Welcome to the Richmond Local History Society

Our talks are held at Duke Street Church in Richmond. Members can also participate via Zoom. Photo: Andy Scott/Wikimedia Commons

Our Society explores the history of Richmond, Kew, Petersham and Ham and the people who have lived here. We hold evening talks, usually on the second Monday of the month, organise walks and visits, and publish an award-winning journal (Richmond History) and books on topics of local interest.

Join us for free admission to our talks, an informative newsletter three times a year and discounts on most of our publications.  
Find out more

Our talks programme

Our Vice-Chair and Talks Organiser, Simon Fowler, has booked speakers for all our talks in 2024, and some as far ahead as 2025. Find out more about our forthcoming talks

COMING UP Our next talk is on Monday 11 March

Dr John Price will speak about Richmond heroes commemorated on the Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice in Postman’s Park.

Postman’s Park

A new season of London Luminaries online events

London Luminaries is a partnership of historic properties in south west London sharing history and heritage through online talks.

A new series of talks, with the theme Conspiracy & Betrayal, continues on Thursday 7 March, with a live performance about the life of one of Alexander Pope’s closest frenemies, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: “The Lady in a Veil”, written and performed by Georgina Lock. The talks are free, but a £5 donation is requested.   Find out more

West London Local History Conference comes to Richmond

The first in-person West London Local History Conference since 2019. will be held at Duke Street Church in Richmond on Saturday 11 April. The event is sponsored by several local history societies, including the Richmond Local History Society.

This year’s theme explores the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in South and West London. The speakers include Paul Velluet on Arts & Crafts Architecture in the Richmond area.  Find out more

The latest additions to our online bookshop

Richmond History 44, the latest issue of our journal, was published in November 2023. It is available from our online bookshop and from local independent bookshops and is also on the bookstall at out talks.   Find out more about this issue and how to order a copy online.

Petersham was transformed during the Battle of Britain in September 1940, when Anti-Aircraft Command requisitioned the village hall and institute, the vicarage, All Saints Church and Elm Lodge, and then set up radar transmitters on the golf course.

Some of the most important experiments that led to discoveries that made British radar such an effective instrument of war were carried out in Petersham vicarage.

This second edition of Michael Lee’s book, edited by Robert Smith and Simon Fowler, was published in January 2024. It includes a new, additional appendix by Timothy M M Baker on Petersham as a birthplace of radio astronomy.

Find out more about this issue and how to order a copy online.

Saving Kew Gardens from development

Conor Mark Jameson

The National Physical Laboratory in Teddington was originally planned to be built in the grounds of Kew Gardens.

In an extract adapted from his newly published biography of W H  Hudson, Conor Mark Jameson  who gave us a talk on Hudson in September 2022, describes a long-forgotten campaign to save Kew from the threat of development.

Go to Saving Kew Gardens in the Resources section of our website.

 You can join the Society online

You can now join the Society or renew your membership online.  Annual membership is £12 single; £20 for two people at one address.

If you are already a member and have a standing order in place, this will renew automatically when your next subscription payment is due – there is no need to contact us unless you wish to cancel or to amend your personal details.

If you prefer to join by post, please download our membership form; then print it and fill it in, and send to us with an accompanying cheque or cash.

If you have any queries about membership, please email our Membership Secretary, Mark Lucas.

Two ten-minute talks

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

Resources on Richmond’s history are at your fingertips

Our website’s Resources section has articles on Richmond Park, Richmond’s almshouses, Richmond’s former Star and Garter Home, the history of Richmond’s Congregational Church in The Vineyard, and much more.