Insights into Twickenham History

Twickenham’s history is well documented in print (that’s kinda like books ‘n’ stuff, to the likes of you) and on the worthwhile web. There are plenty of photos too. Google’s just great isn’t it? Needless to say lots of that history features 30 grown men charging around Billy Williams’ cabbage patch in pursuit of a wonky ball, but aside from the rugby and the more general histories of the town there are other interesting bits and pieces to be found. For your edification, we’ve dug up a sample of things that you might not stumble across every day. And please, do the decent thing, and add any other useful links below especially if it’s old video or social history.

Why not add your own memories, recent or not so recent, on our social history feature. A few sentences is all it takes. Splendid.

So here we go with our selection of links:
* The BBC history site (now archived) has some interesting accounts of Twickenham during World War II from those who experienced it first hand. Fascinating stories which often mix the every day with the extraordinary. You need to Google the search term: “ ww2 people’s war twickenham”.

* 1931 Trolley Bus. This YouTube video features the trolley bus route from Twickenham to Teddington in 1931. It’s a nice slice of history caught on film. If living the dream for you means catching the 281 bus, then this is a must for you!

* King of Portugal in Twickenham. Ever wondered why those roads off Staines Road have a Portuguese vibe? No? Well, if you had wondered then this explains it. “Exiled Portuguese King Hangs Out Twick-side” summarises it quite well but you can watch the video. We’re talking c1913 through to the early 1930s here. (Thanks to the Standard Tandoori for drawing our attention to this (yes, you read that correctly) and there’s more on the Portugal connection on the Twickenham Museum site.)

* Children’s Regatta at Twickenham in 1935. A little preview clip from the British Pathe news website. It also has the same event from other years. It was obviously quite a big thing in its day.

* Landing the Eel Pie at Twickenham. Another British Pathe clip, this time from 1923 and a re-enactment of what looks to be Henry VIII about to tuck into some eel pie. To be fair, in the end he opts for a swig of beer over the pie. Who wouldn’t?

* Between The Locks. More vids. They’re not old, they’re new but they do talk about the past. It’s a recent project run by the Environment Trust to record an oral history of the Thames between Teddington and Richmond locks. Interesting.

* Strawberry Hill House more your thing is it? Like a big house do you? Try this then. A history of the house and its recent restoration.

* Bomb Sight – A fascinating interactive map recording bombs that fell on London during WWII.

* Britain from Above – Aerial photographs of Britain taken between 1919 and 1953. See how much Twickenham has grown since the 1920s. Some brilliant pictures of the town and rugby stadium.

There are also some interesting local history articles on the St Margarets website. Here are links to two but you can explore the site for yoursel if you’re in the mood:

* A German bombing raid in 1918.

* Major flooding on the Thames in 1928

So there you go, just a few bits and pieces to make you realise that even if you’ve lived your whole life in Twickenham, you’re just passing through. Any more for any more?

* Twickenham Memories: A social history – Share your recollections on twickerati
* Twickenham Museum
* Borough of Twickenham Local History Society
* Memories of Twickenham Riverside seeks your memories of days gone by
* British History Online – Twickenham
* The British Library has digitised hundreds of old national and local newspapers (fees payable)
* The internet…


Filed under Random Stuff, Reviews

11 responses to “Insights into Twickenham History

  1. malcolm Baldwin

    Is their anybody out there who went to Orleans school in the 40’s

  2. Orleans House Gallery cares for and displays around 3,200 historical and contemporary works which comprise the Richmond Borough Art Collection. The highlights catalogue is now online and can be viewed here:

    All of the collection oil paintings have been photographed and are now on the BBC Your paintings website

    Printed illustrated copies are available from the gallery shop, as well as Orleans House: A History and a selection of catalogues and local history publication.

    The Richmond Local Studies Collection in the Old Town Hall Richmond also sells a wide range of local history publications.

  3. Keith Davis

    Is there anyone living in Twickenham that worked at Walker & Co. Printers Limited? I was an apprentice there 1966 -1971. Would like to any pictures etc.

    • malcolm Baldwin

      Hi Keith, I was an apprentice at Walkers in the 50’s. My Dad was there as well and you would have known him as Rusty the maintenance man.
      Malcolm Baldwin

  4. eel pie island is connected to the jazz/blues melly refers to it..odd that the rolling stones were banging on about how they got the blues and being poor and suchlike whilst living in one of the poshest neighbourhoods in richmond..oh btw isnt there a famous painting of richmond hill somewhere..

  5. Given the recent news that Twickenham Film Studios are set to close, this may also be interesting to some:

    And of course we’re not avoiding rugby all together. Here’s a link to the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham Stadium:

  6. twickerman

    Well done twickerati – there’s loads of fascinating history links in this piece.
    Having read about the Thames floods of 1928, I’d be interested to know if there are any records of the 12 March 1744 flood. The extreme height of this flood is recorded on a stone set into St Mary’s church wall at the corner of Church Lane and Riverside. The high tide mark is well above head height and approx 2m above the current maximum spring tide levels.
    I would like to know if Eel Pie Island was totally submerged by this flood.

  7. One of the best books on the history of the area is Prof Michael Lee’s “The Making of Modern Twickenham”. You should be able to get it from Twickenham Museum, which has loads of interesting books on the area.