Our January talk is on monuments and memorials at St Mary Magdalene’s

Memorial to Samuel Paynter (1774 –1844), landowner and High Sheriff of Surrey. The memorial is by Edward Hodges Baily R.A., who also sculpted Nelson on Nelson’s column.

Our first talk in 2018 will be by Valerie Boyes on her recent research on monuments and memorials at St Mary Magdalene’s, Richmond’s original parish church.

Valerie Boyes has taught and lectured in history in schools and colleges abroad, in the UK and locally. She was the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames’ advisor for history in schools from 1992 to 1994.

Valerie was on the steering group which set up the Museum of Richmond and chaired the Museum’s Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2013. She is the author of history text books and has researched and written on the history of Richmond.

Coming up: talks on the Hanoverians and Edmund Kean

See our calendar of forthcoming events

We have an exciting year ahead 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






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.

NEW 2018 West London Local History Conference

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, will be on the theme 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.

NEW Remembering Harold Penderton

If you went to Alan Sherriff’s excellent talk to the Society in April 2015, you’ll know about Harold Pendleton’s role in creating the very first National Jazz Festival, here in Richmond, and how it became today’s Reading Festival. Alan spoke warmly about Harold and was just as surprised as the rest of us that Harold was in the audience, listening to his talk. Harold passed away, aged 93, in September, and The Guardian has published an obituary:

Alan Sherriff points out that the obituary does not touch on the Richmond Jazz and Blues Festival other than obliquely as the “Marquee’s garden party”, He spoke briefly to Harold and his wife, Barbara, after his 2015 talk.

Alan asked him why the Richmond Jazz and Blues Festival had not been allowed to continue anywhere in the borough of Richmond after 1965.  “Harold”, he said, “had been summoned to Whitehall and  been told rather bluntly that there was no point in him pursuing his objections.” Harold had been convinced that strong lobbying from other users of the Richmond Athletic Ground about overnight encroachments by a few camping Festival-goers was the sole reason for him being kicked out of Richmond. “Perhaps”, Alan added, “we should have asked Simon Inglis after his excellent talk if he knew more about this particular sporting issue!”

Harold also told Alan the story about the incident with Keith Richards at the Marquee Club which features in the obituary. “I also commented” said Alan “on the great logo for the Richmond Jazz and Blues Festival – the trumpet on a bentwood chair – and Barbara, who worked closely with Harold on the organisation of the Jazz and Blues Festivals, indicated that this was used by kind permission of the Monterrey Jazz Festival which Harold attended on a regular basis with Chris Barber. They were close friends of the founders of the earlier US festival. Barbara added that the logo featured prominently on Harold’s 90th birthday cake,”

NEW Remembering the Vineyard Church’s war dead

Vineyard Church memorial to Wilfrid Browne

One hundred years on from the 3rd Battle of Ypres in November 1917, Peter Flower, archivist at the Vineyard Church in Richmond, recalls Wilfrid Browne who was killed in that battle. He also tells us about some of the other young men from the Congregational Church who gave their lives in the First World War. 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.

An exhibition and a book on Poverty

The Museum of Richmond’s current exhibition on Poverty 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.

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

Going the extra mile

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

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

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.

Alyson Barr (committee member), Simon Barr (Vice-Chair and Editor, Richmond History), Liz Velluet (Secretary), Lisa Blakemore (Mayor of Richmond upon Thames) and Robert Smith (Chairman and Web Editor) at the Society’s bookstall for the Shared heritage event at Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, in November 2017

And on 5 November, Richmond’s Mayor, Councillor Lisa Blakemore, joined us at our Shared heritage event at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park, generously provided by Daniel Hearsum.

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