The Retreat, Hammersmith

Hammersmith is a district of London approximately five miles west of Charing Cross on the north bank of the River Thames. The Hammersmith Suspension Bridge, designed by William Tierney Clarke, was built across the Thames in 1827, and rebuilt in 1893.

The Retreat/ Kelmscott House

Kelmscott House, a gorgeous brick villa overlooking the Thames purchased by William Morris from the poet George Macdonald in the late 19th century.

MacDonald Plaque

George MacDonald, Poet and Novelist, lived here 1867-1877. It was then known as 'The Retreat,' and Ruskin was a frequent visitor.

Garden at Rear

It later became a meeting place for contemporary writers such as Yeats and George Bernard Shaw.

Garden at Rear

The literary tradition is kept up: when these photos were taken the current owner was playwright Christopher Hampton, best known for his screen adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons.

Garden at Rear

In 1816 Sir Francis Ronalds invented the first electric telegraph in this house, laying down 8 miles of cable in the garden.

First Floor View

Hammersmith Bridge built in the 1880s links the north and south banks of the Thames and has recently been fully restored.

River Thames

This is a good spot to watch the annual boat race between students from Oxford and Cambridge.

William Morris

William Morris, the artist, designer and printer, lived here 1878-96. He named the house after Kelmscott Manor, his country-home near Lechlade. In 1891 he established in Hammersmith the Kelmscott Press for the production of beautiful books, the finest of which is the superb 'Kelmscott Chaucer' of 1895.

William Morris Society

The coach house is now occupied by the William Morris Society.

Registered UK Charity 1024021