Riverside, south bank, west of the Tower. Ham House
This post shows sites south of the river only. North of the river is Marble Hill
Post to the east Richmond Star and Garter
Post to the west Twickenham and Ham Street Riverside
Post to the north Richmond Riverside and Central
Douglas House Meadow
Petersham and Ham Sea Scouts. This is one of the oldest scout troops still in existence, beginning in 1908. It is called the Phoenix troop because the scout hut has burned down on several occasions.
Spitfire. A Spitfire from the Second World War is rumoured to be buried in the field.
Ham House. Originally built in 1610, Ham House was built for William Murray first Earl of Dysart who was educated with the young Prince Charles. William was given the lease of Ham House and its estate as a gift from the King in 1626. It had originally been built by Sir Thomas Vavasour in 1610 as a typuical H-plan Elizabethan hioiuse. From 1637-9 he began alterations to it. After the Restoration the house was owned by his daughter Elizabeth. In 1672, she married the Duke of Lauderdale. They transformed Ham House into one of the grandest houses in England. . The work was done by William Samwell who filled in the space between the arms of the Jacobean H. The house remained in the ownership of Elizabeth’s descendants from her first marriage for nearly 300 years. It was passed to the National Trust in 1948. It is one of the largest early 17th houses in the Greater London area and of great h architectural and decorative interest. The plan of the house is that of an oblong with two wings. It is in brick with stone dressings.
The North Front. This dates from 1610 and was once part of a courtyard, decorated with the marble busts. The iron gates date from 1672. In 1800, it was opened up as it is now. The Coade stone pineapples and the Coade stone statue of Father Thames, by John Bacon the elder were installed then. The topiary shrubs are clipped into a 17th style-. The trees are Portuguese laurel.
The South Terrace and Platts. This was built 1672-4 to provide a shady walk for ladies. Scented paths were created with box and orange and lemon trees, oleander, myrtle, almond trees and other exotics. The border was replanted in 1997 in the 17th style; the standard trees are Hibiscus syriaca and pomegranate. On the wall are fan trained plums. The eight lawns, or plats, were restored in 1975. The large trees growing on the outer platts were probably planted are English Oak, Sweet Chestnut and False Acacia.
Stables. The stables were with Ham House in 1610 and they were symmetrical reflecting a new taste. The north east elevation of the stables was extended in 1787and a cupola and weather cock was added. The interior is more intact, with a timber arch in the Jacobean timber frame. Water was pumped from the north wing of the stable block to the house via underground pipes. The Tollemache family auctioned off the estate in 1948 but kept the stables. They were sold and sold again and Ham House Stables were set up there as a business. Some of the buildings were converted for housing in 1979-80 by Colin Bottomley, retaining one original unit
Gardens. The Duke and Duchess of Lauderdale redesigned the gardens in the latest formal French, Dutch and Italian styles. The results were spectacular, and visitors came to marvel. It was later landscaped by Repton, and restored in the 1970s by the National Trust to the formal layout of the 1670s. They include the Cherry Garden, with lavender parterres hornbeam arbours. There is a 17th orangery with a kitchen garden, a licensed cafe; and a terrace with a Christ's thorn bush.
The Wilderness. A popular idea in 17th gardening, the Wilderness was a geometric arrangement of clipped hedges radiating out from a central point. The hedges were formed into compartments planted with wild flowers and meadow grass, or as a dense shrubbery. These represented wild nature tamed by man,
The Orangery and Garden. This may be the oldest Orangery in the country- built around 1670. It was to provide over-wintering for the Duchess's collection of citrus. It became a laundry in the 19th and is now the Tea Room.
Approach Road. The present approach from Ham Street is not the original. The approach laid out in the 1670s was by two avenues, one from Petersham Road and one from Ham Common. The lodges remain.
Hammerton’s Ferry. In the past there was little demand for cross-river services on this stretch of bank. In 1901 Marble Hill House in Twickenham was bought for the public and the riverside footpath by Ham House became a public right of way so a need was created. In 1909 Walter Hammerton began to operate a regular ferry service here. In 1913 the operators of the Twickenham Ferry, slightly up river took legal action against it. And eventually the House of Lords ruled in favour of Hammerton. The ferry is currently owned by Francis Spencer and operated by Stan Rust. Hammerton's original skiff is now on display at the Museum in Docklands. It operates between a floating boathouse on the north bank of the Thames and small jetty on the south bank.
Ham Polo Club and Clubhouse. Founded in 1926 and the last active club in Greater London. The ground is in what was the orchard of Ham House converted for their use in 1958.
Manor House, Early 18th house,
Courtyards. Built 1964 by L. Manasseh,
Drum House. Built by L. Manessah in 1964. A semicircular projection at one end containing a swimming pool
Petersham Lodge. The original house was built around 1740 and occupied by Robert Ord in 1778. Max Waechter gave it to the local authority it to preserve it and it was used as a holiday home for governesses. There is said to be a rotunda in the garden from 1740.
Glen Cottage. This is traditionally where Vancouver lived and where he settled in 1795 to write up his voyages for publication. He died in l799 when he was only 40 and is buried in Petersham churchyard.
Douglas House. The house was built in 1690 as Douglas House and bought in 1969 for use as a German school by the Federal Republic of Germany. They built a school around the house which became the reception and school offices. It opened in 1971. Later buildings were designed by the German firm Kersten Mertinoff & Struhk, for architects were W H Marmorek and Clifford Culpin & Partners. The school was for children of diplomatic staff from the embassies of West Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
Petersham Lodge Wood. This was once part of the Lodge' landscaped grounds. The wood had been owned by the local council since 1902 and managed jointly with the London Wildlife Trust, assisted by local Petersham Environment volunteers.It is is protested by a dyke along the riverside but some flooding is allowed.
Tree Close. Sheltered housing by Manning & Clamp, 1976
GLC, Thames Landscape Strategy
Ham House. Web site
London Transport. Country walks
Parker. North Surrey Parker
Petersham Environment Trust. Web site
Petersham Sea Scouts. Web site
Pevsner and cherry, South London
Pritchard. Ham House and its Owners.
Tucker. Ferries of the Lower Thames
Victoria and Albert Museum. Ham House
Walford. Village London