Briefly: Shepherd’s Bush

Shepherd’s Bush is in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and in the arts; it is world famous. Receiving a mention in the end credits of Only Fools and Horses, plus being the home of BBC Television Centre. In the film Burning an Illusion (tw: domestic violence), you get a glimpse of one of the eras of Shepherd’s Bush Market, Goldhawk Road hosts many fabric shops, whose offerings have been used by countless productions, including Harry Potter. There is Bush Theatre, where the playwright Cush Jumbo launched Josephine and I. In terms of music there was Ginglik, a converted public toilet, and also Shepherd’s Bush Empire which has held so many varied concerts; from Serj Tankian, Childish Gambino, Miguel, to a lowkey, intimate Beyonce gig.

In this, the last of my ‘Briefly’ series, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the ongoing changes in the area. To get the gist of my writing here’s Brixton and Notting Hill.

Situated in the north of the borough, Shepherd’s Bush appears to have ducked and dodged attempts to be as ‘inviting’ as Hammersmith, Fulham and the neighbouring boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster. It should be noted that Westminster is not exactly a neighbour, however, a few years ago, local elections resulted in all three boroughs being Conservative led, which paved the way for the tri-borough initiative to club resources together, drive down costs; and in my opinion drag the whole of Hammersmith and Fulham into the rich kids’ club. Truly, even David Cameron says it is his favourite borough.

“So let us beautify the area”


If you were to look up every now and again, you might find something interesting. This lamp post happens to be right outside an estate agents, which is across the road from a building that was an English language school, sold for £5m earlier this year. Not to mention that Shepherd’s Bush Green, in front of this notice (to my back) was ‘renamed’ Shepherd’s Bush Common; as common’s go, I believe it is too small for that mantle and was merely part of the whole rebranding effort.

An artist’s impression


I do believe that developers sought locals and vendors in the area, holding local meetings, as they should, however, in the case of Cooke’s Pie & Mash, that doesn’t appear to be the case. It has been saved, for now.

 “Mek me have a likkle dasheen, cho-cho, yam and pumpkin please”


In my first briefly post, I shared with you the fact that Shepherd’s Bush Market and Brixton Market were the only two places in all of London that immigrants could go to get a taste of home in the 1950s and 1960s. I’ve also been informed that at one point, there was a record store that sold all manner of music from the Caribbean.

Over the past 18 months a considerable number of vendors have left as the plans for regeneration of the market pick up pace. Many surveys have also been conducted, one of which, I wanted to participate in, but was told that they were only keen to ask people who “visited the market infrequently, so they could get a balance of views” this survey, coincidentally enough, came the day after local elections handed the borough to Labour. I was also within earshot of another survey where someone was asked “do you think that the market is open too many days a week?” (not exactly verbatim, though that was the premise). I thought to myself “what kind of question was that?” then yesterday evening (16.12.14) I saw this:


That question now makes more sense.

Contributions: to improve the lives of others


There was once a time when the only cinema for residents in the north of the borough was either in Hammersmith or Park Royal, this has since changed (I will speak about this later).

Above, is the bus stop opposite what was the Janet Adegoke Leisure Centre. In earlier years, the building was an open air swimming pool, over time the roof was put on, it was further expanded to have a diving pool, a children’s pool and a lower ground level for gymnastics and martial arts.

Janet Adegoke was a mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham, being the first black woman in London to do so. Adegoke came from Nigeria when she was nineteen to study nursing. On her journey to mayoralty, efforts were made to not only provide better housing for residents but to improve relations between black and white and also connections with Africans throughout the borough, via Hammersmith African Link. Adegoke, unfortunately, was not able to serve a full term, she died of cancer aged 45 in 1987. The leisure centre was named after her and stood for well over a decade before being knocked down and turned into flats:


The future is now, maybe

Since the turn of the century/millennium, Shepherd’s Bush has been drastically transformed and the process isn’t even halfway completed yet. The area went from having no cinemas in reasonable walking distance, to two of the same franchise, in two different shopping centre’s, across the road from each other. Many have seen the great potential to make money in/from Shepherd’s Bush and just like Brixton and Notting Hill there has been and still is a Caribbean contingent. The Financial Times article ‘Gentrification at Last?’ from earlier this year gives a perfect insight into what the goal is.

Not all freeness is goodness

In April this year I came across an article in the Evening Standard which really irked me:


I didn’t know, until 2007, what people thought of Shepherd’s Bush. I was in Marseille on a French A Level trip and the river that runs through it makes the place seem like oil and water; the halves don’t appear to mix, we had to cross from the predominantly North African sector to get to the pristine pebbles beach. The head of department likened the former to Shepherd’s Bush.

As mentioned above, the borough is not fully homogenised, for some the development of Westfield London is the final catalyst to change that. I am of the belief that the shopping centre was aimed at the demographic that live and shop in Slone Square, Chelsea and Knightsbridge; I’m yet to be proven wrong. Another article in the Evening Standard shows this:


On December 10th 2014, protestors in London held a ‘Die In’ in solidarity with Eric Garner. The same pages that call the area “grimy” were not about to change their biased tack. Being an inconvenienced shopper was the most important angle to show.

On the upside


At least the rubbish now knows where it is going, instead of floating aimlessly; licking people in the face and getting caught in trees. Plus, if you take a drunken fall, you’ll know exactly where you are.

Thank you for reading

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