Welcome to the Richmond Local History Society

Our header image is from a self-portrait of Anthony Rampton OBE (1915-1993), a businessman, philanthropist and very accomplished amateur artist who lived in Gort Lodge, Petersham and is buried in St Peter’s Churchyard. He was the subject of our talk on Monday 19 April.

 Our AGM and talk on Monday 17 May will now be held via Zoom only

Jane Short

Contrary to the information in our April newsletter, our AGM and talk on Monday 17 May will now be held via Zoom only, as Duke Street Church is unexpectedly unavailable to us on that date.

We will send out Zoom log-in details for the 17 May event in an e-bulletin to subscribing members in the week beginning Monday 10 May. We hope to resume events at Duke Street after the summer break.

The speaker at our May meeting is Jane Short, who has lived locally since 1967 and is a long-time member of the Richmond Local History Society. Before retirement she was a local government officer in Hounslow, where she was a founder member of Hounslow Heritage Guides from 1993; five years later, she also qualified as a Richmond Heritage Guide.

Jane will be looking at professional and amateur artists who have painted in Richmond, Twickenham and Kew, exploring their local connections, and telling us how Richmond is connected with the most expensive painting ever sold at auction. 

Jane’s talk will follow immediately after our AGM, which starts at 8pm.

UPDATED Catch up on our previous talks

Judy Weleminsky

There were 68 Zoom log-ins at Judy Weleminsky’s talk on 19 April about Tony Rampton OBE, a pioneering philanthropist who lived in Petersham and was also an accomplished amateur artist.

If you missed the talk, or would like to hear it again, it’s now available on our YouTube channel.

RLHS member John Foley will be writing a report, for publication on this website, about Judy’s talk. Read reports of our previous talks.

The King’s Observatory: Richmond’s Science Story

The King’s Observatory, in Old Deer Park

The new Museum of Richmond exhibition The King’s Observatory: Richmond’s Science Story, currently available online only, tells the story of the important scientific discoveries and other remarkable achievements made at the Observatory. Now surrounded by a golf course in Old Deer Park, it was built by Sir William Chambers for King George III to observe the transit of Venus across the Sun in 1769.

Find out more in Stewart McLaughlin’s “The early history of Kew Observatory”, first published in Richmond History 13 (1992).

NEW Robert Walpole and Richmond

Robert Walpole, regarded by historians as Britain’s first Prime Minister, started his 21-year premiership 300 years ago, on 3 April 1721. Our speaker on 8 November, Dr Simon Targett, will be telling us about Walpole and his connections with Richmond.

Find out about all our forthcoming talks.

 Richmond in the First World War 1914-1918

In 1914 Richmond had little industry, but inevitably this changed during the First World War. As well as Sopwiths giant aircraft works in Ham, there were also several smaller companies largely making aircraft and parts for Sopwith including the Whitehead Aircraft Company. Find out more

You buy the book – we pay the postage!

“A joy to read and attractively designed with some excellent illustrations” Simon Fowler

In The Richmond Vicars, Derek Robinson has uncovered stories about the ministers of St Mary Magdalene, Richmond since the 16th century. They include two vicars ejected for their political views, another who inspired Gulliver’s Travels, and a pair of performing poodles, Mouton and Don. Published by the Museum of Richmond, copies are available direct from us, now postage-free in the UK.

Our online bookshop also offers these publications postage-free to UK addresses:the 2020 issue (no 41) of our journal, Richmond Historythe 2019 issue (no 40), including a history of early performances at Richmond Theatre Old Palace Lane: Medieval to Modern Richmond (second edition, 2020) – a fascinating and very readable history of arguably Richmond’s most historic street, accompanied by four pages of historic maps, all in full colourPoverty and Philanthropy in Victorian RichmondSimon Fowler writes about the lives of those living in our  almshouses and the local workhouse and how charities tried to assist people in need – a reminder that despite the appearance of prosperity there have always been pockets of poverty in RichmondThe Streets of Richmond and Kew, which includes an up-to-date full colour map, helping you explore the local area while discovering the history of each street

 The West London History Conference turns 40

The West London History Conference is an annual event organised jointly by the Richmond Local History Society and other local history societies in west London. Liz Velluet, Secretary of our own society, has been the conference’s Secretary since 1988. Find out more about the 2020 event, which took place online and view a souvenir booklet commemorating the conference’s 40-year history.

Two ten-minute talks

The British Association for Local History’s website has speaking notes and slides for two ten-minute talks by our Vice-Chair, Simon Fowler. Find out more about Being old in Victorian Richmond and An Alternative Local History: the time traveller of Richmond.

Resources on Richmond’s history are at your fingertips

The Star and Garter Home in Richmond. Image: Carcharoth/ Wikimedia Commons

Our website’s Resources section includes two articles from our Richmond History journal on Richmond’s former Royal Star and Garter Home. Stephen Spencer writes about the disputes concerning the building of the new home in the 1920s. Simon Fowler reflects on the remarkable philanthropy of British and overseas people, especially women, who gave money to establish it. Find out more  Our Resources pages also include:

Elsie Chamberlain, the Vineyard Congregational Church’s first female minister

London United Tramways tram in front of its tram-shed on the Kew Road, c1900

  You can read more about Richmond and the Second World War in Simon Fowler’s book Richmond at War 1939-1945, available from Richmond Park’s information centre just outside Pembroke Lodge, the Kew Bookshop, the Open Book at King Street in Richmond, Parade’s End Books in Ham and our own online bookshop.