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.  

UPDATED Our latest journal is now available

Richmond History 44 is now available from our online bookshop and can also be purchased from local independent bookshops. This 92-page issue (which includes 37 pages in colour) has articles by Rachel Hirschler, Max Lankester, Ron McEwen, John McM Moore, John Moses and Robert Wood, on Richmond Park, Kew Gardens and Ham House. 

Steven Woodbridge writes about local attitudes to Germany’s new Nazi regime in 1933, and there are articles by three of our recent speakers – Sandra Pullen on Sudbury Park, Nic Madge on Death in the Thames and Simon Targett on George Vancouver.

Buy a copy from our online bookshop:

Richmond History 44 (2024)

COMING NEXT Vicky McGrath from the Museum of Richmond will talk about Victorian Richmond “murderess” Kate Webster

Kate Webster (d.1879), the killer of Julia Martha Thomas

On Monday 11 December Vicky McGrath, Learning Officer at the Museum of Richmond, will take a closer look at an infamous crime from Victorian Richmond.

As well as talking about the murder and trial, Vicky will explore how Victorian attitudes and morals meant that Kate Webster’s story has a tragic and unjust undertone.

Vicky’s talk will be followed by our customary seasonal party.

UPDATED Richmond History is now a triple-award-winner

Our journal, Richmond History, has now received an award as London’s best local history journal for three years in a row.

At the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS)’s annual Local History Conference, held at the Museum of London Docklands on 18 November, our society received a certificate and a £100 prize for Richmond History 43 (our 2023 issue) which won in the Journal category at (LAMAS)’s Local History Publications Awards. The 2022 edition of The Streets of Richmond and Kew was a close runner-up in the books category.

LAMAS’s publications committee described Richmond History 42 (our 2021/22 issue), with its cover story on international tennis star Betty Nuthall, as “providing a winning mix of topics about the local catchment area, accompanied with good illustrations and photos”. Our journal, it said, was “entertaining, well referenced and easy to read”.

Copies of that issue, the previous award-winning issue (No. 41), and our current issue  (No. 43) – which has 98 pages, more than 30 in colour – are available, postage free in the UK, from our online bookshop. They can also be bought at Kew Bookshop, Sheen Bookshop in East Sheen, The National Archives’ shop and The Open Book in Richmond.

NEW Saving Kew Gardens for the threat of 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.

UPDATED Catch up on our previous talks, including last month’s talk on George Vancouver

An impressively large number of people attended Simon Targett’s talk on 9 October about  Petersham adventurer and maritime explorer George Vancouver, who is buried in St Peter’s churchyard.

There were 107 people at Duke Street Church (including three sitting in the gallery) and 25 log-ins on Zoom. Simon’s talk was videorecorded and can now be viewed on our YouTube channel. You can also watch four other talks given in 2023 and 11 from previous years.

Our website’s Archive section has written reports on many of our previous talks.

Other forthcoming talks

Watts Memorial at Postman’s Park

Our Vice-Chair, Simon Fowler, who is now responsible for our talks programme, has booked speakers for all our talks up to and including May 2024, and a talk as far ahead as January 2025.

Our future programme includes talks on costumes of Georgian England and on heroes in Richmond and Kew who are commemorated on the Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice in Postman’s Park. 

Find out more about our forthcoming talks

 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.