Great benefits when you join us!

Our January newsletter, with features on Edmund Kean and on the Greenings of Brentford End, will be distributed to members in the week beginning 22 January.

Our members receive three newsletters a year, are admitted free to our scheduled talks in 2018, and can buy most of our publications at a discount. See a sample newsletter and find out more about membership.

NEW Charles I’s childhood friend William Murray wasn’t a whipping boy, says RLHS member Tony Adler in The Times

William Murray, 1st Earl of Dysart, who lived in Ham House

It is often said that William Murray, who was educated alongside Charles I and was granted the lease of Ham House in 1626, was a “whipping boy”, who received corporal punishment for the transgressions of his royal childhood friend. In an article for the Society’s journal Richmond History 36 (2015), Tony Adler, one of our members, says that there is no evidence to back this claim. Tony has been successful in having references to Murray’s supposed whipping boy role removed from the National Trust’s website and from the education website BBC Bitesize. The Times ran a news story about it on 16 January. Find out more

It’s good to see that an issue first covered in an article in our journal has made such a big impact!

NEW Women in leadership roles at the Vineyard Congregational Church

In a new posting on the Resources pages of our website, Peter Flower, archivist at the Vineyard Church in Richmond, tells us about the history of women in leadership roles in our local Congregational Church. Find out more

You can also read about the Selwyn family and the development of Richmond on our Resources pages. And, to complement John Govett’s piece on Richmond’s Old Burial Ground, we’ve added a Stephen Orr’s timeline on Vineyard Passage Burial Ground.

Our next talk, on Monday 12 February, is a joint event with the Kew Society

John Greening with garden plan

On Monday 12 February, museum consultant and historian Val Bott will be talking about John Greening and his family who held royal contracts for Kew Gardens, Hampton Court and at Windsor in the 18th century. Find out more

We are delighted to be promoting this talk jointly with the Kew Society. The talk is free to members of both societies. Guests will be invited to pay £4 on the door.

Coming up: our talk on 12 March is on the Shakespearean actor Edmund Kean

The celebrated British Shakespearean actor, Edmund Kean, died in 1833 in Richmond where, in the last years of his life, he had managed the local theatre. At Richmond’s historic parish church, St Mary Magdalene, there is a floor plaque marking his grave and also a wall plaque.

Professor Michael Gaunt, Chair of The Society for Theatre Research, will talk about Kean, considered by many to be the greatest actor of the nineteenth century. Find out more

Further ahead: talks on tracing convicts’ lives, Marianne North, Richmond in the 1970s and the Hanoverians

See our calendar of forthcoming events

We have an exciting year ahead of speakers on a wide range of subjects. The latest additions to our programme are:

And in April, Bob Shoemaker, Professor of Eighteenth-Century British History at the University of Sheffield, will present the key findings of a new digitisation project. The Digital Panopticon provides access to detailed evidence about Old Bailey convicts, some of them from west London, who were either transported to Australia or imprisoned in Britain between 1780 and 1865. The project looks at the different impact of the two punishments on convict lives, including their reoffending, health, longevity, and family formation. These findings will be illustrated with the life stories of convicts from the Richmond area.

2018 West London Local History Conference on 24 March

The 2018 West London Local History Conference, co-organised by the Richmond Local History Society, and held at the University of West London’s Brentford campus on Boston Manor Road on Saturday 24 March, will be on The Impact of  the 1914-18 War on West London.

The doors open at 9:30 am and the conference is from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.

See the programme

The ticket price, which includes morning coffee and afternoon tea, has been held at £15. Tickets are available from Liz Velluet at the Society’s meetings.


An exhibition and a book on Poverty

The Museum of Richmond’s exhibition on Poverty continues until Saturday 21 April. It looks at Richmond during the period 1600–1948, from the point of view of the poorer classes, and includes the history of Richmond’s workhouse, almshouses and the effects of the Poor Laws. With a smartphone, you can download a walking tour and visit places highlighted in the exhibition.

The Society’s new book, Poverty and Philanthropy in Victorian Richmond by Simon Fowler, accompanies the exhibition. Copies are available from The Museum of Richmond, The Open Book in Richmond, The National Archives bookshop, Kew Bookshop, Lloyds of Kew bookshop, the Society’s bookstall at our monthly talks and our online bookshop. Find out more and order a copy online

A Glimpse of Old Ham and Petersham

Vanessa Fison has a new book, A Glimpse of Old Ham and Petersham, which Simon Fowler, Editor of Richmond History, saysshould be on the shelves of all local residents in Ham and Petersham and will be of interest elsewhere in Richmond and Kingston”.

Read Simon’s review

A timeline on Richmond Park

Richmond Park has been in existence for nearly 400 years. A new timeline on the Hearsum Collection website features some of the key stories and images in its history. View the timeline