Fulham Loses its Most Colourful Landmark

Gasworks Restaurant was legendary for famous clients - and terrible food!

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Sales brochure for The Gasworks

Luke Honey's memories on The Dabbler

 

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Fulham has lost its most colourful landmark, the former Gasworks Restaurant on the corner of Waterford Road and Michael Road.

In the 1970s and 80s the restaurant, within a green painted building stuffed with paintings and antiques, became legendary for its famous - and infamous - clients, which included everyone from gangsters to royalty. The food was also legendary - for all the wrong reasons!

In 2007, it was claimed that Princess Margaret used to have secret liaisons at The Gasworks with notorious Fulham gangster John Bindon.

In 2012, writing on a blog called The Dabbler Luke Honey recounted his memories of the restaurant:" A favourite after-work refuge was The Gasworks restaurant (a last gasp of the myth that was Swinging London), in that no man’s land between Chelsea and Fulham- a former haunt of Princess Margaret, the Rolling Stones and, if the internet is to be believed, Noel Gallagher.

" Where on earth do I begin? This was a London institution, where eccentricity became a creed. Outside, it looked a bit like a private house, with its green painted stucco, latticed windows of stained glass, garish window boxes, and niches filled with ponderous busts and Neo-Classical statues.

" The proprietors were- how can I put this politely?- different. Shells (Cheryl?) of Wagnerian proportion, fag in mouth and forthright opinion, ruled over her kitchen, offering a choice of rack of lamb (some lover-ly lamb, dearie?) or duck ‘all orange’.

" Jacks (her husband) was a thin, dapper man with a trimmed grey beard and silk stockings. Rumour had it that he had previously held some sort of vague career in the antiques business. He liked to join you for an after dinner cigar- this had more than a whiff of Reggie and Ronnie about it.

" The dining room was reminiscent of an Edward Gorey illustration or a Pinewood set from that early 70’s meisterwerk, The Legend of Hell House. Here was the perfect place to lie on a chaise longue, sip a gin and tonic and admire the Victorian bric-a brac: pornographic chess sets, oil paintings of dubious antiquity and provenance, heavy gilt frames, doubtful portraits in the manner of Greuze, and wall-mounted taxidermy; all set off by a long, polished mahogany dining table, high-back ‘Jacobethan’ chairs and a massive chandelier."

About the menu, Luke said: "Choice was not a word in The Gasworks’ vocabulary: champignons en croute (a nice bit of tinned mushroom poised daintily on a slice of toasted Sunblest) or avocado pear; rack (‘racked’ being the operative word) of lamb or assassinated duck; some sort of gateaux horror topped with UHT cream from a spray-on aerosol. "

However, after  returning three years and seeing the restaurant closed up, he concluded: " Sadly, it looks like Jacks and Shells are no longer plying their trade. I do hope they haven’t gone to the great gasworks in the sky, and are enjoying their retirement."

You can read his memories in full here.

Sadly, the owners had passed on and the restaurant remained empty for some years before being put up for sale as a potential development site for £2.5 million.

The new owners, Waterford Road Ltd, have applied to the council to transform the Gasworks along with its adjoining house into three two bedroom flats and the unique facade has already disappeared behind scaffolding.

You can read the planning application here.

As Luke Honey said: " That fast changing corner of SW6 won’t be the same without them. Even without the duck."

September 25, 2015