Above: The elegant stable block remaining from the Ravenscourt estate.
The origins of Ravenscourt Park lie in the medieval manor and estate of Palingswick (or Paddenswick) Manor, located on the site and first recorded in the 12th century. The ancient name still exists today in the form of Paddenswick Road, which runs along the north east boundary of the park.
By the 13th century, the manor house was a mansion surrounded by a moat fed from the Stamford Brook. The lake in the centre of the park today is a remnant of that original moat. It has been ‘downgraded’ as the park’s duck pond.
In his declining years, King Edward III’s mistress Alice Perrers lived in the manor during the 14th century.
The manor house was rebuilt in 1650 and in 1747 it was sold to Thomas Corbett who named it Ravenscourt – probably derived from the raven in his coat of arms. The French word for a raven is ‘corbeau’ which was a pun on his name of Corbett.
In 1812 the Ravenscourt House and estate were bought by its final private owner, George Scott, a builder and philanthropist who developed nearby St Peter’s Square. Scott employed leading landscape designer Humphry Repton to lay out the gardens of the estate.
Scott also encouraged the building of houses along its edges. According to a park plan from 1830, there were 78 houses within the park and by 1845 this number had risen to 330. The house and gardens remained in the hands of the Scott family until 1884.
Above: The ornamental lake was once part of the ancient moat.
It became a public park in 1888. The first public library in Hammersmith opened in Ravenscourt House in 1889. From 1918 part of Ravenscourt House was used as a tuberculosis dispensary.
Sadly, Ravenscourt House was severely damaged by incendiary bombs in 1941, during the Second World War. The house was later demolished and only the stable block remains today – usually known as the Ravenscourt Park tea house – and it now houses the park’s café.
The extensive park is situated on the north side of King Street (towards the Chiswick end) and is well worth a visit. Ravenscourt Park underground station is just a short distance away.