Book online
BOOK ONLINE

Richmond

A brief history on Richmond

Richmond is a suburban town in southwest London. The town is on a meander of the River Thames, with a large number of parks and open spaces, including Richmond Park, and many protected conservation areas, which include much of Richmond Hill. A specific Act of Parliament protects the scenic view of the River Thames from Richmond.

Richmond was founded following Henry VII's building of Richmond Palace in the 16th century, from which the town derives its name. (The Palace itself was named after Henry's earldom of Richmond, North Yorkshire.) During this era the town and palace were particularly associated with Elizabeth I, who spent her last days here. During the 18th century Richmond Bridge was completed and many Georgian terraces were built, particularly around Richmond Green and on Richmond Hill. These remain well preserved and many have listed building architectural or heritage status. The opening of the railway station in 1846 was a significant event in the absorption of the town into a rapidly expanding London.

Richmond was formerly part of the ancient parish of Kingston upon Thames in the county of Surrey. In 1890 the town became a municipal borough, which was later extended to include Kew, Ham, Petersham and part of Mortlake (North Sheen). The municipal borough was abolished in 1965 when, as a result of boundary changes, Richmond was transferred to Greater London.

Richmond is now part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, and has a population of 21,469 (consisting of North Richmond and South Richmond wards). It has a significant commercial and retail centre with a developed day and evening economy.

Richmond Riverside. The Thames is a major contributor to the interest that Richmond inspires in many people. It has an extensive frontage around Richmond Bridge, containing many bars and restaurants. The area owes much of its Georgian style to the architect Quinlan Terry who was commissioned to restore the area (1984–87). Within the river itself at this point are the leafy Corporation Island and the two small Flowerpot Islands. The Thames-side walkway provides access to residences, pubs and terraces, and various greens, lanes and footpaths through Richmond. The stretch of the Thames below Richmond Hill is known as Horse Reach, and includes Glover's Island. There are towpaths and tracks along both sides of the river, and they are much used by pedestrians, joggers and cyclists. Richmond is now serviced by the London River Services with boats sailing daily between Westminster Pierand Hampton Court Palace.

Richmond Green, which has been described as "one of the most beautiful urban greens surviving anywhere in England", is essentially square in shape and its open grassland, framed with broadleaf trees, extends to roughly twelve acres. On summer weekends and public holidays the Green attracts many residents and visitors. It has a long history of hosting sporting events; from the 16th century onwards tournaments and archery contests have taken place on the green, while cricket matches have occurred since the mid 18th century, continuing to the present day. Until recently, the first recorded inter-county cricket match was believed to have been played on Richmond Green in 1730 between Surrey and Middlesex. It is now known, however, that an earlier match between Kent and Surrey took place in Dartford in 1709.

To the west of the Green is Old Palace Lane running gently down to the river. Adjoining to the left is the renowned terrace of well preserved three-storey houses known as Maids of Honour Row. These were built in 1724 for the maids of honour (trusted royal wardrobe servants) of Queen Caroline, the queen consort of George II. As a child, Richard Burton, the Victorian explorer, lived at number 2.

Today the northern, western and southern sides of the Green are residential while the eastern side, linking with George Street, is largely retail and commercial. Public buildings line the eastern side of the Little Green and pubs and cafés cluster in the corner by Paved and Golden Courts – two of a number of alleys that lead from the green to the main commercial thoroughfare of George Street. These alleys are lined with mostly privately owned boutiques.

Partway up Richmond Hill is the factory, staffed mainly by disabled ex-servicemen and women, which produces the remembrance poppies sold each November for Remembrance Day.

The view from the top westward to Windsor has long been famous, inspiring paintings by masters such as J. M. W. Turner and Sir Joshua Reynolds and also poetry. One particularly grand description of the view can be found in Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Heart of Midlothian . It is a common misconception that the folk song "Lass of Richmond Hill" relates to this hill, but the song is actually based upon a lass residing in Hill House at Richmond in the Yorkshire Dales.

Apart from the great rugby stadium at Twickenham and the aircraft landing and taking off from Heathrow, the scene has changed little in two hundred years. The view from Richmond Hill now forms part of the Thames Landscape Strategy which aims to protect and enhance this section of the river corridor into London.

A broad, gravelled walk runs along the crest of the hill and is set back off the road, lined with benches, allowing pedestrians an uninterrupted view across the Thames valley with visitors' information boards describing points of interest. Sloping down to the River Thames is the Terrace Gardens that were laid out in the 1880s and were extended to the river some forty years later.

A commanding feature on the hill is the former Royal Star and Garter Home. During World War I an old hotel on this site, the Star and Garter, which had been a popular place of entertainment in the 18th and 19th centuries but had closed in 1906, was taken over and used as a military hospital. After the war it was replaced by a new building providing accommodation and nursing facilities for 180 seriously injured servicemen. This was sold in 2013 after the charitable trust running the home concluded that the building no longer met modern requirements and could not be easily or economically upgraded. The trust has opened a new home in Solihull, West Midlands; and the remaining residents moved in the summer of 2013 to a new purpose-built building in Surbiton.

At the top of Richmond Hill, opposite the former Royal Star and Garter Home, sits the Richmond Gate entrance to Richmond Park. The park is a national nature reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and a Special Area of Conservation. It is the largest of London's Royal Parks and was created by Charles I in 1634 as a deer park and now has over 600 red and fallow deer. Richmond Gate remains open to traffic between dawn and dusk.

King Henry's Mound, a Neolithic burial barrow, is the highest point within the park. From the mound, there is a protected view of St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London over 10 miles to the east which was established in 1710. At various times the mound's name has been connected with Henry VIII or with his father Henry VII. But there is no evidence to support the legend that Henry VIII stood on the mound to watch for the sign from St Paul's that Anne Boleyn had been executed at the Tower and that he was then free to marry Jane Seymour.

King Henry's Mound is in the grounds of Pembroke Lodge. In 1847 this house became the home of the then Prime Minister, Lord John Russell, who conducted much government business there and entertained Queen Victoria, foreign royalty, aristocrats, writers (Dickens, Thackeray, Longfellow, Tennyson) and other notables of the time, including Garibaldi. It was later the childhood home of Lord John Russell's grandson, the philosopher, mathematician and social critic Bertrand Russell. It is now a popular restaurant with views across the Thames Valley. Pembroke Lodge is Grade II listed.

Also in the park and Grade II listed is Thatched House Lodge, a royal residence. Since 1963 it has been the home of Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. It was the home of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower during the Second World War.

 

Ridesmiths recommends

 

The Petersham Hotel

The Petersham Hotel in Richmond, is located just eight miles from both Central London and Heathrow Airport. This stunning, privately owned four star property overlooks the River Thames and surrounding meadows. Boasting 58 bedrooms, 6 function rooms and an award winning restaurant, the hotel is perfect for both business or pleasure.

 

The Bingham

Tucked away beside the river in Richmond-upon-Thames, the Bingham Hotel In Richmond is one of London’s most unusual boutique hotels, or ‘restaurant with rooms’: A Georgian townhouse overlooking the Thames, the Bingham Hotel is a chic retreat for romantic getaways, a gourmet bolthole for gastronomic experiences, and a unique wedding and events venue. The Boutique Hotel offers something for everyone at The Bingham Hotel Richmond.

 

Jackson and Rye

All American home cooked food served all day long with an equally American bar in a relaxed environment. Food such as blueberry pancakes, steak and eggs to a burger with fries makes it an easy place to eat or just to relax with a bourbon whiskey or a bloody overlooking the Richmond riverside.

 

Al Boccon Di'vino

In Italian, Al Boccon di'vino translates as "a divine mouthful". Just like a vibrant, Italian wedding feast with a no-menu policy allows them to choose and serve you traditional Venetian food, and a range of fine wines that you could only otherwise enjoy in Venice. A very popular restaurant in Richmond, if booking for the weekend you may well have several months for availability.

 

Rock and Rose

This eclectic restaurant located on the Kew Road has truly surprised Richmond's restaurant scene. The whimsical decor at Rock & Rose reflects the iconic eatery's mantra - 'Food, Passion, Glamour'.

 

Pembroke Lodge

Pembroke Lodge is a magnificent listed Georgian Mansion that has been lovingly restored to provide public tearooms and first class facilities for weddings. 

The Lodge is situated at the highest point in Richmond Park with spectacular views over the Thames Valley to the west. Richmond Park is the largest, and to many, the most beautiful Park in London as it comprises of 2300 acres of totally unspoilt classic English parkland with some 650 deer who roam freely in this tranquil setting. Pembroke Lodge is set within 11 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds which are planted all year round. Car parking for 250 vehicles is adjacent to the grounds.

 

Turks Launches

Turks Launches is a 300 year old river boat company that cruises along some of the most scenic stretches of the Thames in South West London. With trips from Richmond to Hampton Court via Kingston, perect on a summers day.

 

Ham Polo Club

With polo grounds in Richmond, only eight miles from Hyde Park Corner, Ham Polo Club is the last remaining polo club in Greater London. Founded in 1926, Ham Polo Club has an established and distinguished reputation and the club's 88th year will be another unmissable season. Known for excellent playing and social facilities combined with a relaxed family atmosphere HPC is well worth a visit for any polo fan. For anyone wishing to organise an event here you may wish to speak with Hunt Kendall also.

 

The Orange Tree Theatre

The Orange Tree Theatre is a 168-seat theatre at 1 Clarence Street, Richmond in south west London, which was built specifically as a theatre in the round. It is housed within a disused 1867 primary school, built in Victorian Gothic style.

The theatre was founded in 1971 by its previous artistic director, Sam Walters, and his actress wife Auriol Smith in a small room above the Orange Tree pub opposite the present building, which opened in 1991.

 

Richmond Theatre

Richmond Theatre is a truly beautiful buidling with a well-deserved reputation for quality and entertainment. There are many ways to enjoy this very special and historic building, which was built in 1899 and designed by the famous theatre architect Frank Matcham.

Any of the places above can be visited when a Minicab or Executive Taxi is booked with Ridesmiths.

Richmond is coverd by the local newspaper The Richmond and Twickenham Times

 

Should you require a taxi or mini cab whilst in RIchmond please contact the team at Ridesmiths