Richmond Upon Thames - Page One
The London Borough of Richmond is situated on the Thames. It is downstream from Kingston, another historic town on London's river.
The Borough consists of Barnes, Mortlake and Sheen, Ham and Petersham, the Hamptons, Kew, Richmond, St. Margarets, Teddington, Twickenham - Eel Pie Island, Strawberry Hill - and Whitton.
For centuries Richmond upon Thames, known as Shene, was the home of royalty. Edward III (1327-1377) and Henry V (1413-1422) both had palaces by the river and later, Henry VII, formerly known as the Earl of Richmond (in Yorkshire), built Richmond Palace. The Palace, completed in 1501, marked the beginning the five hundred year history of Richmond upon Thames.
Henry VIII lived at Richmond Palace until moving to nearby Hampton Court Palace. Elizabeth I, Henry's daughter, favoured Richmond Palace, where she died in 1603.
Bushy Park, one of two Royal Parks in the borough, is quite near Hampton Court and was used by Henry VIII for hunting. During the reign of Charles I, Richmond [Royal] Park, now the largest park in London, was enclosed behind an eight mile long wall. Richmond Park, like Bushy Park, still has free roaming deer.
Ham House and Gardens, a Stuart mansion built on the banks of the River Thames in 1610, is now a National Trust Property. The house has associations with Civil War politics and the period known as the English Restoration.
Marble Hill House in Twickenham was provided by George II in the 1740s for his mistress, Henrietta Howard. The house, set in sixty acres of parkland next to the River Thames, is an impressive example of Palladian architecture. Neighbours included Alexander Pope (1688-1744), the poet, and Horace Walpole (1717-1797), the writer; both had villas in nearby Strawberry Hill.
The site of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew belonged to the Kew Estate which in the early 1730s was the home of Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George II and Queen Caroline. Eventually Kew became a centre of scientific research, developing with the Empire, under the patronage of Queen Victoria. In 2003 the Royal Botanic Gardens was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Borough has also been home to many artists and writers. JMW Turner (1775-1851) lived in Sandycoombe Road in Twickenham for many years; Alfred Tennyson lived in Montpelier Row, Twickenham, from 1851 to 1853 and Virginia Woolf moved to Hogarth House in Paradise Road, Richmond, in 1915. Sir Noel Coward (1899-1973), the actor, playwright and songwriter was born in Waldegrave Road in Teddington.
Throughout the twentieth century Richmond continued to attract the famous. The actor John Mills lived with his daughters, actresses Juliet and Hayley, in the family home on Richmond Hill and Lord Richard Attenborough, the film producer, and Pete Townshend of the Who were also residents of the Borough.
Tommy Steele, the fifties singer, was perhaps the first rock musician to move to Richmond. Steele's house is outside Richmond town, not far from seventeenth century Ham House.
The Rolling Stones have a long association with the area that started with residencies at the Crawdaddy Club (opposite Richmond Station) in 1963 and Eel Pie Island in Twickenham. Years later Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall bought a house on Richmond Hill overlooking an impressive view of the Thames. Mick's fellow Stone, Ron Woods, at one time owned John Mills' favourite house "The Wick" on the Hill.
Richmond has become an increasingly metropolitan area full of shops, restaurants, pubs and theatres. During the cricket season games are played on the Greens in Richmond, Twickenham and Kew and throughout the year oarsmen can be seen daily skimming the Tideway.
In the rugby season Richmond and Twickenham welcome many rugby fans as Twickenham has been the home of English Rugby Union since the first international match between England and Wales was played in 1910. The Museum of Rugby in the Twickenham grounds exhibits rugby memorabilia and the history of the game can be experienced through videos and touch-screen computers. (2002)
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