What’s in a name?…Shepherd’s Bush…

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).

LondonLife – Marking Wimbledon that was…

Wimbledon kicked off this week, so it’s only fitting that we mention the recent unveiling of a plaque commemorating the first ever Wimbledon Championships, held in 1877.

The plaque was unveiled last Monday on the former site of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club just off Worple Road in Wimbledon. As well as the first championships, it also commemorates use of the site for the 1908 Olympics tennis event.

The location of the former club, which it occupied until 1922, is now used as playing field by Wimbledon High School. The club is now based in Church Road opposite Wimbledon Park.

For more on the history of Wimbledon, see our entry from last year’s event here. For more on this year’s event, see www.wimbledon.com.

PICTURES: Top – The Championships being played at the former location in Worple Road (© Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum); and, at the plaque’s unveiling featuring the chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Philip Brook, Wimbledon High School headmistress, Heather Hanbury, and the Mayor of Merton, Cr David Williams  (© AELTC/Thomas Lovelock).