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Summary Article: Richmond-upon-Thames
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Outer borough of southwest Greater London, the only London borough with land on both sides of the River Thames, including the districts of Kew, Teddington, Twickenham, and Hampton; population (2001) 172,300. Industries in the borough include brewing, printing, and electrical engineering.

Features of the borough include the Royal Botanic gardens at Kew; the Maids of Honour Row, Richmond (1724), a terrace of four houses for maids of honour attending the Princess of Wales; the gatehouse of the former Richmond Palace; and Richmond Theatre (1899). There are early 18th-century houses around Richmond Green. Richmond Park, 1,000 hectares/2,470 acres with 11 gates, is the largest urban park in Britain, enclosed by Charles I for hunting, with ancient oaks, deer, and contains White Lodge, the home of the Royal Ballet School. Other noteworthy buildings include Garrick's Villa, Hampton, acquired by David Garrick in 1754 and altered by Robert Adam; Old Court House, Hampton, the last home of Christopher Wren; Faraday House, Hampton, the home of Michael Faraday; Ham House, Petersham (1610), with a 17th-century garden; and Hampton Court Palace, begun by Thomas Wolsey in 1514. Bushy Park (acquired by Wolsey in 1514) contains Bushy House, built in 1665 and remodelled c. 1720, which houses the National Physical Laboratory. The highest tidal point of the River Thames can be found at Teddington. Twickenham Rugby football ground, headquarters of the Rugby Football Union, is found in the borough. Barnes Common; 18th- and 19th-century Barnes terrace, facing River Thames; Kneller Hall, Twickenham, home of the Royal Military School of Music, are also features of the area.

Famous people Virginia and Leonard Woolf set up the Hogarth Press here. Thomas Traherne and R D Blackmore lived in Teddington; Henry Fielding in Barnes.

Places of historical interest Richmond is a royal borough and Edward I built a palace here in the 13th century. It was rebuilt and enlarged by Henry VII, who held a tournament in Richmond in 1492. An archway, Wardrobe Court, and the Gatehouse are the only remains of the palace of Sheen, in which Edward III and Elizabeth I both died. Near these remains, forming one side of Richmond Green, is Maids of Honour Row, built to house the ladies of the court during George I's reign. Richmond Hill, on which Joshua Reynolds once lived, commands a famous view of the meadows, uplands, woods, and of the islands of the winding Thames, on whose bank the town stands. Reynolds and Joseph Turner are among the many artists to have painted this view. Richmond Park was enclosed as a hunting and pleasure ground by Charles I, and still shelters herds of wild deer. Edmund Kean, who leased Richmond Theatre (first established in 1719), is buried in the parish churchyard, as is the author of ‘The Seasons’, James Thomson. Ham House, built in 1610 by Sir Thomas Vavasour, stands on the banks of the Thames in the nearby village of Petersham. The house was greatly extended in the 18th century by the Countess of Dysart and her husband, the Duke of Lauderdale. It is now open to the public, under the Victoria and Albert Museum, and has fine furniture and works by the Dutch painter Peter Lely. The church of St Mary the Virgin at Mortlake, which was founded in 1348, rebuilt in 1543, and often enlarged, contains memorials to Sir Philip Francis, the bitter opponent of Warren Hastings, and Sir John Temple, besides many tombs of celebrities, notably of John Dee, the 16th-century philosopher and astrologer. Mortlake was famous for its tapestry works in the 17th century and Charles I was a patron of the factory. Mortlake is the finishing point of the annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Twickenham Twickenham is mentioned in the second oldest Middlesex charter (704), when the land was granted to the Bishop of London. It became fashionable in the 17th century and maintained and strengthened its attractions in the 18th. Among its residents have been the philosopher and writer Sir Francis Bacon, the dramatist John Gay, the novelist Henry Fielding, the society hostess Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, the actor Kitty Clive, Charles Dickens, J M W Turner, Charles Tennyson (poet and elder brother of Alfred Tennyson), and Walter de la Mare. York House, built in the late-17th century and now municipal offices, was once owned by James, Duke of York; Queen Anne lived there as a child. Kneller Hall, built between 1709 and 1711 and since altered, was the house of the painter Godfrey Kneller, and is now the headquarters of the Royal Military School of Music. Marble Hill, an example of the English Palladian style, standing in beautiful grounds on the banks of the Thames, was restored in 1966. The house was built by the Duchess of Suffolk, the mistress of George II, and was at one time occupied by Mrs Fitzherbert, George IV's morganatic wife.

Twickenham is chiefly noted for its associations with the poet Alexander Pope and the politician Horace Walpole. Pope's Villa, where he lived from 1719 until his death in 1744, and where many celebrities of his day met, was pulled down in 1807. All that now remains of the once-famous Grotto is a passage under the road, now used to connect the two halves of a school that has been built on the site. Walpole settled in a cottage close by in 1747, and in 1750 began to reconstruct it in a Gothic style, progressively enlarging it with the help of several architects, until the fantastic mixture of mansion and castle was completed in 1776. Strawberry Hill, as the castle was named, had a considerable influence on architectural taste in the 19th century. It is now St Mary's Training College, a Roman Catholic teacher-training establishment. The oldest surviving building in Twickenham is the 15th-century tower of the parish church, which was retained when the church was rebuilt in 1714–15. Pope is buried in the church.

Hampton In the early 13th century the manor of Hampton passed to the order of St John of Jerusalem, from whom Cardinal Wolsey obtained a 99-year lease in 1514 in order to build his palace. In the 18th-century Hampton became a fashionable residential area. The actor David Garrick lived there from 1754 until his death in 1779. His house near the river, now called Garrick Villa, was enlarged by Robert Adam. Facing Hampton Court Green, which is just by Hampton Court Palace, are some very good examples of domestic architecture, including the Old Court House, where the architect Christopher Wren lived from 1706 until he died in 1723, and Faraday House, where the scientist Michael Faraday lived between 1858 and 1867. The parish church at Hampton-on-Thames, built in 1830 on the site of an older church, contains monuments of notable people, including residents of Hampton Court Palace. The bridge over the Thames at Hampton Court was designed in 1933 by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Teddington Teddington belonged to the abbey of Westminster until the Dissolution. It is the highest tidal point on the Thames, and its lock (built in 1811) is the largest (198 m/650 ft by 7.6 m/25 ft) on the river. Teddington is the point where the discharge is gauged, and is the limit of the jurisdiction of the Port of London Authority. The National Physical Laboratory is at Teddington.

Bushy Park (445 ha/1,112 acres), which lies between Teddington and Hampton Court, was laid out in its present form by William III.

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

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