Richmond Local History Society: Exploring the history of Richmond, Kew, Petersham and Ham

Find out about our forthcoming talks and See our complete calendar of all events

“The Tradesman’s Entrance to Richmond Palace”

Museum_of_Richmond_logoThe Museum of Richmond is looking for help in researching the houses and people who lived in Old Palace Lane. The street runs up from the Thames past Asgill House and the White Swan pub, along what was once the wall of Richmond Palace to the Green. Once known as Crane Piece, the Lane was originally for supplies from the River Thames to the Palace. A row of Georgian workers’ cottages sits alongside larger Regency and Victorian family houses, making a unique and attractive townscape.

The research will inform the Museum’s 2017 spring and summer exhibition, which is being supported by the Old Palace Lane’s residents. The story of the Lane, which begins in the medieval period, mirrors the development of Richmond over the centuries, and the exhibition will illustrate, in microcosm, the growth of the town since its early beginnings. There are also plans for explanatory boards and an audio tour that passers-by can listen to on their smartphones. The Richmond Local History Society plans to produce a booklet to accompany the exhibition and there will be a talk at the Society’s May 2016 meeting.

But an awful lot of work has to be done before then. The first step is to research the people who lived in the Lane, from laundresses to duchesses. And little is know about many of the buildings. Can you assist with the research? Or do you have any memories of the Lane and the people who lived there, or photographs or objects?

If you can help please contact Simon Fowler – tel: 020 8940 6884; email:      

John Cloake Memorial Lecture will be on Six Tudor Queens

STQKAlison Weir will be giving the rescheduled John Cloake Memorial Lecture at Richmond Old Town Hall on Thursday 29 September from 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm. Her subject will be Six Tudor Queens: The Wives of Henry VIII.

This is not a Richmond Local History Society event. It is organised by Richmond Local Studies and tickets are £10.00. To book, go to, or visit any of the libraries in Richmond upon Thames.

David Blomfield 1934-2016

David at the 2015 Richmond May Fair

Our President, Dr David Blomfield, has died after a short but very severe illness. David, the Society’s chairman for ten years and a former editor of our journal, Richmond History, spent his 82nd birthday at home, surrounded by his extended family. He died the next day, 12 July.

David was a distinguished local historian, whose books Kew Past, The Story of Kew and (with the late Christopher May) Kew at War 1939-1945, broke new ground in recording what had happened in Kew in its recent past as well as in previous centuries. By telling it in a compelling manner, he made the fascinating story of Kew accessible to everyone and encouraged its residents and visitors alike to take an active interest in their own local history.

Following a private family funeral in the morning, a celebration of David’s life was held on 26 July at the Barn Church in Kew and afterwards at Priory Park Tennis Club, Forest Road, Kew.

In lieu of flowers, the family are raising money for research into early diagnosis and treatment of cancer of the oesophagus via Cancer Research UK.  You can donate to a memory page for David via Just Giving

What’s new

Have you noticed the lettering on the house on Lower Mortlake Road where it meets Kew Road at Richmond Circus? The two intertwined initials WS, dated 1853, are the monogram of William Selwyn the younger. The house is one of the few remaining relics of the Selwyn Estate which used to cover a considerable area of Richmond. You can now read more about the Selwyn family and the development of Richmond.

Fairs and fetes

Ricmond Fair inside We enjoyed showing off our new publications, including the 2016 issue of our journal  Richmond History, at Richmond’s May Fair on 14 May and the Kew Midsummer Fete on 18 June.

Thank you to everyone who visited our stands and a warm welcome to the many new members who have joined us!


Our journal, Richmond History

Journal 37 cover (2)Former Richmond Council leader Sir David Williams writes in our latest Richmond History journal about the Liberal Party’s rise locally in the 1970s. And, in the same issue, Kingston University lecturer Dr Steven Woodbridge gives a history of the Richmond branch of the Junior Imperial League, a forerunner (between the First and Second World Wars) of the Young Conservatives. You can order it online, via PayPal, using a debit or credit card. Back copies of Richmond History still in print are also available to buy online.

Our free online index to articles in Richmond History covers all issues up to and including No. 36 (2015) and now includes a new author index.

You can now listen again to David Blomfield’s talk

You missed a real treat if you didn’t hear our late President, Dr David Blomfield, speak about the history of the Star and Garter Home at our meeting on 11 April. But you can now listen to his talk on our new Soundcloud page. This also has Murray Hedgcock’s talk on the history of local cricket and Q2 Players’ dramatised reading of extracts from Simon Fowler’s book Richmond At War 1939-1945.