Author Archives: Robert Smith

Volunteering opportunities with the Society

The Richmond Local History Society is run by unpaid volunteers. We’re rather thin on the ground now, as there are currently only six people on the committee. We’d like some additional people on board (they don’t necessarily have to be on the committee) to spread the load and help secure the Society’s long-term future.  If you are interested in volunteering occasionally or on a more regular basis, please contact our Secretary, Liz Velluet.

Coming up: three summer fairs

Our stand at the 2015 Kew Fete

We will have a stand at Richmond’s May Fair on Saturday 13 May – and also at the Ham Fair on Saturday 10 June and the Kew Midsummer Fete on on Saturday 17 June. It’s a great chance to sell our publications, recruit new members and to spread the word about our Society and what we do.  We need more volunteers to help on the stall, usually in one-hour slots of two people. So if you’re planning to come to one or more 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.

Coming up: an AGM, a talk and a party

Following our Annual General Meeting on Monday 15 May, Derek Robinson from the Museum of Richmond will talk about the Museum’s forthcoming exhibition Old Palace Lane: Medieval to Modern Richmond, which will be accompanied by a new book jointly published by the Museum and by Richmond Local History Society. Find out moreAfterwards there will be wine, soft drinks and nibbles.

Find out about our forthcoming talks

See our complete calendar of all events

Coach trip to Hever Castle, Kent on Tuesday 27 June

Hever Castle

Our summer coach outing this year, 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

We’ve brought two of our out-of-print books back to life

We’ve re-set and re-published our popular booklet, written by the late Dick Cashmore, on the story of Hammerton’s Ferry. Ham and Twickenham, on opposite sides 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. This booklet, now with an attractive new cover, tells the story of Hammerton’s Ferry and explains what happened when the Earl of Dysart took Walter Hammerton to court.  To order this booklet online, visit our Books on Ham and Petersham page

You may not have seen this before: it looks like a new issue of our journal – but it’s not. It’s no 25 of our journal, first published in 2004. That issue was particularly popular, it sold out almost immediately and has been out of print for 13 years. We’ve now brought it back to life and re-issued it with a new cover. So if it’s been missing from your collection, here’s a chance to complete your set. And 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. Find out how to order this book online

More news about our journal, Richmond History

Back copies of Richmond History still in print, including our most recent issue (2016), 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 only one or two copies left: if they haven’t been sold in the meantime you may be able to buy them on our Richmond May Fair bookstall.

Our 2017 issue, Richmond History 38, will be available in May. It includes 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-upon-Thames between 1983 and 1986.

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.

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.

“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 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.

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 (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 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.

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