History and Origins

The origins of the name Shepherds Bush are obscure. The name may have originated from the use of the common land here as a resting point for shepherds on their way to Smithfield Market in the City of London. There appears to have been an ancient custom of pruning a hawthorne bush to provide a shelter for shepherds protecting them from the elements as they watched their flocks. Alternatively the neighbourhood may simply be named after a local landowner.In any event, in 1635 the area was recorded as "Sheppards Bush Green".

Evidence of human habitation can be traced back to the Iron Age. Shepherd's Bush enters the written record in the year 704 when it was bought by Waldhere, Bishop of London as a part of the "Fulanham" estate.However, the neighbourhood appears to have been of little note until the mid-seventeenth century, when a cottage on the Goldhawk road became the home of one Miles Sindercombe, a disgruntled Roundhead who in 1657 made several attempts to assassinate Oliver Cromwell. Sindercombe planned to ambush the Lord Protector using a specially built machine with muskets fixed to a frame. His plan failed, Sindercombe was sentenced to death, and his cottage was eventually demolished in the 1760s.

An Eighteenth century map by John Rocque shows Shepherd's Bush to be almost entirely rural, with a few scattered buildings around the Green, such as Shepherd's Bush House. The basic road layout is however broadly similar to that of today, with the "North High Way" (today the Uxbridge Road) stretching west of the Green, and Turvens Lane (Now Wood Lane) running to the north.