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!

Coming up: an exhibition, a book and a talk on Poverty

Detail from a plan, in the Museum of Richmond, of the Richmond Workhouse

The Museum of Richmond’s Poverty exhibition, from 23 September, looks at Richmond during the period 1600–1948, from the point of view of the poorer classes. This includes the history of Richmond’s workhouse, almshouses and the effects of the Poor Laws.

The exhibition is based on a new publication from the Society, Poverty and Philanthropy in Victorian Richmond, by Simon Fowler. Simon will also be speaking about Poverty in the first in our new season of talks, on Monday 9 October.

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

Celebrating Richmond’s heritage – throughout September

Richmond’s winning team, from left: Liz Velluet, Shirley Newton, Simon Fowler, Sylvia Levi, Paul Velluet and Robert Smith

The Society took part in The National Archives’ open day on 16 September, which marked The National Archives’ 40 years at its Kew site. 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 includes guided walks, talks, tours, workshops and exhibitions.

Find out more

Our new President – and three new committee members

Paul Velluet was appointed as the Society’s new President at our annual general meeting on 15 May.  Find out more

We are delighted to have Paul on board and also our three new committee members – Rose Constantine, Andrew Humphreys and Shirley Newton. See a list of our committee members and key volunteers.


Our journal, Richmond History

Our free online index to Richmond History has been updated to include the 2017 issue. Richmond History 38 has a tribute to David Blomfield and articles on the origins of Bishop Duppa’s Almshouses, the painter Mary Kent Harrison’s time in Richmond, the history of Royston House in Kew, and Sir David Williams’ memories of the Liberals in power in Richmond borough between 1983 and 1986.

We’ve also re-issued two journal back numbers. The new shiny cover of Richmond History 31 (2010) includes a tribute to the late Christopher May, who edited the inside text. Chris described this issue as having the theme “The common man fights back”, showing just how much we can learn about the history of the less privileged people in our locality. Find out more

Richmond History 25 (2004) sold out almost immediately after it was first published. It  includes an edited text of John Cloake’s fascinating talk in December 2003, Forty Years of Richmond History.

These and other back issues still in print are available from our online bookshop

Exploring Old Palace Lane

Old Palace Lane is arguably Richmond’s most historic street. Many of the changes and developments that have made Richmond what it is today are reflected in this quiet little lane leading down to the Thames.

Old Palace Lane: Medieval to Modern Richmond by Derek Robinson and Simon Fowler, published with the Museum of Richmond, 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.

If you have a smartphone you can also download the Museum of Richmond’s audio guide, and listen to Bamber Gascoigne’s narration while exploring Old Palace Lane on foot.

Book review: a new book on Ham and Petersham

Simon Fowler, Editor of our journal Richmond History, writes:

“Richmond is particularly lucky in having had a large number of pictures, drawings and photos showing how the area has changed over the past 250 years or so. The photographs in particular have appeared in numerous cheap and cheerful books of the ‘Richmond one hundred years ago’ kind. Unfortunately, neither text nor the quality of the reproduction of the images in such books does the subject any credit.

“Vanessa Fison’s new book A Glimpse of Old Ham and Petersham shows how it should be done. She has taken 50 or so prints and photographs showing the parishes of Ham and Petersham in their bucolic rural heyday over about a hundred years up to about the time of the First World War, including photos of such institutions as Secrett’s Cows, and the Old Russell School, as well as buildings like Farm Lodge and the New Inn. With each picture, there is a short apposite essay explaining the significance of the image and providing additional information as required. Ms Fison is perhaps the best of the current crop of historians of the area, so she writes with real knowledge.

“She is helped by the generous layout which allows each image to be shown properly and the high-quality reproduction which brings depth and subtlety to each picture.

“Quite genuinely this is a book which should be on the shelves of all local residents in Ham and Petersham and will be of interest elsewhere in Richmond and Kingston.”

Vanessa Fison (2017): A Glimpse of Old Ham and Petersham ISBN 978-1-5272-0980-0 £15.00 plus £3.00 p&p. Copies available from the author: 38 Ham Common, Richmond TW10 7JG

A new 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 the history of Richmond’s Congregational Church. They include an expanded version of the article that Peter wrote for Richmond History 25 (2004) about a “preacher with red hair” who addressed the Congregational Church in 1876 and who Peter believes may have been the artist 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 timeline by Stephen Orr on Vineyard Passage Burial Ground.

Our five books on the Second World War

Our five books on the Second World WarOur five publications on World War II including a third, revised edition of Kew at War 1939–1945 and a reissued Petersham: radar and operational research 1940–1946 with an illustrated cover are available  from our online bookshop, the Open Book in Richmond, Lloyds of Kew bookshop near Kew Green and The National Archives’ bookshop. And you can buy Richmond at War 1939–1945 from the Visitor Information Centre outside Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park.