Our Patch June 2016 - Page 16

Our Patch JUNE 2016 LOOKING BACK ST pETER'S SQUARE H A M M ERS M IT H 16/17 A new history book tells the story of St Peter’s Square and neighbourhood, charting the development, growth and change over two centuries in Hammersmith. The area’s queen bee and longest continuous resident, Jilly Paver, who was born in the square in 1947, has spent two years researching the district, amassing photographs, maps and anecdotes. The project actually started a quarter of a century ago, when she and her architect husband Brian staged a ‘then and now’ photographic show at St Peter’s church, the grand Grade ll* listed structure in Black Lion Lane which is the oldest church in Hammersmith. Some of the pictures she assembled back then formed the basis of a second exhibition, two summers ago, at the St Peter’s festival. “Everyone loved it, but there was a lot of text to read, so people came back several times to see it all,” said Jilly, who lived all her childhood on the edge of the square before she and Brian set up their original matrimonial home in Black Lion Lane. The exhibition prompted many visitors to suggest that the material would look good in book form, and that appetite has produced St Peter’s Estate: A History of St Peter’s Square and its Neighbourhood, published by Book Empire at £7.50. Illustrated with 60 black and white images of traffic-free streets littered only with horse droppings, the 100page volume’s initial 150 print run has all-but sold out, necessitating a second edition. The alumni of St Peter’s Square sums up the arty appeal of the conservation area down the years. “When I was a child it was all artists, sculptors, painters, designers and actors,” said Jilly. “It was a bohemian area that was known as west London’s Bloomsbury Set.” Bomb damage in Standish Road in September 1940; one of the powerful images in Jilly Paver's new book Past residents include Vanessa Redgrave, Alec Guinness, the painter and stai