What’s in a name?…Shepherd’s Bush…

June 24, 2013

The derivation of the name of this west London suburb remains something of a mystery with several competing theories vying for attention.

One theory suggests that the area – centred on Shepherd’s Bush Green and largely rural up until at least the middle of the 19th century – was named for the shepherds that once tended their flocks there (perhaps even building a special shelter in a hawthorn bush somewhere on the green, hence the ‘bush’).

A second theory - deemed by Cyril M Harris, author of What’s In A Name? – as “more likely” – suggests it was named after the now long lost Mr Shepherd or Mr Sheppard (or similar spelling).

While the green gets a mention as far back as the early 1600s, the area – noted for its high concentration of Australians and New Zealanders – wasn’t developed in earnest until the late 19th century. It suffered heavy damage in World War II and, later, from road construction.

Shepherd’sBush was historically a base for many BBC offices including the now long closed Lime Grove Studios (The Hour, anyone?), originally the Gaumont Film Company. Other notable buildings in the area include The Bush Theatre, located in the former public library and the Queens Park Rangers Football Club’s home ground in Loftus Road. Just to the north of Shepherd’s Bush is White City where the 1908 Summer Olympics were held (for more on this, see our previous entry here).

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2 Responses to “What’s in a name?…Shepherd’s Bush…”


  1. Because Australians have long loved Shepherd’s Bush, I assumed the bush was an ironic reference to the wide open spaces in Australia called The Bush.

    But probably not :) We don’t have shepherds here.. We have rovers or cockies or bushmen.

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