News archive

30 years, 30 people, 30 objects

Alyson Barr, one of the 30 people who selected objects for the Museum’s 30th anniversary exhibition

The Museum of Richmond’s 30th anniversary exhibition ran from October 2018 to February 2019. Taking the theme 30 years, 30 people, 30 objects and memories, it illustrated the Museum’s history through 30 people who have contributed to its development and who have selected objects from the Museum’s collection to help tell its story. Our society was well represented, with contributions from our President, Paul Velluet, and three committee members – Robert Smith, Simon Fowler and Alyson Barr.

Richmond’s Christmas history on the radio

Our Vice-Chair, Simon Fowler, talked about “Christmas in Richmond” on Nicky Patrick’s Up Close show on BBC Radio Surrey  on Thursday 13 December 2018.

The Richmond Society’s heritage walks

Our President, Paul Velluet, led a fascinating heritage walk on 23 May 2018 for The Richmond Society, looking at exemplary 1970s social housing in Queens Road estate and the 1930s/1960s housing in this splendid garden at Courtlands.

Charles I’s childhood friend William Murray wasn’t a whipping boy, says RLHS member Tony Adler in The Times

William Murray, 1st Earl of Dysart, who lived in Ham House

It is often said that William Murray, who was educated alongside Charles I and was granted the lease of Ham House in 1626, was a “whipping boy”, who received corporal punishment for the transgressions of his royal childhood friend. In an article for the Society’s journal Richmond History 36 (2015), Tony Adler, one of our members, says that there is no evidence to back this claim. Tony has been successful in having references to Murray’s supposed whipping boy role removed from the National Trust’s website and from the education website BBC Bitesize. The Times ran a news story about it on 16 January 2018. Find out more

It’s good to see that an issue first covered in an article in our journal has made such a big impact!

Remembering Harold Penderton

If you went to Alan Sherriff’s excellent talk to the Society in April 2015, you’ll know about Harold Pendleton’s role in creating the very first National Jazz Festival, here in Richmond, and how it became today’s Reading Festival. Alan spoke warmly about Harold and was just as surprised as the rest of us that Harold was in the audience, listening to his talk. Harold passed away, aged 93, in September 2017, and The Guardian has published an obituary:…/…/31/harold-pendleton-obituary

Alan Sherriff points out that the obituary does not touch on the Richmond Jazz and Blues Festival other than obliquely as the “Marquee’s garden party”, He spoke briefly to Harold and his wife, Barbara, after his 2015 talk.

Alan asked him why the Richmond Jazz and Blues Festival had not been allowed to continue anywhere in the borough of Richmond after 1965.  “Harold”, he said, “had been summoned to Whitehall and  been told rather bluntly that there was no point in him pursuing his objections.” Harold had been convinced that strong lobbying from other users of the Richmond Athletic Ground about overnight encroachments by a few camping Festival-goers was the sole reason for him being kicked out of Richmond. “Perhaps”, Alan added, “we should have asked Simon Inglis after his excellent talk if he knew more about this particular sporting issue!”

Harold also told Alan the story about the incident with Keith Richards at the Marquee Club which features in the obituary. “I also commented” said Alan “on the great logo for the Richmond Jazz and Blues Festival – the trumpet on a bentwood chair – and Barbara, who worked closely with Harold on the organisation of the Jazz and Blues Festivals, indicated that this was used by kind permission of the Monterrey Jazz Festival which Harold attended on a regular basis with Chris Barber. They were close friends of the founders of the earlier US festival. Barbara added that the logo featured prominently on Harold’s 90th birthday cake,”

Going the extra mile

Councillor Paul Hodgins, Leader of Richmond upon Thames
Council, presented an award to Liz Velluet at a civic ceremony
on 15 September 2017.

Liz, who has been Secretary of the Richmond Local History Society for an astounding 38 years (and still going!), was recognised as having gone the extra mile to serve her community.

Congratulations, Liz, and thank you!

Celebrating Richmond’s heritage

Robert Smith and Shirley Newton on our stand at The National Archives’ Open Day. Photo by Judith Church

Our winning team: Liz Velluet, Shirley Newton, Simon Fowler, Sylvia Levi, Paul Velluet and Robert Smith. Photo by Janine Stanford








The Society took part in The National Archives’ open day on 16 September 2017, marking its 40 years in Kew. We had a bookstall and our President, Paul Velluet, and our Vice-Chair, Simon Fowler, gave talks.

With a one-point lead over its nearest rivals, the Society beat eight other teams at the In The Know local history quiz on 1 September 2017 at Richmond’s Old Town Hall, brilliantly organised as always by Jane Baxter and the Richmond Local Studies team. Now in its fifth year, the quiz kicked off a month-long celebration of Richmond’s heritage in the annual Know Your Place Festival, which also included guided walks, talks, tours, workshops and exhibitions.

Alyson Barr (committee member), Simon Barr (Vice-Chair and Editor, Richmond History), Liz Velluet (Secretary), Lisa Blakemore (Mayor of Richmond upon Thames) and Robert Smith (Chairman and Web Editor) at the Society’s bookstall for the Shared heritage event at Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, in November 2017

And on 5 November, 2017 Richmond’s Mayor, Councillor Lisa Blakemore, joined us at our Shared heritage event at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park, generously provided by Daniel Hearsum.

Calling time at the Star and Garter

Robert Smith, our Chairman, represented the Society at a ceremony on 6 April 2017 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 2017 at the former Home.