NEW Our talks programme resumes on Monday 14 September

We will be restarting our talks programme on Monday 14 September. However, because of the continuing Covid-19 restrictions, our first meeting, which will include our rescheduled AGM, will take place virtually via Zoom, rather than physically at Duke Street Church.

After the AGM, Simon Fowler will give a talk – details to follow.

We intend to return to meeting at Duke Street (observing social distancing) when conditions allow us to do so.

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 lockdown meant we were unable to hold Stephen Bartlett’s talk on Lawn Crescent, Kew, which had been scheduled for April. However, you can read Stephen’s article on the early residents of Lawn Crescent in the 2020 issue of our journal, Richmond History. We hope that he will able to give the talk to us at Duke Street Church in 2021. 

Queen’s Road map by Jackie Baines  – from The Museum of Richmond’s current exhibition, now viewable online

Catch up on our previous talks More than 100 people attended Charles Pineles’ talk on 9 March to our Society (meeting jointly with the Museum of Richmond) on The social history of Queen’s Road Richmond. You can now read reports of this and some of our other previous talks.

NEW Kew: The pew cushions in St Anne’s Church

In 1961 the architect George Cassidy and his wife Kath, residents of Kew Green and parishioners at St Anne’s, embarked on a project which took them and their helpers 17 years to complete – to produce a series of pew cushions based on the lives of many historically significant Kew people and buildings, including St Anne’s. “The Pew Cushions in St Anne’s Church, Kew” by G E Cassidy was first published in our journal, Richmond History, no 8 (1987).  Find out more and read the article here.

NEW Recalling Richmond’s early horse-drawn trams and motor buses

London United Tramways tram in front of its tram-shed, Kew Road, Richmond in about 1900

“The First Monarchs of the Richmond Roads” is a fascinating account of the early horse-drawn trams and motor buses which served Richmond and Kew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Written by Fred Windsor, it was originally published in the 1995 issue (no 16) of our annual journal  Richmond History . Fred records his personal experiences of riding on some of these early “bone-shakers”.  Find out more and download the article.

NEW Debunking myths about Richmond Park

King Henry’s Mound –  in Richmond Park –  which may have been a Neolithic burial barrow, has now been listed by Historic England as a scheduled monument. King Henry’s Mound is located within the public gardens of Pembroke Lodge.

Did Henry VIII stand on the mound to watch for a sign from St Paul’s Cathedral (which is visible from the mound) that Anne Boleyn had been executed at the Tower of London? There is no evidence to suggest that he did, according to our Society’s founder John Cloake in an article published in our journal Richmond History in 2014. You can read John Cloake’s article on the Richmond Park page on our website.

It is also sometimes suggested that the “deer leap” or “freebord“, the strip of land immediately outside Richmond Park’s wall, was designed so that if a deer managed to escape its hunters and get beyond the deer leap, it was then free from capture. That’s unlikely, says Richmond Park historian Dr Robert Wood, in an article about the freebord’s history. Find out more.

UPDATED Resources on Richmond’s history are at your fingertips

Our Resources pages also include:

Richmond Old Burial Ground

You can also read about the Selwyn family and the development of Richmond and the history of Richmond’s Congregational Church in The Vineyard.

Victory Day Richmond 1945

Victory Day Richmond Hill 1945 The end of the Second World War in Europe found Richmond battered but defiantly unbowed, says Simon Fowler. Most residents would have agreed with the Richmond Herald that: “life was not easy, yet the people were wonderfully cheery and the life of the town went on”. Continue reading…

Victory Day Richmond 1945, a painting by Richmond artist Mary Kent Harrison (nee Marryat), was exhibited at The New English Art Club in 1945 and is reproduced on the back cover of our book Richmond At War 1939-1945.

Her youngest son Stephen, who has set up a set up a website to record his mother’s work, says it was painted from the balcony at 1 The Terrace in Richmond, where Mary and her parents lived during the war years. You can read more about Mary Kent Harrison in the 2017 issue of our journal Richmond History.

Find out more about the Second World War in Richmond, and go on the Museum of Richmond’s virtual VE-Day Tour

While our talks are on hold, there is plenty to read in our journal during lockdown

See our calendar of forthcoming events  and list of forthcoming talks

How the view from Petersham Meadows might have changed had the proposed development of what is now the Petersham Hotel gone ahead. Painting by Ron Berryman.

In the 2020 issue of our journal, Richmond History, Ron Berryman writes about a founding member of the Richmond Society.  Isador Caplan lived on Richmond Hill and chaired the Society’s Architectural subcommittee; he was also the Richmond Parish Land Charity’s first chairman.

On learning that the then owner of what is now The Petersham Hotel was proposing to replace it with an 18-storey point block tower, Isador Caplan set up the Richmond Hill Committee, which became an amenity group within the Richmond Society, with the actor John Mills as president. It opposed the hotel’s plans, which were later withdrawn. It also scrutinised, and had some success in modifying, proposals for development of other hotels on Richmond Hill.

Ron says “Isador Caplan’s … legacy relies largely on a struggle to limit, due to commercial expansion, the consequential loss of green open space on Richmond Hill. In a last committee agenda, he imparts the adage ‘the price of amenity is eternal vigilance’. There is so much to admire him for.”

The new issue of Richmond History  is available direct from us, postage free,  if you pay with a credit card or debit card:


Richmond History 41

Our new journal – in colour

The 2020 issue of Richmond History, our annual journal, has now been published, two months earlier than previously.

For the first time, the journal has colour illustrations: 20 of its 98 pages are in colour. It’s priced at £7 and is available from our own online bookshop, postage free (if you live in the UK). There’s a discount of £2 for members: please see the link below.

What’s in this issue:

  • early street names in Richmond
  • anti-alien agitation in Richmond in 1918
  • two prominent families in Ham and Petersham who were linked by marriage and had royal connections
  • the architecture of St Anne’s Church, Kew
  • a momentous conversation in Richmond Palace between Elizabeth I and Francis Drake; and
  • Isador Caplan’s Richmond Hill Committee and the founding of The Richmond Society.

Following on from his talk in February, Martin Stilwell describes Kew and North Richmond’s industrialisation in the First World War, and Robert Wood has written up his very well received talk last year on Richmond’s first balloon flight. Although Stephen Bartlett’s talk on Lawn Crescent, Kew, has been postponed, he has a piece in this issue about the street’s history and its early residents.


Richmond History 41

Old Palace Lane: a new edition

We also now have a new, second edition of Old Palace Lane by Derek Robinson and Simon Fowler. Old Palace Lane is arguably Richmond’s most historic street. Many of the changes and developments that have made the town what it is today are reflected in this quiet little lane, the former tradesman’s entrance to Richmond Palace .

Originally published jointly by the Society and by the Museum of Richmond as a booklet to accompany the Museum’s 2017 exhibition on the lane’s history, this new edition incorporates some corrections and amendments and has been reformatted in a larger size with a thicker cover and a spine. It has 48 pages, four of them with historic maps of Richmond, and colour throughout.

The book is is priced at £7, and is available direct from us using the link below:


Old Palace Lane

Also now available: books on Richmond’s vicars and on local street names

A recent addition to our online bookshop is Derek Robinson’s new book The Vicars of Richmond. The stories he has uncovered about the ministers of St Mary Magdalene, Richmond since the 16th century 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, using the link below:



The Vicars of Richmond

The Streets of Richmond and Kew returned to our publications list in 2019 after a very long gap: the first edition was published in 1989 and the second in 1990. Many Society members, including the late David Blomfield, contributed to this new, third edition, which has 140 pages and includes a full colour map. It describes how each of Richmond and Kew’s streets was named and their wider significance for our local area’s history.

You can buy it, using a credit card or debit card, direct from us, using the link below:



The Streets of Richmond and Kew