Category Archives: Uncategorized

Our header image is of The Hanging of Richard Milhill , 1767, a painting by Ron Berryman, one of our members. Ron painted it to illustrate his article on the same subject in our annual journal, Richmond History 39 (2018) Copies of that issue, and the current 2020 issue of the journal in which Ron also has an article, are available from our online bookshop and from Kew Bookshop and The Open Book in Richmond.

NEW Winston Churchill in Richmond Park

Eighty years ago, in October 1940, the Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a surprise visit during the Blitz to the Anti-Aircraft Battery near Sheen Gate in Richmond Park. 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, or from Kew Bookshop, the Open Book in Richmond and our own online bookshop.

COMING UP Our next talk is on Monday 9 November at Duke Street Church

Dr Matthew Bingham

Our November talk will be a joint event with Duke Street Church, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary. The speaker will be Dr Matthew Bingham, Lecturer in Systematic Theology and Church History at Oak Hill College, London. His talk will be on Where Did the Baptists of Richmond Come From? Exploring the Seventeenth-Century Origins of English Baptists.

Christmas Pudding (from Mrs Beeton’s The Book of Household Management: 1861).

  • Our December talk will be by Sylvia Levi, with Simon Fowler. (George Goodwin’s talk has been postponed until December 2021.) Sylvia and Simon will be telling us about Christmas food and drink in Richmond.

UPDATED Catch up on our previous talks

East Sheen Cemetery (Wikimedia Commons: David Howard / East Sheen cemetery / CC BY-SA 2.0)

We were delighted that 50 people logged in to the Society’s first ever event via Zoom – our postponed AGM and a talk by Simon Fowler on Local Lives: Richmond residents remembered – on 14 September. Unsurprisingly, we had a couple of hiccups, which is all to be expected given that delivering events via Zoom is a new challenge for us all. But as one of the participants said when they emailed us afterwards: “The technical hitches all add to the atmosphere.” Our thanks to Simon for an interesting and entertaining talk and for remaining unflustered.

You can now read reports of this and some of our other previous talks.

Klaus Fuchs

Thank you to everyone who attended the talk on 12 October by Mark Dunton of The National Archives on the atomic spy Klaus Fuchs (and his fascinating connection with Kew). This was yet another first for the Society – we held the event simultaneously at Duke Street Church and via Zoom. And it was our first event at Duke Street without the church’s familiar but inflexible cinema-style seating.

There were 37 people in the audience at Duke Street and another 33 logged in via Zoom: an impressive turnout. The actual numbers of those attending were much higher, as many of the Zoom attendees were couples.

Mark did a great job in adapting, for a local history audience, a talk he had given at The National Archives last year. Our locality had a bit part – and a rather surprising one – in a story of considerable international significance.

RLHS member john Foley, who wrote up Simon’s talk in September, is also writing up Mark’s talk on Klaus Fuchs and we will publish that on the website in due course

Our new journal – in colour

The 2020 issue of our journal Richmond History has, for the first time, colour illustrations: 20 of its 98 pages are in colour. It’s priced at £7 (£5 for members) and is available from our own online bookshop, postage free (if you live in the UK).

What’s in this issue:

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.


  • what Richmond’s early street names can tell us
  • anti-alien agitation in Richmond in the November 1918 general election
  • two prominent families in Ham and Petersham who were linked by marriage and had royal connections
  • what inspired 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.

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Richmond History 41

NEW Two ten-minute talks on Richmond

The speaking notes and accompanying slides for two ten-minute talks by our Vice-Chair, Simon Fowler, have been posted on the British Association for Local History’s website. 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

As well as promoting our printed publications, we have been adding an increasing number of resources online about our area’s history. Our Resources pages include:

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

 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.

 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.

 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.

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

Old Palace Lane: a new edition

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 of Derek Robinson and Simon Fowler’s book 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