Richmond’s links with North America

Links-Books-2-C-RLHS-22-feb-008Did you know that Elihu Yale, whose philanthropy led to a leading American university to be named after him, lived on Richmond Green? Or that George Vancouver retired to Petersham and is buried in its parish churchyard?

Our booklet, Richmond’s Links with North America, tells stories about these and several other leading North American personalities who lived in Richmond or Petersham, and also about the Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens areas of New York City. Find out more.

Our next talk, on Monday 13 March, is on Richmond and the Right: The National Citizens Union, British Fascists and other fringe groups in the interwar period

britishfascistsThe period between the two world wars saw a considerable amount of activity by radical, fringe and extremist groups in the town of Richmond and its surrounding areas.

Dr Steven Woodbridge, of Kingston University’s History department will explore and share his research expertise on some of the more controversial right-wing organisations that tried to win over Richmond’s citizens during the often turbulent years of the inter-war period, ranging from local middle-class protest groups to radical right and fascist movements. He will shine some interesting new light on some of the darker and less familiar aspects of Richmond’s political and social history in the two decades between the Wars.

Coming up: minding your Ps in 2017

A01 TitleOur 2017 programme includes talks on a palace, a princess, poverty, politics and playing sport.

Find out about our forthcoming talks

See our complete calendar of all events


West London Local History Conference 2017

The 2017 West London History Conference, on Saturday 25 March, will be on Making Connections: Travel and Communications in West London History. The prices for this popular event have been held at the same level as last year –  just £15 – but tickets need to be booked in advance. To book, please email Liz Velluet.

Ham is Where the Heart is

Ham is Where the Heart is, the new Heritage Lottery-funded oral history project in Ham, is inviting you to bring in your photos and memorabilia for copying to go on to its new website. The project’s volunteers will be at Ham Library every Wednesday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm. Find out more.

Free exhibition until 25 February

The Georgian Group has a free exhibition Splendour – Art in Living Craftsmanship at its Fitzroy Square townhouse (nearest tube station: Warren Street) until 25 February. On Saturdays various craftsmen will demonstrate their skills and there are family workshops on Sundays. Find out more

“Bright, brief and brotherly” – how the Pleasant Afternoon Society revitalised services in a Richmond church


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

If you’ve already read our 2016 journal, Richmond History 37, you’ll be familiar with the story of the Victorian graveyard at the Congregational Chapel in The Vineyard (now the Vineyard Life Church).

The author, Peter Flower, also wrote an article in Richmond History 22 (2002) about Thomas Wilson, the 19th-century businessman and philanthropist, whose generosity led to the building of the church. And in an article originally published in Richmond History 29 (2008), Peter tells the story of the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Society that, in providing services in the late 1890s that were “bright, brief and brotherly” was very successful in meeting its aim of  “bringing in “those who were not connected with any place of worship”.

We’ve now republished these in the Resources section on our website and in due course will be adding further articles from Peter about the history of Richmond’s Congregational Church.

What’s new: other recent additions to our Resources pages

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 on our Resources pages.

And, to complement our existing piece (supplied by John Govett) on Richmond’s Old Burial Ground, we’ve added a timeline, compiled by Stephen Orr, relating to Vineyard Passage Burial Ground.

Listen again to our talks

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. But you can now listen to his April 2016 talk on our 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.

Five books on the Second World War

AA Book reprints march 2016 IMG_8234 (2)One of the last publications that our late President, David Blomfield, worked on was the third edition of our popular book on the history of Kew during the Second World War, published in May 2016.

Revised, and with a new title, Kew at War 19391945 by David Blomfield and Christopher May is now available at Kew Bookshop, at the Open Book in Richmond and from the Society’s online bookshopFind out more about the book.

Our five publications on the Second World War – including a reissue of Petersham: radar and operational research 1940-1946 with a new illustrated cover – are all now available  from our online bookshop. They’re also sold at the Open Book in Richmond, at Kew Bookshop and at The National Archives’ bookshop. And you can buy Richmond at War 1939-1945 from Sheen Bookshop and from the Visitor Information Centre outside Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park.

Our journal, Richmond History

Journal 37 cover (2)Former Richmond Council leader Sir David Williams writes in the most recent issue of our Richmond History journal about the Liberal Party’s rise locally in the 1970s. And 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 our 2016 issue online, via PayPal, using a debit or credit card. Back copies of Richmond History still in print are also available to buy online.

Our 2017 issue, Richmond History 38, will be available in May.

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.