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Twickenham

Twickenham
OS Grid Reference:TQ155735
Administration
Borough:Richmond
County:Greater London
Region:Greater London
Nation:England
Other
Ceremonial County:Greater London
Traditional County:Middlesex
Post Office and Telephone
Post town:TWICKENHAM
Postcode:TW1
Dialling Code:020

Twickenham is a town in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in the south-west of London

It is best known as the home of Twickenham Stadium – the headquarters of the Rugby Football Union. Over the years the stadium has encourged the growth of the disproportionably large number of public houses and eateries in the area. Twickenham is also notable for its arts heritage.


Table of contents

Geography

The town is bordered on the south-eastern side by the River Thames and Eel Pie Island – which is connected to the Twickenham embankment by a narrow footbridge. The land adjacent to the river, from Strawberry Hill in the south, to Marble Hill Park in the north, is occupied with a mixture of luxury dwellings, formal gardens, public houses and a derelict swimming bath.

In the south, in Strawberry Hill, lies St Mary's College, one of London's prominent universities (and the oldest Catholic college in the UK), historically specialising in sports studies, teacher training, religious studies and the humanities Drama studies and English literature. Strawberry Hill was originally a small cottage in two or three acres (8,000 or 12,000 m²) of land by the River Thames. Horace Walpole, a son of the politician Robert Walpole, rented the cottage in 1717 and subsequently bought it and turned it into one of the incunabula of the Gothic revival. The college shares part of its campus with Walpole's Strawberry Hill. On adjacent land lay the villa and garden of the poet Alexander Pope. A road just north of the campus is named "Pope's Grove," as is a local landmark next to the road, Pope's Grotto a public house where Pope's landmark informal garden lay. Near the hostelry lies St Catherine's school for girls and St James's school for boys, formerly a convent, in a building on the site of Pope’s white stucco villa and the location of Pope’s original – surviving – grotto.

There are a large number of fine houses in the area – many of them Victorian. Radnor Gardens lies opposite Pope's Grotto.

Twickenham proper begins in the vicinity of Pope's Grotto, with a large and expensive residential area of (mostly) period houses to the west, and a number of exclusive properties to the east – on or near the river. Further to the north and west lies the district of Whitton, a less salubrious area of Twickenham and location of the unpopular Mogden Sewage Works. The fashionable district of St. Margarets lies immediately to the north east of Twickenham Town Centre and is popular for its attractive tree-lined residential roads and an eclectic range of shops and cafes. The London suburb of Isleworth lies to the north.

History

pre-Norman

Excavations have shown settlements in the area dating from the Early Neolithic, possibly Mesolithic periods. Occupation seems to have continued through the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Roman occupation. The area was first mentioned in a charter of 13 June 704AD (as 'Tuican hom' and 'Tuiccanham') to cede the area to Waldhere, Bishop of London, 'for the salvation of our souls.' The charter is signed with 12 crosses. The signaturies included Swaefred, King of the East Saxons, Cenred, King of the Mercians, and Earl Paeogthath.

Norman

In Norman times Twickenham was part of the Manor of Isleworth – itself part of the Hundred of Hounslow (mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086). The manor had belonged to Earl Aelfgar in the time of King Edward, but was granted to Walter de Saint-Valery (Waleric) by William after the conquest.

A fortification was built in the town some time after. The prominent ragstone tower still survives intact – as part of the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Church Street. The area was farmed for the next few hundred years, with the river providing opportunities for fishing, boatbuilding and trade.

17th century

Bubonic Plague spread to the town in 1605. 67 deaths were recorded. It appears that Twickenham had a Pest House (short for "pestilence") in the 1600's, although the location is not known.

There was also a Watch House in the middle of the town, with stocks, a pillory and a whipping post – its owner charged to "ward within and about this Parish and to keep all Beggars and Vagabonds that shall lye abide or lurk about the Towne and to give correction to such..."

In 1633 construction began on York House. It was occupied by the Earl of Manchester in 1656 and later by Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon. It is now the home of the local legislature.

1659 saw the first mention of the Twickenham Ferry, although ferrymen had already been operating in the area for many generations. Sometime before 1743 a 'pirate' ferry appears to have been started by Twickenham inhabitants. There is current speculation that it operated to serve 'The Folly' – a floating hostelry of some kind. Several residents wrote to the Lord Mayor of London: "…Complaining that there is lately fixed near the Shore of Twickenham on the River Thames a Vessell made like a Barge and called the Folly wherein divers loose and disorderly persons are frequently entertained who have behaved in a very indecent Manner and do frequently afront divers persons of Fashion and Distinction who often in an Evening Walk near that place, and desired so great a Nuisance might be removed,…"

(The same issue still seems to be a preoccupation with residents – with many deeply concerned about Twickenham's burgeoning nightlife, the extension of Pub opening hours and the habit of binge drinking).

The Plague struck again in 1665. 24 deaths were recorded.

18th century

Gunpowder manufacture on a industrial scale started in the area in the 1700's – the site located between Twickenham and Whitton along the banks of the Crane River. There were regular explosions and loss of life. On 11 March 1758 one of two explosions was felt in Reading, Berkshire, and in April 1774 another explosion terrified people at church in Isleworth. In 1772 three mills blew up, shattering glass and buildings in the neighbourhood. Horace Walpole wrote complaining to his friend and relative Seymour Conway, then Lieutenant General of the Ordnance, that all the decorative painted glass had been blown out of his windows at Strawberry Hill.

Later

During the 1700s and 1800s a number of fine houses were built and Twickenham became a popular residence for more people of 'Fashion and Distinction' – John Hooker, Princess Anne (future Queen), Lady Wentworth, Sir Godfrey Kneller, James Johnston, Sir Robert Shirley, Alexander Pope (Voltaire visited him in Twickenham), Lady Mary Wortley Montague, Thomas Twining, Horace Walpole, Thomas Hudson, David Garrick, Paul Whitehead (Secretary and Steward of the notorious Hell-Fire Club), Edward Ironside (Businessman and author of The History and Antiquities of Twickenham), Louis Philippe (sometime King of France), J M W Turner, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Richard Doddridge Blackmore (author of Lorna Doone). In 1838 Charles Dickens rented a flat at Ailsa Park Villas in St Margarets.

In 1895 Twickenham Urban District Council was formed. In 1902 the council bought Radnor House as the home of the leglislature. The council bought and occupied York House in 1924. (Radnor House was destroyed by a Luftwaffe bomb in 1940).

The same year (1902) electricity was introduced to Twickenham. The following year, 1903, Trams were introduced to the town.

In 1926 Twickenham was constituted as a 'borough'. 11 years later the urban district Councils of Teddington, Hampton & Hampton Wick merged with Twickenham. In 1965 the boroughs of Twickenham, Richmond & Barnes amalgamated to become the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames.

The Member of Parliament for Twickenham has been Liberal Democrat Dr Vincent Cable since his election in 1997. The parliamentary constituency includes St. Margaret's, Whitton, Heathfield, Teddington, Hampton, Fulwell, Hampton Hill and Hampton Wick.

Schools

Infants

Junior

  • Archdeacon Cambridge's CofE Primary School
  • Bishop Perrin CofE Primary School
  • Chase Bridge Primary School
  • Heathfield Junior School
  • Newland House School
  • St. James's Catholic Primary School
  • St. Mary's CofE Primary School
  • St. Stephen's CofE Junior School
  • Sunflower Montessori School
  • The Mall School

Secondary

  • Orleans Park School
  • St. Catherine's School
  • St. James Independent School for Boys
  • Waldegrave School for Girls
  • Whitton School

Famous residents

Local geography

Nearest places

Nearest tube stations

Nearest railway stations

  • Fulwell station
  • Richmond station
  • St. Margarets station
  • Strawberry Hill station
  • Twickenham station
  • Whitton station

External links








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