Shopping in Hampton Hill
A shopping centre which is still thriving
Until the Enclosure Act of 1811 the whole of Hampton Hill was common land; subsequently the land was parcelled up, leading to gradual development. At first almost the only street, and certainly the only shopping street, was High Street. The High Street remains, in essence, the only shopping street today.
A directory of 1839 listed 26 businesses of which about 17 could be considered to be shops. These included 3 boot and shoemakers, 3 grocers, 2 coal and corn merchants and 2 public houses: The Duke of Clarence and The Duke of Wellington. The Duke of Wellington, now converted to housing, and just outside Hampton Hill, opened before 1816. It was then in the occupation of Joseph Burton, who no doubt lent his name to the adjacent Burtonís Lane. The exact age of The Duke of Clarence is unknown, although it was probably there before 1830. The Post Office, also known as Makepeaceís (the printers) occupied the same building from 1835 until 1995 when it moved a few doors along the street.
As well as shops, the High Street contained many cottages and indeed some fine mansions. Many of the cottages later had their front gardens built over as shops and many of the larger properties were replaced by parades of shops. One of the largest changes was brought about by the coming of the trams. The trams, from Shepherds Bush and Hammersmith to Hampton Court arrived in 1903, passing along the High Street.
Initially much of the line along the street was single track with passing loops. From 1904 land was purchased to widen the road to create double tram tracks. Many properties had to be re-built further back on the same land. The 1832 Pantile Bridge, with the adjacent water splash for heavy traffic, at the southern end of High Street was also re-built in 1910.
The overall appearance of High Street, particularly at the southern end, is remarkably unchanged from a century ago. All the High Streetís five public houses remain, licensed from that time. The northern end of the High Street has been significantly re-built in recent years but would still be recognisable to someone from that time.