“Played in Richmond”: our talk on Monday 13 November

Author and architectural historian Simon Inglis is a passionate and entertaining speaker on Britain’s sporting heritage, especially its historic sports architecture and landscapes.

In his illustrated talk, “Played in Richmond” – sport and recreation since 1666, Simon will be looking in particular at our local area.

He says: “In the days when ‘sport’ signified hunting rather than ‘games’, the Old Deer Park was a favourite of Henry VI, before James I (a keen sportsman himself) expanded it to over 360 acres. In 1666, Sir Robert Paston mentioned in a letter to his wife that he had just met one of the king’s attendants, ‘who says he saw your son very well engaged  in a game of cricquett on Richmond Green.’ Since then, between them, the Green and Old Deer Park have formed one of the most important sporting clusters in the London area for cricket, and also for rugby, archery, tennis and golf.

“Sport, as I have often said, has long been treated as a marginal area of study by historians. ‘A bit of fun’. But you do not have to be in the slightest bit ‘sporty’ to appreciate how much its history and heritage have helped to shape our modern environment and identity. Or that sport’s development tells us a great deal about how society has evolved.

“We may no longer hunt deer, but Richmond remains very much a  playground for the great metropolis beyond.”

Simon Inglis’s talk is at 8pm on Monday 13 November at Duke Street Church.

Coming up: talks on monuments and memorials, the Hanoverians and Edmund Kean

See our calendar of forthcoming events

We have an exciting year ahead – and more – of speakers on a wide range of subjects. The latest addition to our programme is a talk by former Historical Royal Palaces curator and Kew resident Susanne Groom; she will be telling us in October 2018 about the royal Hanoverians, who arrived in Richmond and Kew 300 years ago.

Edmund Kean’s grave at St Mary Magdalene’s, Richmond

And in March 2018, Professor Michael Gaunt, Chair of The Society for Theatre Research, will talk about Edmund Kean, considered by many to be the greatest actor of the nineteenth century.

  • Next month, on Sunday 5 November, Ian Hughes will be performing as Kean in a one-man show at the new Exchange Theatre in Twickenham, as part of the Richmond Literature Festival. Find out more

An exhibition and a book on Poverty

The Museum of Richmond’s Poverty exhibition, which opened on 23 September, looks at Richmond during the period 1600–1948, from the point of view of the poorer classes. It 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.

To accompany it, the Society has published a new book, Poverty and Philanthropy in Victorian Richmond by Simon Fowler. 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

Going the extra mile

Councillor Paul Hodgins, Leader of Richmond upon Thames
Council, presented an award to Liz Velluet at a civic ceremony
on Friday 15 September.

Liz, who has been Secretary of the Richmond Local History Society for an astounding 38 years (and still going!), was recognised as having gone the extra mile to serve her community.

Congratulations, Liz, and thank you!

Other recent books from the Society

Old Palace Lane: Medieval to Modern Richmond by Derek Robinson and Simon Fowler, published with the Museum of Richmond in May 2017, tells the story of the Lane, the people who have lived there, and its buildings. Illustrated in colour, it is available from our online bookshop, The Museum of Richmond and local independent bookshops.

We’ve also brought back to life two issues of our annual journal that were previously out of print. Richmond History 25 (2004) and Richmond History 31 (2010) are available from our online bookshop.

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

The missing family from Richmond Hill

A correspondent in the United States is trying to trace relatives of William Witton Jr who was born in Richmond Hill in 1867 and died in Plymouth, New Hampshire in 1949, leaving behind an intriguing diary. Can you solve the mystery? Find out more

Celebrating Richmond’s heritage

Robert Smith and Shirley Newton on our stand at The National Archives’ Open Day. Photo by Judith Church

Our winning team: Liz Velluet, Shirley Newton, Simon Fowler, Sylvia Levi, Paul Velluet and Robert Smith. Photo by Janine Stanford

The Society took part in The National Archives’ open day on 16 September, marking its 40 years in Kew. We had a bookstall and our President, Paul Velluet, and our Vice-Chair, Simon Fowler, gave talks.

With a one-point lead over its nearest rivals, the Society beat eight other teams at the In The Know local history quiz on 1 September at Richmond’s Old Town Hall, brilliantly organised as always by Jane Baxter and the Richmond Local Studies team.

Now in its fifth year, the quiz kicked off a month-long celebration of Richmond’s heritage in the annual Know Your Place Festival, which also included guided walks, talks, tours, workshops and exhibitions.

Our new President – and three new committee members

Paul Velluet, Photo by Robert Smith

We are delighted to have Paul Velluet on board as our new President and also three new committee members – Rose Constantine, Andrew Humphreys (who now edits our newsletter) and Shirley Newton.

See a list of our committee members and key volunteers.

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

Did Vincent van Gogh preach in Richmond in 1876?

On Lower Mortlake Road where it meets Kew Road at Richmond Circus, this house features William Selwyn the younger’s monogram. It is one of the few remaining relics of the Selwyn Estate which used to cover a considerable area of Richmond.

The Congregational Church and St Elizabeth of Portugal pictured on an old postcard in 1913

Our website’s Resources section has  articles by Peter Flower on Richmond’s Congregational Church’s history. They include an expanded version of his Richmond History 25 (2004) article about a “preacher with red hair” who addressed the church in 1876 and who Peter believes may have been Vincent van Gogh.

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.