Victorian London - Districts - Richmond

[ ... back to main menu for this book]

Richmond.—One of the prettiest and most favourite suburbs, especially for summer parties. Magnificent deer-park (Crown property), 2,253 acres, about one mile from station. Lovely view over river. Principal hotels: “Star and Garter,” on top of the hill at park-gates, and “Castle,” in the town— both dear, especially former. More moderate: “Roebuck,” on terrace. “Greyhound,” in the main Street, very reasonable, Richmond has of late been much affected by business men as a residence, and rents accordingly are enormously high, In choosing a house bear in mind that about one-third of the place is on gravel and the remainder on heavy clay. FLYS, 2/6 per hour. BOATS, up to 4 persons, 1/- first hour, -/6 after; 5 or 6, 1/6 first hour, 1/- after, 10/- per day; party of 8 or more, 3/- first hour, 2/6 after with man, or 15/- per day. STEAMERS run from London-bridge Sundays and Mondays during the summer months, at 10 am., calling at all piers up the river; fares, 1/- single 1/6 return. There is also a special service for the Easter holidays. TRAINS from Waterloo (loop line) at frequent intervals (about 30 min) 1st 1/3, 2/-; 2nd, 1/-, 1/6; 3rd; --/9, 1/3. From the Mansion-house (about 47 min. ), 1st, 1/6, 2/3; and, 1/3, 1/9; 3rd ,-/10, 1/8. From Aldgate (about 60 min.), 1st, 1/8, 2/6; 2nd, 1/4, 1/11; 3rd, -/11,1/8. Omnibuses run from Broad-street, City, at 10.10 and 11.55 am, and 12.39, 3, and 5.30 p,m. During winter they run on Sundays only, Cab fare direct.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

Richmond, Surrey, on the right bank, from London 15½ miles [sic, ed.], from Oxford 96 miles. A station on the Windsor branch of the London and South Western Railway, 9¾; miles from Waterloo· average duration of journey rather less than  ½ hour. Richmond is also in communication with Ludgate-hill (from 1 hour to 1½ hour); Mansion House (about ¾; hour); Broad-street (about 1 hour); and Aldgate (1 hour). Steamboats occasionally run to Richmond in the summer. Population, 15,110. Soil, clay, sand, and gravel.
    Richmond, one of the most favourite excursions of Londoners of all classes, received its present name from Henry VII., having previously been called Sheen which name still survives at East Sheen, one of the entrances to Richmond Park. For a long period Sheen was a royal residence. The first three Edwards resided there. The third, unable to bear the associations of the place after it had been the scene of the death of his wife, dismantled it, but Henry V. restored it, and also founded a great monastery of Carthusians, and a grand tournament at Henry VII's manor of Richmond is on record. Henry VIII. also occasionally visited the Surrey palace, and at one time lent it to Wolsey. Queen Elizabeth was imprisoned at Richmond, where she afterwards frequently resided, and where she died. Part of Charles I's troubled life was passed here. The palace stood on the spot now known as the Green, and has long since disappeared.
    From a small village Richmond has rapidly grown into a considerable town, and building is still actively carried on. Its convenient distance from London, beautiful and healthy situation, and pleasant neighbourhood, all combine to  males it attractive to those who have daily business in town, and still want a certain amount of fresh air, while the railway facilities have been greatly increased and improved of late years. Houses, therefore, of all classes, from the mansion to the cottage, have been lately springing up in all directions. The principal business streets are George-street and Hill-street; the principal residential portion of the town being about the hill. Nothing in the neighbourhood of London is better known or more delightful than the view from Richmond Hill and Terrace, and when Sir Walter Scott described it as an unrivalled landscape, he was hardly saying too much. At the top of the hill is the Great Park, some eight miles in circumference, and affording an infinite variety of delightful walks and drives. There are entrances from Richmond Hill, East Sheen, Roehampton, Wimbledon, and Kingston. Cabs are not admitted. Angling in the Pen Ponds only by special permission. The view of Richmond Hill and town from the river, here crossed by a stone bridge of five arches, is extremely good.
    The Richmond Theatre, once very popular and associated with many great names - notably with that of Edmund Kean - is on the Green; but in regard to public amusements generally Richmond is practically a London suburb, and the Waterloo Station is too near the great theatrical district about the Strand to give the Richmond Theatre a very brilliant chance. There is a parochial library of about 3,000 volumes and reading-room at 2, The Quadrant. The subscription is 6s. per annum, or 2s. per quarter, with 6d. entrance fee. Entertainments and lectures are given in the winter months. The Richmond Piscatorial Society has been recently established, with head-quarters at the "Station Hotel." The Associated Home Company has been started at Richmond with the object of providing "a private home, freed by a joint system of board and service from the burdens and troubles of isolated housekeeping." A handsome mansion on Richmond Hill has been secured, and board and service is charged £2 2s. per week. Rooms are from 10s. 6d. to £2 2s. per week.
    The church is of the hideous red brick usual hereabouts, but unpromising as it appears from a cursory view, it contains many monuments of note. Here was buried Edmund Kean, and a tablet to his memory, with a medallion portrait, has been erected. Here also the poet Thomson was interred, and a brass in the west of the north aisle tells us: "The Earl of Buchan, unwilling that so good a man and sweet a poet should be without a memorial, has denoted the place of his interment for the satisfaction of his admirers in the year of our Lord 1792." In the chancel on the right is a mural monument, with two principal and seven subsidiary kneeling figures in stone or alabaster, to Lady Dorothie Wright, 1631, and an early brass to Robert Cotton, "officer of the remooving wardroppe of ye beddes to Queene Marie." On the left is a monument with kneeling figures to Lady Margaret Chudleigh, 1628; and a tablet with two marble full. length angels, by E. H. Baily, R.A., to Samuel Paynter, who died in 1844. In the south aisle is a monument by Flaxman, a full- length marble figure of a female, apparently leaning on a pillar-letterbox, to Mrs. Barbara Lowther, 1805. This was erected by the Duchess of Bolton, Mrs. Lowther's sister. In the south gallery is a mural monument, surmounted by a bust, to Robert Lewes, who appears to have been a barrister. This bears an odd Latin epitaph, commencing "Eheu viator siste gradum paulisper," and ending "Abi viator et cave ne posthac Litiges." As Cook's local guide observes, Robert Lewes "was such a great lover of peace and quietness, that when a contention arose in his body between life and death, he immediately gave up the ghost to end the dispute." The remaining churches are modern erections of no special attractiveness. On Richmond Hill is the Wesleyan Theological Institution for the training of ministers. There are almshouses for over seventy poor people, of which Hickeys Almshouses are said to have an income of more than £1,000 a year.
    Many celebrated names besides those connected with the church of St. Mary Magdalen are associated with Richmond. Dean Swift lived in a house on the site of the old monastery, and Thomson, the poet, lived and died in the house now used as the Richmond Hospital. The matron's sitting-room was occupied by him, and is still called Thomson's Room.
    BANKS - London and County, George-street; London and Provincial, Hill-street.
    FIRE. - Engine-station, The Square.
    HOSPITAL.-ThS Richmond Hospital.
    HOTELS AND INNS.- "Greyhound," "King's Head," "Star and Garter," "Talbot", "Three Pigeons."
    PLACES OF WORSHIP. [I have omitted times of service which appear here, ed.] - Hickey's Almshouses Chapel  ... Holy Trinity ... St. John's .... St. Mary Magdalen (Parish) ... St. Matthias ... Catholic (St. Elizabath's) ... Baptist (Duke Street) ... Baptist (Strict), Park Shot ... Congregational, Vineyard ... Independent (Bethlehem) ... Presbyterian, Little Green ... Primitive Methodist, Lower George-street ... Wesleyan, Kew-road ... Wesleyan College Chapel ...
    POLICE. - Metropolitan (V Division) : Station, George-street.
    POSTAL ARRANGEMENTS. - Post Office (money order, savings bank, telegraph, insurance), George-street. Mails from London 6.30 and 8.30 a.m., 1.35 and 6.55 p.m. No delivery on Sunday, but letters are delivered on Saturday at 9 p.m. Mails for London, 6.15 and 9.35 a.m., 12.30, 3.5, 4.30, 9.15 and 10 p.m.; Sunday 7 p.m.
    NEAREST Bridges, Richmond; up, Kingston 5 miles; down, Kew 3 miles. Ferries, Petersham and Isleworth.
    FARES to Waterloo, 1st. 1/3, 2/-; 2nd., 1/-, 1/6; 3rd, -/9, 1/3. To Broad-street, 1st, 1/6, 2/3; 2nd., 1/2, 1/8; 3rd., 1/-, 1/6. To Ludgate-hill or Mansion House, 1st., 1/6, 2/3; 2nd., 1/3, 1/9; 3rd., 1/-, 1/6. To Aldgate, 1st., 1/8, 2/6; 2nd., 1/4, 1/11; 3rd., -/11, 1/8.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of the Thames, 1881

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - The Stars and Garter, Richmond

Star and Garter, Richmond - photograph


Just as the river is the most conspicuous object in the view from the "Star and Garter," so the "Star and Garter" is the most conspicuous object in the view from the river. - This well-known hostelry is built above the terrace on Richmond Hill, close to the principal entrance to Richmond Park. It literally towers on its proud eminence above the finely timbered slopes, and can be seen for many a mile around. The "Star and Garter" was even more famous, perhaps, a generation or two ago, when Richmond, to quote Mr. Meredith, was "the Cockney Paradise," than it is now. Dickens and Thackeray were very fond of the hotel and here for twenty years the former celebrated the anniversary of his wedding. It was here, also, that Louis Philippe stayed with his family when in England.

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - Richmond Lock and Footbridge

Richmond Lock and Footbridge - photograph


Richmond Lock, opened by H.R.H. the Duke of York, in May, 1894, is the first and largest on the river Thames, and can contain six barges and a tug at one time. Across the river, which is wide at this spot, stretch three steel sluices, each weighing 32 tons and measuring 66 feet in width and 12 feet in depth; and as these, when raised, remain in a horizontal position, neither the view of this picturesque neighbourhood nor the headway is obstructed. In the picture here presented the sluices are down. The lock proper is on the Surrey side of the stream ; on the Middlesex side is a slipway. The effect of the arrangement as a whole is permanently to secure a fine sheet of water above Richmond Bridge. The five arches of the footbridge are of steel, while the piers are of concrete.

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - View from Richmond Hill

View from Richmond Hill - photograph


The view from Richmond hill is, by universal consent, the finest within a few miles of London indeed, of its kind, it is difficult to surpass anywhere. Between banks of varying green, winds the silver ribbon of the Thames, ever narrowing as it recedes, with many a willow-topped eyot; the country spreads out before us as on a map, and everywhere there close in dense masses of foliage. Here and there may be noticed a steeple or tower; and in the distance a bright line of colour, if it be early summer, may mark the chestnut avenue of Bushv Park; but else it might almost seem, from this particular spot, as though most of the country below were a vast stretch of forest. It is this woodland appearance, so close to time greatest city in the world, that makes the scene so peculiar as well as so beautiful.

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - Richmond Bridge

Richmond Bridge - photograph


A delightful view of the once royal town of Richmond and of splendidly-wooded Richmond Hill is obtainable from the tow-path below the Bridge. This structure, in which "Attic elegance and strength unite,'' cost £26,000, and was erected in 1777. It serves to connect Richmond with St. Margarets, on the Middlesex side. The campanile on the left lends a foreign aspect to the town as seen in our picture. The famous . Star and Garter crowns the hill further on. Here the Thames runs swiftly, although less so than before the new lock was built a little lower down, as boating parties well know. Between the bank and the island on the right there is generally a fishing party moored in a punt and the sailing barges higher up are familiar objects.

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - Richmond Church

Richmond Church - photograph


What Richmond Church may lack in beauty it makes up in interest. The tower is very old, but the body of the Church is less ancient, and has several times been renovated. Thomson, the author of "The Castle of Indolence" and of "The Seasons," who died in 1748, lies buried at the west end of the north aisle; and a mural brass states that "the Earl of Buchan, unwilling that so good a man and sweet a poet should be without a memorial, has denoted the place of his interment, for the satisfaction of his admirers, in the year of our Lord 1792." Edmund Kean, the great actor, was also buried in the Church; and in the churchyard lie many whose names have not ceased to be familiar.

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - White Lodge, Richmond

White Lodge, Richmond -  photograph


In the middle of Richmond Park, at the end of a long avenue of noble trees, is the royal residence known by the modest name of White Lodge, now occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Teck. It was Queen Caroline's favourite home here Queen Victoria lived for a time after the death of the Duchess of Kent, and here also the Prince of Wales resided for a while before his marriage. At the White Lodge, too, the elder son of the Duke and Duchess of York was born. Among the heirlooms of the place are portraits of George III. and of Queen Charlotte, the latter presented to Lord Sidmouth, formerly Mr. Addington, by the King.