Fulham is an area in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, in southwest London. It is an inner London district located 3.7 miles south-west of Charing Cross. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames, between Putney and Chelsea. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London. Fulham was formerly the seat of the diocese of "Fulham and Gibraltar", and Fulham Palace served as the former official home of the Bishop of London (now a museum), the grounds of which are now divided between public allotments and an elegant botanical garden.
Having been through many transformations in its history, Fulham is today a green London area within very close reach of many famously extravagant places such as Chelsea and Kensington; this is reflected in the high local house prices. It was included within Savills' 2007 list of "prime" London areas. Two football clubs, Fulham and Chelsea, are situated within Fulham, although Chelsea is located along the border with the adjacent borough of Chelsea. The former Lillie Bridge Grounds (which hosted the second FA Cup Final and the first ever amateur boxing matches) was also in Fulham.
Fulham, or in its earliest form "Fulanhamme", is uncertainly stated to signify "the place" either "of fowls" or "of mud" (which probably had to do with the fact that the River Thames would flood it periodically), or alternatively, "land in the crook of a river bend belonging to an Anglo Saxon chief named Fulla". The manor is said to have been given to Bishop Erkenwald about the year 691 for himself and his successors in the see of London, and Holinshed relates that the Bishop of London was lodging in his manor place in 1141 when Geoffrey de Mandeville, riding out from the Tower of London, took him prisoner. During the Commonwealth the manor was temporarily out of the bishops' hands, being sold to Colonel Edmund Harvey.
During recent years there has been a great revival of interest in Fulham's earliest history, due almost entirely to the efforts of the Fulham Archaeological Rescue Group. This has carried out a number of interesting digs, particularly in the vicinity of Fulham Palace, which show that approximately 5,000 years ago Neolithic people were living by the riverside and in other parts of the area. Excavations have also revealed Roman settlements during the third and fourth centuries AD.
There is no record of the first erection of a parish church, but the first known rector was appointed in 1242, and a church probably existed a century before this. The earliest part of the church demolished in 1881, however, did not date farther back than the 15th century.
In 879 Danish invaders, sailing up the Thames, wintered at Fulham and Hammersmith. Near the former wooden Fulham Bridge, built in 1729 and replaced in 1886 with Putney Bridge, the Earl of Essex threw a bridge of boats across the river in 1642 in order to march his army in pursuit of Charles I, who thereupon fell back on Oxford. Margravine Road recalls the existence of Brandenburg House, a riverside mansion built by Sir Nicholas Crispe in the time of Charles I, used as the headquarters of General Fairfax in 1647 during the civil wars, and occupied in 1792 by the margrave of Brandenburg-Anspach and Bayreuth and his wife, and in 1820 by Caroline, consort of George IV.
Fulham during the 18th century had a reputation of debauchery, becoming a sort of "Las Vegas retreat" for the wealthy of London, where there was much gambling and prostitution.
Fulham remained a working class area for the first half of the twentieth century, but was subject to extensive restoration between the Second World War and the 1980s. Today, Fulham is one of the most expensive parts of London, and therefore the UK; average actual sale price of all property (both houses and flats) sold in the SW6 area in September 2007 was £639,973.
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The latest edition (2008) of the Chambers Dictionary defines a fulham as 'a die loaded at the corner to ensure that certain numbers are thrown (also full'am or full'an). Prob the place name 'Fulham' in London.' The OEDdistinguishes between a high fulham which was loaded so as to ensure a cast of 4, 5, or 6; and a low fulham, so as to ensure a cast of 1, 2, or 3). It also cites Arthur Conan Doyle's usage in 1889 in Micah Clarke xxx. 316 "There is no loading of the dice, or throwing of fulhams.
Fulham is part of the Chelsea and Fulham parliamentary seat which is currently held by Conservative Greg Hands. Fulham was formerly a part of the Hammersmith and Fulham parliamentary constituency which was dissolved in 2010 to form the current seat, which is one of the most affluent in the United Kingdom.
Fulham has in the past been a politically significant part of the country, having been the scene of two major parliamentary by-elections in the 20th century. In 1933, the Fulham East by-election became known as the "peace by-election".
In 1986, Fulham experienced another by-election following the death of Conservative MP Martin Stevens. Labour's Nick Raynsford gained the constituency on a 10% swing — one of the first elections that heralded the slick, modern campaigning New Labour techniques that would become renowned. Posters announcing that "Nick Raynsford lives here" adorned thousands of windows in the constituency — a reference to the fact that Labour's candidate was a long-time local, while the Tory was resident outside of the constituency.
Fulham voters have, however, been leaning towards the Conservatives since the 1960s as the area underwent huge demographic change: the tightly-packed terraces which had housed working-class families employed in the heavy industry that dominated Fulham's riverside being rapidly replaced with young professionals.
In the 2005 General Election, Conservative Greg Hands won the Hammersmith and Fulham Parliamentary seat from Labour, polling 45.4% against Labour's 35.2%, a 7.3% swing.
In the 2010 General Election, Greg Hands stood and was elected for the newly formed safe Conservative Chelsea and Fulham (UK Parliament constituency). In the 2015 General Election Greg Hands was returned with an increased share of the vote, when for the first time for 18 years a Conservative government was elected outright.
Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council is currently controlled by Labour. At the 2014 local elections, Labour won 11 seats from the Conservatives, giving them 26 councillors and control of the council (said to be Prime Minister David Cameron's "favourite") for the first time since 2006.
Culture and Entertainment
There is a cinema complex as part of the Fulham Broadway Centre. Fulham Town Hall built in 1888 in the classical renaissance is now used as a popular venue for concerts and dances, especially its Grand Hall.
The area is home to the Fulham F.C. stadium Craven Cottage and the Chelsea F.C. stadium Stamford Bridge and the various flats and entertainment centres built into it. This includes Marco's, a restaurant owned and operated by chef Marco Pierre White. Stamford Bridge, however, is partially in the adjacent borough of Chelsea.
Famously exclusive sports club, the Hurlingham Club, is also located within Fulham. With members having included British monarchs, the waiting list for membership currently averages over fifteen years. There is a public swimming pool in Fulham which is attached to the Virgin Active gym complex on Lillie Road, which also hosts a number of tennis courts. Tennis can also be found on Eel Brook Common. Hurlingham Park's tennis courts are used as netball courts and tennis nets are taken down and so restricting access to the courts for tennis. Hurlingham Park hosts the annual Polo in the Park tournament, which has become a recent feature of the area. The Hurlingham Club is the historic home of polo in the United Kingdom. Rugby is played on Eel Brook Common and South Park.
The area, like other comparable areas of London, is home to a number of pubs and gastropubs. The White Horse in Parsons Green is colloquially known by many as the "Sloaney Pony", a reference to the "Sloane Rangers" who frequent it. Other popular pubs include the Durrell in Fulham Road, the Mitre on Bishops Road, the Duke on the Green and Aragon House both by Parsons Green.
The Harwood Arms, behind Fulham Broadway, is the only pub in London to receive a Michelin Star, this fresh entry to the Michelin Guide looks to take diners to a "rural haven in the middle of Fulham".
Fulham Broadway has undergone considerable pedestrianisation and is home to a number of cafes, bars and salons. The largest supermarket in Fulham, Waitrose, is located by Fulham Broadway.
Fulham has several parks and open spaces of which Bishop's Park, Fulham Palace Gardens, Hurlingham Park, South Park, Eel Brook Common and Parsons Green are the largest. Many of the residential roads in Fulham are tree-lined, in some cases by houses painted in pastel shades.
Fulham has appeared in a number of films, including The Omen and The L-Shaped Room. Fulham Broadway tube station was used in Sliding Doors.
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Fulham in Popular Music
Fulham has several references in song lyrics. Willesden Green by The Kinks opens with the line, 'Well I tried to settle down Fulham Broadway.' The album Passion Play by progressive rockband Jethro Tull contains, 'There was a rush along the Fulham Road/There was a hush in the Passion Play.' London's Brilliant Parade by Elvis Costello has the lyrics, 'From the gates of St. Mary's/There were horses in Olympia/And a trolley bus in Fulham Broadway.' What A Waste by Ian Dury and The Blockheads contains the lines 'I could be a writer with a growing reputation/I could be a ticket man at Fulham Broadway Station'. Kiss Me Deadly by Billy Idol's 1970s punk rock band Generation X paints a gritty picture of casual street violence in 1970s Fulham. The song contains the refrain, 'Having fun, in South West Six,' as well as the line 'Hustling down the Fulham Road/Doing deals with Mr Cool.' The song also makes reference to The Greyhound pub (now closed) on Fulham Palace Road and to the subway under Hammersmith Broadway. West London punk band The Lurkers titled their 1978 debut LP Fulham Fallout. Maladjusted by Morrissey (former singer of The Smiths) contains the lines, 'As the Fulham Road lights/Stretch and invite into the night/From a Stevenage overspill/We'd kill to live around SW6.' 'Stevenage overspill is a reference to Fulham F.C. crowds as the club's ground Craven Cottage is situated on Stevenage Road. Ejector Seat Reservation by alternative rock band Swervedriver has the line, 'And just don't tell me the Fulham score.' Reformed boy band Take That sang the line 'at Fulham Broadway Station, I see them every day' on their song Pretty Things. West London hip-hop artist Example released a comedy song, You Can't Rap with a chorus line, 'You can't rap, my friend/You're white and you're from Fulham/Please put down the mic/ There's no way you can fool them.
Fulham is home to several schools, including independent pre-preparatory and preparatory schools.
The corner of Lillie Road and Munster Road hosts a number of antique shops. New Kings Road is host to a number of interior shops and galleries, particularly as it merges with Kings Road, Chelsea and goes through Parsons Green.
Munstervillage has been coined as a name for the tree-lined roads, in which Victorian and Edwardian houses are situated, that run off Munster Road which is a large residential road off Fulham Road in the northern end of Parsons Green. Munster Road has since become home to a number of organic food shops, coffee bars and restaurants. Studio 106 Art Gallery holds regular exhibitions and workshops.
Fulham nestles in a loop of the Thames across the river from Barnes and Putney. It is on the Wimbledon branch of the District line of the tube — Fulham's tube stations are Putney Bridge, Parsons Green and Fulham Broadway.
The London Overground West London Line stops at Imperial Wharf in Fulham, Sands End. Until 1940 there was a Chelsea and Fulham railway station on this line, close to Stamford Bridge Stadium on Fulham Road, but this was closed following World War II bomb damage.
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Fulham's local newspaper is Get West London and they have a page dedicated to Fulham here
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