo-classical mouldings. They were designed by John Blore (1812-1882), engraved by J T Brittlebank.

It still stands at 1-21 Chiswick High Road though most of the front gardens have now been built over. It may take its name from William IV who died in the year in which it was designed. When it was put up in 1838, on a plot just inside the Chiswick Parish boundary, the terrace stood alone along the turnpike road from Hammersmith, surrounded by market gardens. It would have been very conspicuous. One double property served as a boarding school in its early days, for 22 boys aged 5 to 16.

John Blore lived all his life in Brompton, South Kensington, where he built many properties. He completed his architectural training aged 25 and built William's Terrace the following year. The print was probably intended to promote this speculative development. Blore's design increases the formal grandeur of the building by omitting the rooflines and chimneys. If this had been a commission, he would not have needed the printed copies of the design since his client would have had access to the original drawings.

The print is part of the "Chiswick Pictures" exhibition at Hogarth's House which will run till 26 October. Over 60 prints, paintings, drawings and watercolours, the oldest published around 1700 and the most recent from 1988, are now on show. The choice of title is deliberate, since all the pictures show parts of Chiswick, some are by Chiswick artists and all belong to the local authority and are usually stored at Chiswick Library. Apart from a small group which have been shown at Boston Manor House in Brentford since the mid 1990s, very few have been exhibited since they were acquired.

The exhibition was researched by members of the Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society, working at first from photocopies and photographs of the originals. The team included Libby Gilliver, Ruby Harvey, Lorna and Gary Leach, Diana Reeves and David Shavreen. They identified the locations in the images, looked at how the artists may have changed the landscape to suit their picture, and also investigated the artists themselves. The pictures selected are an extraordinary mixture but have been grouped by location so that the viewer can compare them and see the way the place has changed. The labels provide the key information found by the research team and offer connections between pictures wherever they can.

Admission to the House and the exhibition is free. The exhibition is accompanied by an information sheet of the same title, priced £2, which is on sale at the House and will soon also be on sale at Chiswick Library. All of the information obtained, of which only a fraction could be included in the exhibition, will be collected together to provide a history file for each image and deposited at the Local Studies Library for others to use in future.

September 9, 2003

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Chiswick Pictures - the exhibition

Historic Print of William's Terrace in 1837

Strand on the Green by Henry George Webb

Chiswick Pictures - Chiswick Riverside from Harrison's History of London