Richmond, Kingston and Surbiton walk
Report by urban75 editor, Mar 2006
A winter walk along the Thames (8 miles approx).
Meet up point was at Richmond station, which is at the western end of the District line. Seeing as didn't fancy an eternity on the tube, we caught the overground train from Vauxhall station which whisked there in 15 minutes.
There was a big turn out, with several more walkers scooped up along the route. Here, tour leader han furnishes us with some fascinating facts.
Despite being less than five minutes from the start, we managed to promptly lose several of our group by the time we reached Richmond Green and had to hang about while han headed up a search party.
The Green was the site of jousting in the 15th and 16th century when Tudor Kings and Queens stayed at nearby Richmond Palace.
The Green enjoys a long history of hosting village cricket, traditional fairs and community celebrations.
Attractive Victorian cottages on Old Palace Lane which leads down to the Thames.
Richmond railway bridge with Twickenham road bridge in the background.
A plaque on the railway bridge gives the construction details: 'Made and Erected By The Horseley Co Ltd., London and Tipton, 1908.'
Richmond Riverside, near Richmond Bridge.
Designed by Quinlan Terry between 1984-7, the Richmond Riverside Development incorporates two listed buildings with a large river-facing facade displaying a rich palette of 18th-century architecture.
This included elements of English and Italian architecture, in particular Palladio, Longhena, Sansovino, Hawksmoor, William Chambers and the Gothic revival of the 19th century.
This large development comprises of offices, flats, shops, two restaurants, community facilities, two underground car parks and riverside gardens.
Listed boathouses on Richmond Riverside, near Richmond Bridge.
Built in the 1830s for the St. Helena Terrace row of houses above, they were originally used to store coal which was delivered by river barge.
In later years they were used for boats and for general storage.
Built in 1777 to replace an earlier ferry crossing, Richmond Bridge connects Richmond upon Thames on the south bank with St. Margarets, on the north side.
The Thames forms an 'S-bend' shape here, with the north and south banks usually referred to as the 'Middlesex' and 'Surrey' banks - the historic counties to which each side once belonged.
Stored boats, Richmond.
Formerly brick works, the Terrace Gardens Terrace Gardens were laid out in the 1880s and later extended down to the River Thames some 40 years later. The arches are also a nice warm spot for homeless people.
More facts from our guide!
Squeezing through the gate into Petersham Meadows. This is one of London's last remaining smallholdings where cows graze on land that's been protected since 1902.
Joining the Thames-side path at Petersham Meadows.
Heading south along a rather muddy path.
The Royal Star and Garter Home on Star and Garter Hill was established in 1916 and looks after disabled ex-Service men and women.
Seen across the river, Marble Hill House is a Palladian villa built 1724-1729 for Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk, and mistress of King George II.
Set in 66 acres of parkland known as Marble Hill park, the house is now owned by English Heritage with its extensive gardens offering cricket pitches and nets, tennis courts, putting green and a children's play area.
Hammerton's ferry, Twickenham. The original Twickenham Ferry dates from around the reign of King John and was granted a licence in 1692.
The current ferry was started by Walter Hammerton in 1908 and provides a crossing from Marble Hill Park to Ham House.
Another fact outburst!
Built in 1610, Ham House is unique in Europe as 'the most complete survival of 17th-century fashion and power.'
Enlarged in the 1670s, it's one of a series of palaces and grand houses along the banks of the Thames and was occupied by the same family until 1948.
Surviving outbuildings include an orangery, ice house, still house and dairy with cast iron 'cows legs' supporting marble slabs.
It's also claimed to be one of the most haunted houses in Britain!
It may not look like much, but Eel Pie island was once home to the famous Eel Pie hotel where the Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd etc. all performed between 1962 and 1967.
Starting life as a 19th century tourist attraction, the hotel - with its sprung dance floor - hosted 'tea dances' in the 1920s and 30s.
Weekly jazz dances followed, featuring the likes of George Melly, Ken Colyer and Kenny Ball before Rhythm & Blues took over in the early 60s.
Eel Pie Island was forced to close in 1967 after the owner could not meet the £200,000 worth of repairs which the police had deemed necessary, with squatters promptly moving in.
A brief renaissance saw the premises relaunched as Colonel Barefoot's Rock Garden, with progressive bands like Black Sabbath and the Edgar Broughton Band rocking the joint until a 'mysterious' fire put paid to the club forever in 1971.
Located at the end of the tidal reach of the Thames, Teddington Lock is a complex of four "locks", called (from the north) boat rollers, skiff lock, launch lock and a large barge lock with an extra set of gates at half distance.
Before construction of the lock in 1811 the river was tidal as far as Kingston.
Part of the lock complex.
In 1888 - 89 two footbridges designed by G. Pooley replaced the ferry at Teddington.
Meeting on the island at Teddington, the bridge in this scene is a suspension bridge (undergoing renovation), while the shorter structure crossing from the Surrey bank is of a less attractive girder construction.
Lunch at the Tide Inn Cottage, 8 Ferry Road, Teddington. this was a great pub and the food was fabulous!
Leaving the pub.
We crossed back over to the Surrey bank, passing the famous Teddington TV studios on the way.
This was home to The Office, Magpie and, err, 'Des o'Connor Tonight'.
Unusual set of road signs!
Anarchist squat by Kingston bridge.
The hideousness of Kingston riverside. After strolling past the attractive Thames side walk at Richmond we were rather taken aback by the sheer ugliness of the walk through Kingston.
Row after row of cheap, bland modern buildings encroached on the river promoting one of party to describe it as, 'Croydon-on-Thames.'
With enough commemorative benches for an invading army, you're never be short of somewhere to sit on the stretch south of Kingston!
At this point we decided to press on to Hampton Court but made a bit of a boo-boo.
Although there is a lovely walk on the north bank of the Thames, the river path vanishes on the Surrey side, and we found ourselves trudging along a grim main road with the Thames tantalisingly behind an inaccessible bank.
There was very little of note to see as we tried to find a way back on to the Thames, except this Marina, off Portsmouth Road.
With temperatures plummeting, we hit the first pub we could find, the excellent City Arms on Portsmouth Road which had a warming real fire.
As the light faded, we decided to abandon our attempt to reach Hampton Court and double-back into Surbiton.
I was expecting Surbiton to be a really grim satellite clone town, but it seemed quite individual and compact - and I especially liked its fabulous Art Deco train station (rebuilt 1938).