Fulham was formerly the seat of the diocese of "Fulham and Gibraltar", and Fulham Palace the former official home of the Bishop of London, (now a museum), the grounds of which are now divided between public allotments and an elegant botanical garden.
Having been through many transformations in its history, today it is a green London suburb within close reach of areas such as Chelsea and Kensington and this is reflected in the local house prices. It was included within Savills' 2007 list of "prime" London areas
Two Premiership football clubs, Fulham and Chelsea, are situated in Fulham. The former Lillie Bridge Grounds (which hosted the second FA Cup final and the first ever amateur boxing matches) was also in Fulham.
Fulham, or in its earliest form "Fullanham", is uncertainly stated to signify "the place" either "of fowls" or "of mud" (which probably had a lot to do with the fact that the River Thames would flood it periodically), or alternatively, "land in the crook of a river bend belonging to a man named Fulla". The manor is said to have been given to Bishop Erkenwald about the year 691 for himself and his successors in the see of London, and Holinshed relates that the Bishop of London was lodging in his manor place in 1141 when Geoffrey de Mandeville, riding out from the Tower of London, took him prisoner. At the Commonwealth the manor was temporarily out of the bishops' hands, being sold to Colonel Edmund Harvey. There is no record of the first erection of a parish church, but the first known rector was appointed in 1242, and a church probably existed a century before this. The earliest part of the church demolished in 1881, however, did not date farther back than the 15th century. In 879 Danish invaders, sailing up the Thames, wintered at Fulham and Hammersmith. Near the former wooden Putney Bridge, built in 1729 and replaced in 1886, the earl of Essex threw a bridge of boats across the river in 1642 in order to march his army in pursuit of Charles I, who thereupon fell back on Oxford. Margravine Road recalls the existence of Bradenburg House, a riverside mansion built by Sir Nicholas Crispe in the time of Charles I, used as the headquarters of General Fairfax in 1647 during the civil wars, and occupied in 1792 by the margrave of Brandenburg-Anspach and Bayreuth and his wife, and in 1820 by Caroline, consort of George IV.
Fulham remained a working class area for the first half of the twentieth century, but was subject to extensive restoration between the Second World War and the 1980s. Today, Fulham is one of the most expensive parts of London, and hence the United Kingdom; average actual sale price of all property (both houses and flats) sold in the SW6 area in September 2007 was £639,973
Fulham nestles in a loop of the Thames across the river from Barnes and Putney. It is on the Wimbledon branch of the District Line of the tube - Fulham's tube stations are Putney Bridge, Parsons Green and Fulham Broadway.
Fulham is currently a part of the Hammersmith and Fulham parliamentary seat, currently taken up by Conservative Greg Hands. However, from 2009 this constituency will be dissolved and the area will become a part of the new Chelsea and Fulham constituency.
Fulham has in the past been a politically significant part of the country, having been the scene of two major parliamentary by-elections in the 20th century. In 1933, the Fulham East by-election became known as the "peace by-election".
In 1986, Fulham experienced another by-election following the death of Conservative MP Martin Stevens. Labour's Nick Raynsford gained the constituency on a 10% swing - one of the first elections that heralded the slick, modern campaigning New Labour techniques that would become renowned. Posters announcing that "Nick Raynsford lives here" adorned thousands of windows in the constituency - a reference to the fact that Labour's candidate was a long-time local, while the Tory was resident outside of the constituency.
Fulham voters have, however, been leaning towards the Conservatives since the 1960s as the area underwent huge demographic change: the tightly-packed terraces which had housed working-class families employed in the heavy industry that dominated Fulham's riverside being rapidly replaced with young professionals who had a very different political outlook. Still, many working-class people have chosen to remain in the town.
In 1971, Fulham elected 28 Labour and two Conservative councillors; in 2002 the figures were 16 Conservative and 10 Labour. For the Hammersmith & Fulham borough as a whole, in 1971 two Conservative and 58 Labour councillors were elected. In 2006, the voters returned 33 Conservative and 13 Labour councillors. In the 2005 General Election, Conservative Greg Hands won the Parliamentary seat from Labour, polling 45.4% against Labour's 35.2%, a 7.3% swing.
There is a cinema complex as part of the Fulham Broadway Centre. Notable restaurant The River Café is in Fulham, alongside the headquarters of architect Richard Rogers and the London Oratory School. Fulham Town Hall built in 1888 in the classical renaissance is now used as a popular venue for concerts and dances, especially its Grand Hall.
The area is home to the Fulham Football Club stadium Craven Cottage and the Chelsea Football Club stadium Stamford Bridge and the various apartments and entertainment centres built into it. This includes Marco's, a restaurant owned and operated by chef Marco Pierre White.
Famously exclusive sports club, the Hurlingham Club, is also located within Fulham. With members having included British monarchs, the waiting list for membership currently averages over fifteen years
The area, like other comparable areas of London, is home to a number of pubs. The White Horse in Parsons Green is colloquially known by many as "The Sloaney Poney" , a reference to the "Sloane Rangers" who frequent it. Other traditional Fulham pubs include the Pear Tree in Margravine Road, the Wilton in Dawes Road, the Eight Bells in Fulham High Street, the Seven Stars and The Elm in North End Road. Other popular pubs include The Crabtree on Rainville Road, The Durrell in Fulham Road and The Mitre on Bishops Road.