#155: Hampton 17/01/2023

Hampton Station

The station opened in 1864 as part of the branch line from New Malden to Shepperton. Although plans to extend the line to Chertsey Bridge had been considered, these were shelved before the line opened.

Off-peak trains to and from Waterloo depart every half hour, and the timing is such that both Sheperton-bound and returning Waterloo-bound trains arrive at the station simultaneously. The station platforms are on a slight curve with a road bridge at Tudor Road, crossing the railway at the eastern end.

My visit is courtesy of South Western Railway, as this is the last zone 6 station on the line and the furthest I can travel. Paul, the station guard, approached me and challenged me as I was taking photos, but he soon realised I was harmless and let me carry on.

He is a characterful individual, full of opinions about the surrounding neighbourhood, and he described Hampton as a bohemian village. However, he also shared his passion for collecting and selling old photographs as he recounted an image of captured WWII U-Boat mariners on the platform who were transported to a prison camp at Kempton Park.

The station has one footbridge, although not step-free. However, access to both platforms is step-free, but for the less abled, getting to the other side would have to be via the level crossing at the end of the station. Fear not; the car in this photo wasn’t speeding, as it’s an intentional blur created by a slow shutter speed.

Residential properties overlook the station. Kempton Rise overlooks the south side. The flats are in Station Road, but to be honest, this wouldn’t be my ideal room with a view. However, if interested, these are available at a monthly rent of £1,000 per calendar month.

On the opposite side, the rear wall of 46 to 52 Ashley Road on the station’s northern side is less daunting as the first-floor windows are smaller. The building is more attractive, too, but it’s a shame station planners and architects have little regard for the positioning of station furniture so as not to spoil the otherwise perfect symmetry seen here.

A little about Hampton

The area known as Hampton is much larger than I can cover. Served by two other stations: there’s Hampton Wick to the east and Hampton Court to the south. The name Hampton derives from the Saxon, meaning farm by the bend of a river, and captures Bushy Park to the east and the extensive Thames Water Works to the west.

My journey takes in the area north of the station. Through Ashley Road and Station Approach before doubling back over the railway line over the Tudor Road bridge. Now I understand what Paul (earlier) meant by ‘bohemian’. There’s a small parade of shops dedicated to various health and well-being practices. There’s also a collection of small foodie shops, coffee shops, restaurants, and a guitar shop that took my fancy. I tried going into the Tree of Life guitar shop, but it was closed because a private music session was being held.

Station Road runs 800 metres south of the station until it joins High Street in the east, served by a few independent shops. Here are a few of the things that caught my attention.

Hampton Bathrooms – I’m not looking to advertise any particular supplier, but the building caught my eye as it stands out from the crowd. I’m grateful to two readers who have confirmed that this 1912 building was the Electric Palace cinema. Renamed to Kina and then the Palaceum.

Formally a cinema, a soap factory and printers.

Police Stations – well, who would have thought that Hampton would have had three police stations in just over a century between 1840 and 1968, all within 200 metres of each other? The first was at 46 Station Road, and the second was built at 12 Station Road, near High Street. Here, a sergeant and six officers lived from 1846 to 1905. Since then, it has had multiple uses, but as you can see, it’s now a delightful residential property.

The third and most prominent was at 68 Station Road and built in 1904 and extended in 1935, serving the community until 1968. The property is currently empty and protected by Live-In Guardians. However, plans to redevelop the site into a care home were approved by Richmond Council in April 2021, according to this MyLondon report. But there are no signs of any work starting.

Hampton & Richmond Borough Football Club – Known as The Beavers, this National League South team’s home is on Beaver Lane and only a short walk from the station. I took a sneaky peek around the ground ahead of the evening’s game against Chesham.

The ground was open, and there was no one to challenge me, so I walked around the perimeter. The club has recently made changes with new owners and, inevitably, the appointment of a new manager, Mel Gwinnet, after languishing in the lower ranks of the table last year.

How do I know this? Through talking with Mike, an independent filmmaker who has been following the Beavers for a couple of years. Mike was setting up to capture shots of the ref’s ground inspection at 2.00 pm, and he explained that he wanted to create a 90-minute film of the club’s exploits. He explained that life in the lower leagues is financially challenging, and players must fund their travel and overnight stays.

There’s a tribute to the late Alan Simpson OBE, the renowned scriptwriter of Hancock’s Half Hour and Steptoe and Son fame. Alan dedicated 50 years of his life as the club’s President up to his death in 2017, and the club honoured him by naming the main stand after him.

High Street – the road runs from the river along the side of Bushy Park to Hampton Hill. It’s predominantly residential, with a few independent businesses. The image that captured my imagination was the dilapidated Imperial Trading Co shop at number 24, just a short walk from Station Road. I write about it below as one of the photos I’ve taken is my ‘picture of the day’. 

But this photo also helps to portray the shop’s state and demonstrates the random collection of items inside. As an aside, I also learned that Alan Turing, the ‘father of theoretical computer science’, lived nearby at number 78 from 1945 to 1947.


Head south, and you’ll soon find the river, which is almost overflowing. You’ll find Bell Hill Recreation Ground quite easily, with wonderful views up and down the river. There’s quite a lot going on, even in the dead of winter. Not obvious, but take a moment to enjoy the relative peace, and you’ll see water birds busying themselves. And as the hazy sunlight peeks through the wintry haze, I can capture the reflections and dark shadows from the riverbanks.

This is a view across the river, looking at Hurst park with boats moored mid-river along the edge of Garrick’s Ait.

The area is dominated by the Ferry Boathouse on one side and the canoe club on the other. But all the canoes are stored away, and ferry boats are moored up with signs declaring a re-opening in March. As well as operating the ferry, the Boathouse hires boats – by the hour or day.

I saw these three boats on their side behind the Boathouse and thought their colours were attractive in the mid-winter gloom. So as I crouched down to get the best angle, I was confronted by one man and his dog. It turns out he is the Boathouse owner, and after an initial explanation of what I was doing, he was bemused by my interest in his boats. These are the hourly hire boats named Tern, Wagtail and Little Grebe.

There are over 180 islands on the Thames. Each is distinctively named; some are accessible by foot or road, and others by boat. And if you look at any map, you’ll be familiar with the terms ait or eyot, which means a small island in a river. Benn’s Island, or Benn’s Ait, is one of them, and it’s the home of Hampton Sailing Club with restricted access via a chain-operated ferry from Benn’s Alley.

I follow the river to the west and discover the curiously named Post Office Passage, which leads down to the river. But it’s fenced off to prevent any access at the shoreline. And a little further along the main Upper Sunbury Road, there’s the Thames Water Works

The buildings before the junction at Lower Sunbury Road are undergoing extensive works. I remember the owner of the Boathouse I’d met earlier was somewhat derogatory about the fact the buildings had been sold and were now being asset stripped. There’s an article from lom-archtiecture setting out their proposals. And this website from Touchlight, a genetic laboratory, demonstrates the building is already being used.

There’s one curiosity you might be able to help me with. The first building, a former pump house, I expect, has a wall plaque high up, and the dates almost pre-date the building’s construction in the late 1800s. The only significance I can find about 1582 is that it’s the year the Gregorian Calendar was introduced. I’d be interested to know if anyone knows what the plaque represents.

My final stop was the delightful Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare. The temple is a folly on grounds opposite the former home of David Garrick, the influential actor of the late 1700s. The grounds were landscaped by Capability Brown and are now managed by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. But inside the folly, there’s an exhibition commemorating the life and works of the actor.

I have no doubt this will be a popular attraction later in the year, as visitors relax on the river banks enjoying the scenery. So I will leave you with a few images of the wildlife and scenery I enjoyed here.

 Picture of the Day – Imperial Trading Co

Who knows when the doors of this shop at 24 High Street last opened. There’s no sign of life in or around the premises, but in a quirky sort of way, there’s a certain preserved charm about it.

I had to stand in the road to get the best angle with the corner door central to the shot with the display windows on either side. The more I photographed this shop, the more I enjoyed its juxtaposition with an otherwise neat, tidy and well-manicured village of Hampton as it’s sort of out of place, yet it has a right to be here as it’s lived its own life.

The window displays have a plethora of unrelated items. From furniture, a ceramic bird and even an old post box. Eclectic or what? Yet, this latter-day recycling shop hasn’t entirely outlived its usefulness, as it has provided me with this opportunity to capture it.

I have applied some filters to the final image, but only to heighten the drab colours and to remove reflections in the windows. Nevertheless, I’m sure this shop has many stories of its own to share.

  • Location: 24 High Street, Hampton
  • Date/Time: Tuesday 17th January 2023, 1:38 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture -f/5; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 46 mm; Film Speed – ISO500

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  1. Hampton Bathrooms and Curves Gym occupy the building which was a cinema. Built in 1912, it closed as a cinema in 1939. It had a few names during that time, Electric Palace at the beginning and Kina at the end but for the most was called the Palaceum.
    Since closure it was used at one time as a soap factory. It was for many years a printers which was first called Keystone Copiers and later Aquatint.


      1. Imperial Trading is and has been a Home for many years, it was a Butchers shop originally I believe before the present occupiers arrived, the vacant windows were dressed up as Imp. Trading but that was an outside enterprise who just used the Windows.
        A bank was over the road on a junction with Grand Styling but closed and was converted a very long time ago I caught a train from Fulwell Station to School in Shepperton in the Seventies on that line.
        Hampton like the whole area has been very gentrified so much so that with my older vehicle I will be excluded from visiting friends, Opticians etc by ULEZ in my old patch as I live 5 miles out in a cheaper area.


    1. I believe the soap factory was the start of the Simple soap brand we have now . My mother worked in the office for a while. Her boss was nicknamed Soapy Willie 😊


      1. Yes, it was called Albion Soap before it changed to Simple Soap. It occupied several different places in Hampton. When I was a child they made soap in premises down the driveway next to Hampton Social Club. Rosemary Andrews School of Dancing was also down there. They also moved into what was the original mail sorting office which is now flats next to the fish and chip shop in Station Road at one time. I think the final place they had premises was along Thames Street.


  2. Hello brought up in Hampton from virtual birth but now in exile ! Lived at No 52 station road and no 46 and can I correct you it was no 46 not 45 the police station and the window was altered to help in facilitating this and that’s why it differs from the other properties. Also Hampton Bathrooms was the old Cinema


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