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  • Writer's pictureN&N Richmond - Richmond Estate Agent

Roads of Richmond - The Green

The Green

The Green, Richmond, Surrey
Richmond Green - A Green For All Seasons

Nikolaus Pevsner, the art and architecture historian described Richmond Green as “One of the most beautiful urban greens surviving anywhere in England”


Richmond Green has been an important open space since the Middle Ages and was the site of jousting in the 15th and 16th century when Tudor Kings and Queens stayed at Richmond Palace built in 1501.


The Green was always the centre of the manor of Shene as it was called from Anglo- Saxon times to the reign of Henry VII. Henry VII named his Palace in honour of his original Earldom of Richmond in Yorkshire in 1501, the year its reconstruction was completed after the great fire of 1499. Gradually both manor and town took on the new name. A link with the monarch remains in that the sovereign is still Lord of the Manor of Richmond. The Old Palace Gate House, The Wardrobe and Old Palace Yard are still standing next to Maids of Honour Row and The Green remains part of the Crown Estate.


The Green itself, lying in front of the Palace, was part of the manor waste under the lord’s control; its corners are approximately at the points of a compass but the early documents such as Manor Court Rolls and, later, the Rate Books referred to the sides of the Green less accurately as “north” “east”, etc., or alternatively, by expressions such as “facing the palace” or “backing on the Friar’s”. Gradually separate names appeared for the groups of houses that were permitted to be erected round The Green.


Maids of Honour Row are some of Richmond’s earliest Georgian buildings. They have the most majestic presence presiding over the West side of The Green. These four houses were built in 1724-26 on the foundations of the Old Palace (the Tudor floor remains in No. 3) for the Maids of Honour (Ladies In Waiting) to the Princess of Wales, later Queen Caroline.


The archway leading to The Old Palace, The Wardrobe and Old Palace Yard lies before The Old Courthouse, a Queen Ann property built in 1707 and Wentworth House built in the mid 19th century before Garrick Close.


Garrick Close two storey houses with off-street parking were built in 1962 to replace Garrick House which was built on the site of the Theatre Royal (1765-1883). In between Garrick Close and Pembroke Villas is Old Palace Lane with one of the prettiest rows of cottages in Richmond and the fabulous White Swan pub at the end. Excellent food and excellent service!


Pembroke Villas were built between 1851-1860 on the site of Pembroke House which was demolished in 1840 when the London & South Western Railway was about to be extended from Richmond to Windsor.


The original white-faced buildings (1-4) Portland Terrace were built in 1853 on the part of the Little Green which had been given to Richmond by Charles II in 1864 for a bowling green. By agreements it was incorporate into the total Gardens between 1730-1825 and then given up for private ownership. No. 5-17 were built in 1968 on ground that had been part of the Royal stables in the 16th century and private mansions in the 18th, then part of the Royal Gardens; from 1852-1967 it accommodated the vicarage and Avenue House.


On the South side of the Green are a couple of rows of terraced Georgian houses of varying sizes and styles. No. 17, built by John Price was Richmond’s principal coffee house in the eighteenth century. Some have been converted into offices including solicitors and surveyors plus the fantastic Danieli On The Green chocolate shop on the corner of Brewers Lane - a lovely alleyway strung with festoon lights reminiscent of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. Brimming with independent shops (e.g. Toko & Kate Hopwood Jewellery), bars (So-Bar), pub (The Britannia) and other tempting foodie spots (La Creperie ‘Cinq Maisons’ and Gelateria Danieli) linking the Green to the high street.


On the south-west corner sit a few more terraced Georgian houses and two local institutions The Cricketers and The Prince’s Head with the two phone booths and water fountain in front. Eat in or out or take your pint onto the Green. Another alleyway Golden Court has yet more boutiques such as Heroes of Richmond.


A row of seven houses built in 1692 make up Old Palace Terrace and behind them are a row of seven small independent shops on Paved Court including Rosie & Java, Tit Fer Tat Hats, One Paved Court Gallery, L’assaggino and Reale Camiceria. At the far end of this row is King Street linking The Green to the high street, with more independent boutiques and shops including The Open Book and Feather & Stitch.


The final part of The Green between Kings Street and Friars Lane named after the Friary founded by Henry VII in 1501 for Observant Friars but dissolved in 1534 (which leads down to the towpath) comprises a row of large Georgian terraced houses, one of which was home to the late Richard Attenborough “Old Friars”.


Richmond Green hasn’t always been so pretty and has gone through many reincarnations and was even torn up for an air raid shelter during the Second World War. Large water tanks were installed and pipelines built from the river to Richmond Green and up the slopes Terrace Field to the top of the hill.


The Little Green


This is the last remaining portion of what was originally the north-east part of The Green and still Crown land. Houses were built along the north-east side by the architect John Price in 1710-1720. In the 1930’s this stretch was added to with a block of flats known as Fitzwilliam house now very popular with elderly residents. On the south-east the public library was built in 1881. Richmond was one of the first local authorities in London to establish a free public library.

Richmond Theatre (originally ‘Richmond Theatre and Opera House’) was built in 1899. The leading theatre architect Frank Matcham designed the new building with seating for about 1500 people. It has flourished and the most celebrated actors and actresses have played on its boards, in the pre-West end runs and of course the annual Panto!


The new Presbyterian Church became the United Reformed Church in 1972 and finally in 2004 was converted into flats.


Richmond Green has a long and proud history of village cricket, traditional fairs like the Richmond May Fair and community celebrations and is enjoyed by all as restful open space.

Perfectly located for quick and easy access for a stroll along the Thames Tow Path and Old Deer Park on one side and the hustle and bustle of the town centre and Richmond station on the other.


The Average Property Price: £4,090,546.00 (June 2021)


What The Neighbours Say:

" I have the great good fortune of sitting at a desk overlooking Richmond Green. The intense morning sun strikes the front of the house then disappears to the rear of the house until the evening sun casts its golden glow over the north east side of the Green. During the winter, the trees are bare and I have an uninterrupted view across the Green; spectacular and silent on those few days when we have fresh snow and before the local children rush to build snowmen and throw snowballs. In Spring, the trees are steadily covered in a green hew of new leaves before they surround the Green in a wall of summer growth. People start to arrive for picnics and the cricket becomes a focal point. As autumn approaches, I look forward to leaves of the maple trees turning to a stunning red and finally falling as the days shorten. It's such a wonderful place to live and so close to the River for long walks at any time of the year.” Martin


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