John Cloake 1924-2014

HM Queen cuts Museum tapeJohn Cloake with HM The Queen at the opening of the Museum of Richmond in 1988

John Cloake, who died on 9 July 2014, was President, and the first chairman, of the Richmond Local History Society. He was also the founder of the Museum of Richmond and first Chair of its Board of Trustees. Read more…

You can also read here:

Visiting one of the Great Houses of England

Wilton House & River Nadder 10.7.14-83Forty members of the Richmond Local History Society had a very happy coach trip on Thursday 10 July  to Wilton House, the home of the Earl of Pembroke, near Salisbury. 

Wilton House (which we last visited 20 years ago) is one of the Great Houses of England – a Palladian Palace with Inigo Jones and Wyatt interiors. The family home of the Earls of Pembroke since 1543, it continues to be lived in, by the present young Earl and his family.

The house, famed for its double cube room, is set beside the river Nadder (spanned by a Palladian bridge) in 22 acres of landscaped parkland; four beautiful new gardens were created by the late Lord Pembroke.

Welcome to Richmond Local History Society

Our lecture programme resumes in October

220px-StAnne'sChurchKewOur programme of monthly lectures resumes in October 2014. It includes talks on the history of St Anne’s Church in Kew, the National Jazz and Blues Festivals of the 1960s, the addictive habits of the Georgians and the Richmond experience of conscientious objection. Read about our new series of lectures for the 2014/15 season.

Richmond Poor Relief Indexes go online

Over 103,000 names of people applying for poor relief in Richmond Poor Law Union between 1870 and 1912 are now searchable, free of charge, on Surrey History Centre’s website at

Lend your mite for Britain’s might


In two War Savings Weeks in February 1941 and April 1942, Richmond raised nearly £900,000 for the war effort. Two scrapbooks at Richmond Local Studies Library show how the Weeks were organised locally.

The 1941 War Weapons Week took place between 29 March and 5 April. A target of £250,000 was set, although £368,625 was raised mainly though the purchase of War Bonds. This is roughly £16m today.

For most residents the highlights were probably the War Weapons Exhibition at Wright Brothers shop in George Street, where visitors could enjoy a “ride in a Power Driven Gun Turret of a modern heavy bomber”. And some 6,000 people went round the Royal Navy patrol vessel Sarah Munro, which was moored at Richmond Pier.

Find out more on our Richmond at War project page.