Shepherd’s Bush Road, W6

Place Name

The main road leading from Hammersmith to Shepherd’s Bush, which takes its name from the nearby common. The name goes back until at least 1635 when it was recorded as Sheppards Bush Green, it could refer either to a local family (spelt either Shepherd or Shepherd) or to shepherds generally, who would tend their flocks near here – and there is apparently a term shepherd’s bush which was literal, in that there was a bush from where shepherds could tend their flocks. Certainly the area was still rural into the 19thCentury. Caroline Taggart in The Book of London Place Names explains: “There was once a custom of pruning a hawthorn bush to form a platform that would shelter a shepherd from the elements while he watched said flocks. This was called a ‘Shepherd’s Bush’ and it would have been much more use to a shepherd than to our unknown Mr Sheppard… The weakness of this argument is that there seems to be no record of a specific shepherd bush in Shepherd’s Bush, given the details that often survive about hedges and trees as boundaries or landmarks, you would have thought there would be.”


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