#10: Richmond – 06/06/2018

I’ve been struggling to write about my travels to Richmond: I don’t know why, as the place has many interests, so whether it’s writers block or just tiredness after repeated visits across London I don’t know. So I’ve taken a short break away from my travels to help recharge my mental inspiration batteries. Who knows? But here we go again…please tell me if you think it’s something else…

This time to the south westerly corner of London and the leafy suburbia of Richmond. This will be the first of two visits to Richmond as it’s a terminus for both the District and the Overground lines. I don’t know if Richmond is classed as a town or village, but Wikipedia declares it to be a suburban Town – so there we have it.

Arriving at the station and exploring the immediate surrounds, I notice the station is betwixt Victorian metalwork and art deco architecture. Not unlike many of London’s stations built in the Victoriana hey-dey and added to in the 20’s and 30’s. Whatever your architectural preference, you can’t ignore some of the interesting designs and shapes of the old and new worlds that parade themselves around the station

Out of the station turning right I soon find myself at Richmond Athletic Ground, the home of Richmond Rugby Football Club (RFC) and London Scottish. I try and walk around the ground, but I’m politely asked to leave as the grounds are not open to the public. So I head in the direction of the nearest pub which overlooks the grounds, unsurprisingly named The Triple Crown Richmond, built originally under the name of The Tulip Tree in 1884 as can be seen on the inscription on the upper part of the building

Back to the heart of Richmond and its main shopping street, and you’re drawn to it’s cleanliness and tidiness, quality and upkeep of buildings and almost full occupancy of the main street shops with an overriding balance of independent shops in favour of the expected retail chains. All I believe an indication of Richmond’s prosperity and the community’s pride in its surroundings; the town has many side streets leading you westerly to Richmond Green, easterly towards religious buildings, and southerly to the river

Some notable attractions that caught my attention included a children’s bookshop, The Alligators Mouth; a new coffee shop about to open, Kiss the hippo coffee; Brewers Lane, a pedestrian alley full of bijou and artisan shops; and Richmond Theatre, which was on the day of my visit preparing for a George Michael tribute concert.

A brief mention of some of the religious building I passed. Firstly, St John The Divine which is situated adjacent to the Metropolitan Police and the First Church of Christ Scientist Richmond, a large imposing building overlooking Sheen Road. I also spent some time in and around St Mary Magdalene CofE Church where I was introduced enthusiastically to the intricate renovation works and choristers by Ruth, one of the church helpers and choir member. I’m grateful to Ruth for peaking my interest in the history of both Church and choirs, and being shown the delightful and colourful needle-craft work of the Royal School of Needlework Hampton Court Palace, a recent gift to the church, and the origami dove display. For those interested in the choir and its history, here are some related websites you may wish to explore further: StMarymagdalenechoir.co.uk; Saintmartinsingers.org and Choralevensong.org.

Some of the interesting, or architecturally curious properties that caught my eye included Michels Row, No. 7 Lower Mortlake Road, Spencer House at 23 Sheen Road, and The Gateways in Park Road. And during this time, I stopped and chatted with Richard, a delivery driver who explained he was on a Tacho break; and later in the day I stopped to feed Cooper, a fox red labrador pup who was being walked and trained by his owner. The route also took me past Hogarth House where Leonard and Virginia Wolf lived for nine years and founded the Hogarth Press in 1917. Sadly, an empty office building now.

You can’t ignore some of the attractive pubs whilst walking around, and a brief mention before heading to the river. The Sun Inn tucked out of the way at the northern end of the town; The Railway Tavern outside the station and beautifully adorned with bedding plants, and The Old Ship, on the approach to the river

On the day of visiting, it was a glorious sunny day, giving rise to many an opportunity for locals and visitors to sit on the banks with a drink and/or ice cream enjoying the view of the calm river traffic and of those brave enough to take to a rowing boat. An appropriate place to rest my weary feet and share in the delights…

For more info, look up Richmond on Wikipedia

See all Richmond pics on Google Photo here – feel free to comment

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