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

Coming up: two more summer fairs

Our stall at the 2017 Richmond May Fair

We were at Richmond’s May Fair on Saturday 13 May – and we’ll also be at the Ham Fair on Saturday 10 June and the Kew Midsummer Fete on Saturday 17 June. It’s a great opportunity to sell our publications, recruit new members and spread the word about our Society and what we do.

We’d like to have more volunteers to help on the stall, usually in one-hour slots of two people. If you plan to come to either or both of these local fairs – and it really is a good day out – please think of volunteering an hour of your time to help us – and contact our Secretary, Liz Velluet.

Our new President – and three new committee members

Paul Velluet

The Society has a new President, Paul Velluet, who was appointed 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.

News about our journal, Richmond History

Our 2017 issue, Richmond History 38, is now on sale at the Open Book bookshop in Richmond and can also be ordered online. It includes 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.

Richmond History 25 sold out almost immediately after it was published in 2004 . We’ve now re-issued it with a new cover. So if it’s been missing from your collection, here’s a chance to complete your set. Even if you’re not collecting back issues, you might be particularly interested in this one as it includes an edited text of John Cloake’s fascinating talk, Forty Years of Richmond History, which he gave in December 2003.

This and other back copies of Richmond History still in print, including our 2016 issue, are available to buy online, via PayPal, using a debit or credit card.

However, we’ve had to remove Richmond History 23 (2002), 27 (2006), 30 (2009) and 35 (2014) from our online bookshop as we have very few copies left: you may be able to buy the last remaining copies on our bookstalls.

Our free online index to articles in Richmond History covers all issues up to and including No. 36 (2015) and now includes an author index.

A coach trip to Kent – and a local visit

Hever Castle

Mortlake Crematorium

Our summer coach outing, on Tuesday 27 June,  is to Hever Castle – rated 4 stars by Simon Jenkins. Dating back to 1270, Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn and has on display two beautiful illuminated prayer books which belonged to her. Find out more and See the application form.

And on Saturday 8 July we’ll visit Mortlake Crematorium, which has been described as “probably the most undiscovered deco treasure in London”. Find out more.

See our complete calendar of all events

Find out about our forthcoming talks

Available now: a new book on Richmond’s history, an exhibition and an audio guide

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.

Our new book, Old Palace Lane: Medieval to Modern Richmond by Derek Robinson and Simon Fowler, published jointly 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 now from our online bookshop.

The book accompanies the Museum of Richmond’s exhibition, Old Palace Lane: Medieval to Modern Richmond,  which continues until September.

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

Remembering David Blomfield

Robert Smith, our Chairman, opened our 10 October 2016 meeting by inviting members and visitors to observe a minute’s silence in memory of Dr David Blomfield, the Society’s President and former Chairman, who died on 12 July 2016. You can now listen again at https://soundcloud.com/richmond-history-society. Our Soundcloud page also includes a recording of the last talk that David gave, three months before he died, on the history of the Star and Garter Home.

Commemorating Joseph Hooker

Kew Gardens are running Joseph Hooker tours to mark the bicentenary of his birth, at 2pm on Sundays and Thursdays until 27 August. There is also a related exhibition in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery until 17 September.

Did Vincent van Gogh preach in Richmond in 1876?

The Resources section of our website includes articles by Peter Flower on the history of Richmond’s Congregational Church.

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

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 he 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 the piece by John Govett on Richmond’s Old Burial Ground, we’ve added a timeline, compiled by Stephen Orr, relating to Vineyard Passage Burial Ground.

Telling the story of Hammerton’s Ferry

Ham and Twickenham, on opposite banks of the Thames, have been linked by a ferry for more than 300 years. In the early 20th century the opening up of Marble Hill Park and the Petersham and Ham Lands to the public led to an increase in visitor numbers. A young waterman, Walter Hammerton, established a new ferry service, rivalling the existing Dysart Ferry.

The Ferry from Ham and Petersham, written by the late Dick Cashmore and now re-set and republished with an attractive new cover, tells the story of Hammerton’s Ferry and explains what happened when the Earl of Dysart took Hammerton to court.  To order this booklet, visit our Books on Ham and Petersham page

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, now priced at only £1.00, 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

Five books on the Second World War

Our five books on the Second World War

Our five books on the Second World War

Our five publications on the Second World War including a third, revised edition of Kew at War 1939–1945 and 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.

Calling time at the Star and Garter

Robert Smith, our Chairman, represented the Society at a ceremony on 6 April to mark the restoration of Richmond’s Grade II listed Star and Garter Home, which is now being converted into private apartments. A time capsule was buried in the ground to commemorate the building’s history; this included a copy of the Society’s newsletter and a flyer listing our publications and our talks programme.

Simon Fowler, our Vice-Chair, who was its first archivist, gave a well received presentation about its history in February at the former Home.