At the heart of Hammersmith for 400 years
If you had walked the streets of Hammersmith in the early 17th century, you would have been struck by the number of people living in terrible poverty. Hunger and homelessness were common, and working families often struggled to survive.
Moved to action, Dr Thomas Edwards, chancellor to the Bishop of London, gave £100 to buy lands for people living in poverty.
His donation in 1618 was at the forefront of a new movement of philanthropy. One by one, other concerned citizens stepped forward to alleviate the need they saw in front of them and to benefit the generations who would come after. They left bequests to buy land to build homes for the poor of our community and to provide “bread, beef and money” for those in need.
Today, Hammersmith looks very different. It’s a diverse, densely populated borough in one of the richest cities in the world.
But the need is remarkably similar.
Nearly a third of people live in poverty, we have the busiest foodbank in London and house prices and rents are far out of reach of most workers.
400 years later, thanks to the foresight and generosity of our founders, Hammersmith United Charities is still standing side by side with our community providing help to those who need it now and preparing the way for a better future for all.