Hampton Wick, Richmond upon Thames
The south-eastern corner of Teddington, separated from the rest of Hampton by Bushy Park
A ‘wick’ often referred to a harbour or trading place and this landing point beside the Thames is likely to have been used to supply provisions for the original manor house of Hampton, which evolved into Hampton Court Palace.
The construction of the wooden Kingston Bridge in 1219 added to the significance of the location, yet it remained an undistinguished hamlet for several centuries. In 1527 Cardinal Wolsey conducted negotiations at Hampton Court for an alliance with France, and the French ambassadors lodged in “the village at the end of the park,” which was probably Hampton Wick.
Thomas Burdett bequeathed the sum of £50 to the poor of Hampton Wick in 1695, the profits to be spent on coals or wood and distributed yearly on St Thomas’s Day in perpetuity.
A few cottages survive at Hampton Wick from the early 18th century, but these do not seem to include the Hovel, which the Irish writer Richard Steele either rented or built for himself in 1707.
Modern growth did not begin until the early 1830s, when the church of St John the Baptist was built. The civil parish of Hampton Wick was created in 1831, covering 1,235 acres of land and 69 acres of water.
Hampton Wick station opened in 1863. A Roman Catholic chapel was built in 1882, and a convent was added three years later. Most of the village was built up around the turn of the century. The present incarnation of the Swan public house (shown in the photograph above*) dates from 1905.
Much more recently, there has been intensive new housebuilding on the site of the former gasworks on Sandy Lane.
The demographic profile of Hampton Wick closely mirrors that of the borough as a whole, which means that it is significantly more upmarket than most parts of London.
In the late 1970s television comedy George and Mildred, the eponymous couple moved to the fictional Peacock Crescent on an ‘executive housing estate’ in Hampton Wick after their Earls Court home was compulsorily purchased. The writers’ choice of this setting was undoubtedly influenced by the fact that ‘Hampton Wick’ is cockney rhyming slang for the male member.
Postcode area: Kingston upon Thames KT1
Population: 10,221 (2011 census)
Station: South West Trains (zone 6)
* The picture of The Swan, Hampton Wick, on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Des Blenkinsopp, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.
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