Friday, 23 July 2021

Sisters of Nazareth in Hammersmith

Sisters of Nazareth in Hammersmith
Few inhabitants of Shepherd's Bush likely know much about the Sisters of Nazareth in Hammersmith, a Roman Catholic Order founded in the mid-19th Century and still providing residential care to the elderly today.

I found myself knocking on the rather forbidding main entrance on Hammersmith Rd (see photo left) as I searched for the W6 Physio Centre, deftly hidden behind its walls, where I was to be treated for a dodgy knee. 

But, once inside, the residents could not have been friendlier, and I quickly found my way through the beautiful gardens to the physio centre at the back.

Museum and History
Sisters of Nazareth
Later, I dropped into the small museum which occupies the site of a former school, where orphans and poor children were educated until the late 20th Century. 

The Sisters of Nazareth are a reminder of how much of our local neighbourhood - especially hospitals and nursing homes - was built upon charitable giving, much of it religious in nature.  

19th Century Origins
Cardinal Vaughan's desk
The Sisters of Nazareth was founded in the mid-19th Century by French nuns, led by Victoire Larmenier, whose mission was to care for the elderly poor. 

The Sisters' arrival in England coincided with Catholic Emancipation, which allowed Catholics to practice their faith without restrictions.  

The Hammersmith site was the first of many charitable foundations founded by the nuns in the UK - at a time when state provision for the poor barely existed.  

Sisters of Nazareth Today
Buildings and Gardens

Today, the sisters' numbers are much depleted, and the nursing home, Nazareth House, is no longer run by the nuns.  But Nazareth House continues to offer residential care to the elderly, continuing the tradition of altruism and care for those who cannot take care of themselves. 

The museum is open to visitors, by appointment.  It is full of fascinating relics, including many fine paintings, and curiosities such as Cardinal Vaughan's personal desk.  If you would like to visit, contact the Sisters of Nazareth at

The Shepherd's Bush Blog offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. If you would like to contribute a story about our neighbourhood, email us at shepherdsbushblog(at)

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