An unassuming terraced house sits patiently on a quiet cobbled street overlooking the Thames. On a bright day in early July ten students in Years 7 and 8 made their way to 7 Hammersmith Terrace not knowing what to expect.
The house used to be the home of Sir Emery Walker and has remained almost untouched since he lived there from 1903 - 1933. When he died his daughter remained in the house keeping it completely as it had been when her father was alive.
Emery Walker began the Doves Printing Press and was a key figure in the Arts and Crafts movement of the time. These factors brought him into contact with his famous neighbour, textile designer and social activist, William Morris. They formed a lasting friendship.
The students were invited to peek behind the curtains, the blue plaque and heavy front door of 7 Hammersmith Terrace to uncover the hidden stories linked to the house. Inside they discovered a hidden history, the small rooms packed with ornaments and curiosities, including a snippet of William Morris's hair. The carpets, wallpaper and shelves all have their own stories to tell of Emery Walker, his family and friends.
This creative writing project is part of a Lottery funded project called Arts & Crafts Hammersmith in which students will have the opportunity to unlock and interpret a part of local history through writing about the relationships, friendships, defining moments and conversations that took place inside the house and its surrounds.
Christine Hollywood, workshop facilitator said: What a wonderful opportunity to look at an influential local figure, his work and friendships and bring these into the present by writing with a different perspective about the house, its people, objects and stories. I was so impressed with the students' curiosity - their questions and note taking. I cant wait to start working with them on this project.
Uriela, 9L was fascinated with the possibilities of the house saying: “there is so much to look at! We learnt so much and can’t wait to start writing.
Students' work will be part of a pop up exhibition hosted at various locations in Hammersmith to celebrate an important and influential figure and his contributions to our local area.