The W11 enclave is predominantly the Edward Woods Estate which is worth a name check and some later new build properties.
Hammersmith also includes West Kensington, the North End ward deserves a mention for the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates now saved from demolition and the streets of stucco fronted Victorian terraces converted into flats.
The legacy of the Irish community is still visible in the Catholic churches, schools and convents around Hammersmith.
Hammersmith is a concise name for a constituency much of whose electorate is to be found in areas to the north of the town, long since of course subsumed into metropolitan London. 2010 marked a return for the constituency, which essentially didn't exist in recognisable form from 1997 until then, but its boundaries are now drawn further south than the pre-1997 seat, which was something of a misnomer (one of plenty of those, of course) since it did not include all of the Hammersmith community, unlike this one, which pretty much does. From Hammersmith, the constituency stretches northwards to take in all of Shepherds Bush, a fair-sized community in its own right, which can be said to include parts of East Acton including its eponymous Underground station. There is an enclave of W11, primarily the partly high-rise Edward Woods estate, which can only be accessed from the rest of the constituency by passing through the Kensington constituency, included for historic reasons because the borough boundary between the two boroughs has not been adjusted to take into account the reality on the ground. Also included is that part of West Kensington which lies within the boundary of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. The wards which make up this seat are an interesting mixture, and for some time Labour only had a minimal majority of the council seats here. This has now changed, and currently all Conservative councillors have been defeated and replaced by Labour ones.
Hammersmith has a name with an industrial derivation, and it has generally been regarded as a predominantly working-class area; but parts of it have been heavily gentrified in the last generation or more. This is particularly true of the area known as Brackenbury Village, which lies north-east of Ravenscourt Park tube station, and north-west of Hammersmith. This area is not so much up-and-coming as up-and-come, with an upmarket and distinctly villagey feel as its name implies. But in truth most of the owner-occupied streets of Hammersmith are much more middle-class than they were a generation ago. There are several long-established private schools here, although St Paul's School moved the other side of the river more than half a century ago. Only a few less prosperous owner-occupied enclaves remain; but the at times graceful 19th century townhouses and gentrified terraced cottages are regularly punctuated with council and other social housing estates, some of which like the Queen Caroline estate just south of central Hammersmith are of reasonable size. These estates prevented - just - the Conservatives from winning the Hammersmith Broadway ward, but not other wards within the W6 postal district, particularly Ravenscourt Park and Fulham Reach (actually in Hammersmith despite its name), which remained Conservative until respectively 2018 and 2014. These council estates include large and various ethnic minority communities. Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush have long-established Irish (not yet completely disappeared by any means) and Black Caribbean communities, and other ethnic minority groups are certainly to be found too. On the riverside, east of Hammersmith Bridge (which is attractive, but unstable and closed to motor traffic for the foreseeable future), can be found swanky new owner-occupied developments. These are not trivial in size and some have amenities such as swimming pools, and they are very expensive to buy. Many of the residents are eligible to vote and it comes as some surprise that the Conservatives' electoral fortunes in Fulham Reach do not appear to have been greatly helped by these new developments. Perhaps they have been compensated for by Labour gaining votes elsewhere in the ward. The inclusion of Charing Cross Hospital (which used to be actually in Charing Cross years ago, but long since moved to Hammersmith and confusingly retained its old name) means that there is a large public sector element to the electorate particularly in south Hammersmith, which has kept Labour in business in particular in Fulham Reach ward, but also in others. Hammersmith town centre still looks to many people's eyes a little bit scruffy, but even here there are pleasant pedestrianised areas springing up with increasingly upmarket food shops and restaurants. The Hammersmith community as a whole must have been very competitive for the Conservatives in 2010 in particular, but they have fallen away in subsequent elections, particularly sharply in 2017. Parts of the Hammersmith riverside the other side of the bridge are beautiful, historic and have always been wealthy even when Hammersmith was a more predominantly working-class area. Much of this territory is in Ravenscourt Park ward, which was the toughest nut for Labour to crack as it contains many other very fine residential areas such as St Peter's Square close to the borough boundary with Hounslow, but it too fell in the 2018 local elections, the first time Labour had won council seats in that part of the world for quite a number of years.
The West Kensington part of the constituency, too, is very mixed. It includes the West Kensington council estate, which was mostly doomed to destruction and replacement by expensive luxury flats until Labour put a stop to that by taking control of the council in 2014 - the previous Conservative administration aspired to reduce the borough's council housing stock by a great amount, and to persuade other boroughs, some a long way away, to take their former residents. But the West Kensington estate largely survived, and the ward in which it stands, North End, has gone from being Conservative to being split between the two parties to being entirely Labour-held. The other West Kensington ward, well actually partly West Kensington ward, the other side of the A4, is Avonmore (West Kensington) and Brook Green (Hammersmith). This ward contains some very luxurious flats, pretty 19th century townhouses and other developments, but also rather more of a council estate presence than is immediately obvious. It seemed to be fairly safe for the Tories for a time, but increasingly some of the fine family homes have been split up for relatively inexpensive rental, and the Conservative base has diminished. Labour split the ward with the Tories in 2014, and managed to win it outright in 2018. Many Imperial College students live around here, and some of them can vote, and probably mainly not for the Tories. If Labour can win in this mostly pleasant neighbourhood just south of Olympia, they have little to worry about in the rest of the constituency. A little of the West Kensington community can also be found in Addison ward, again an area dominated by multi-occupied Victorian housing but which does have small council estates too. Politically, it's not that dissimilar to Avonmore and Brook Green, though fractionally more Labour-inclined.
The constituency is completed by Shepherds Bush, and the afore-mentioned enclave of Notting Hill (W11) which is included. The western extremities of Shepherds Bush include some upmarket suburban streets (actually in Ravenscourt Park ward), but mostly the territory is a mixture of not-quite-so-gentrified 19th century townhouses, mostly divided into flats, and council estates, some of which are of considerable size and are very multi-ethnic indeed. Labour has at times had quite modest majorities in some of these wards, but now enjoys a very comfortable lead in the rather down-at-heel Askew ward, a rather larger one still in Shepherds Bush Green ward (which includes the Edward Woods enclave, a very heavily Labour area) and very large ones indeed in College Park and Old Oak (very large in area, not least because it includes most of Wormwood Scrubs, but not large in population) and even more so in Wormholt & White City, which includes the White City council estate close to the QPR football ground. The last-mentioned two wards have been crucial in helping Labour keep the seat in leaner times, but the local pendulum has swung, and now all wards return Labour majorities of varying size, ranging from small (Ravenscourt Park in particular) to very comfortable (Askew) to vote-weighing territory (Wormholt & White City). It is perhaps surprising that College Park and Old Oak isn't even safer for Labour, as it has very limited enclaves of housing which is not either council-built, hospital-tied or housing-association-built. Both ends of the constituency have a hospital; it's perhaps fair enough that, as Hammersmith has a hospital, Charing Cross, which is named after somewhere else altogether, there should be a Hammersmith Hospital which isn't really in Hammersmith. It's in the north of the Shepherds Bush community, close to East Acton station; again, once upon a time it was actually in Hammersmith itself. The College Park referred to in the ward name is actually in the NW10 postal district, which is officially Harlesden. This is not council-built territory but is a small collection of 19th century cottages and slightly larger houses mostly split up into flats. There is a large Black community here and this little enclave, hard by the borough boundaries with Brent and Kensington & Chelsea, is again heavily Labour in good times and bad for the party. In between College Park and Old Oak are Wormwood Scrubs and also a large area where there are very few houses, but is primarily commercial and industrial. Old Oak is set to acquire an inter-city station when HS2 is finally completed and is marked by a great deal of railway activity.
In 2010, it seemed likely that this reconstituted Hammersmith seat, containing some somewhat Conservative-inclined areas not included in its pre-1997 predecessor, would be very close between Labour and the Conservatives, as the latter were clearly enjoying a national swing in their favour. The Conservatives put up Shaun Bailey, 11 years later an unsuccessful Mayoral candidate, a British Caribbean former youth worker from a working-class background. They must have hoped that Bailey would help them achieve previously unobtainable Black Caribbean and African votes, but they were to be disappointed as these voters appeared to have turned out in fairly high numbers in favour of Labour's Andy Slaughter, resident in the constituency and once local council leader and who had represented Ealing Acton and Shepherds Bush in the previous parliament - so that he had a first-time incumbency factor in the north of the constituency, but was also well-known in the remainder. Slaughter's majority was rather more comfortable than the Tories hoped, as depending on the psephologist whose conclusions we choose to believe, Labour restricted the swing to either about 0.5% or 1.5%, well under the national average. Slaughter came close to doubling his lead in 2015, and then in 2017, clearly helped by a wholesale loss of Conservative pro-Remain voters, he almost trebled his already increased majority to the locally almost unprecentedly large figure of around 18,000. A small swing back to the Tories in 2019 still leaves this seat looking surprisingly safe for Labour; Slaughter must have expected to have to scrap for the seat over a long period, if he could hold it, but now appears to be in a position of unexpected comfort for as long as he chooses to remain. If the Conservatives can start to recapture the lost support of right-of-centre voters who opposed Brexit, they could take closer order, but for now this is a seat which promised much but delivered little for them.
Post by Robert Waller on Nov 21, 2021 21:22:59 GMT
Age 65+ 8.7% 628/650 Owner-occupied 30.7% 635/650 Private rented 32.0% 25/650 Social rented 34.3% 27/650 White 63.3% 596/650 Black 14.1% 29/650 Asian 10.3% 119/650 Managerial & professional 43.2% Routine & Semi-routine 15.2% Employed in information and communication 10.5% 11/650 Professional, scientific and technical activities 14.8% 16/650 No cars or vans in household 59.2% 12/650 Degree level 47.5% 17/650 No qualifications 13.6% 629/650 Students 12.0% 99/650
2019 General Election: Hammersmith
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Andy Slaughter 30,074 57.9 -6.0 Conservative Xingang Wang 12,227 23.5 -4.7 Liberal Democrats Jessie Venegas 6,947 13.4 +8.0 Green Alex Horn 1,744 3.4 +1.9 Brexit Party James Keyse 974 1.9 New