Cole Park

Cole Park, Richmond upon Thames

A privately built housing estate in north Twickenham, tucked into a loop of the River Crane (which separates it from St Margarets), where it nears the end of its circuitous journey to the Thames

Cole Park Road - December 2016

Thomas Cole found­ed a brew­ery on Lon­don Road ear­ly in the 17th cen­tu­ry and his descen­dants pro­vid­ed refresh­ment to local peo­ple for near­ly 300 years.

In 1892 George Cole sold the brew­ery to Bran­don’s of Put­ney, which car­ried on oper­a­tions here for anoth­er 14 years. The brew­ery at that time filled the area between the Riv­er Crane (at what was called Cole’s Bridge) and the rail­way line, on the west side of Lon­don Road. This lat­er became the site of a Roy­al Mail sort­ing office, which has recent­ly been replaced by St James’s Brew­ery Wharf devel­op­ment.

George Cole used part of the pro­ceeds to clear the family’s debts and planned to invest the bal­ance in lay­ing out an estate of 140 detached hous­es on the fam­i­ly’s land east of Lon­don Road, extend­ing as far north as Ivy Bridge. The prop­er­ties were to have all the lat­est con­ve­niences, includ­ing elec­tric­i­ty, which had just arrived in Twick­en­ham. Cole and his agent draft­ed a scale of prices that rose to £1000, or £70 annu­al rent, for a prop­er­ty with six bed­rooms.

The first house in Cole Park was com­plet­ed in 1898 and twen­ty were occu­pied by the turn of the cen­tu­ry. In 1902 Moor Mead bridge was built, car­ry­ing Hill View Road across the Riv­er Crane and pro­vid­ing res­i­dents with access to what is now called Moormead Park. Down in the estate’s south-east cor­ner a land­scaped com­mu­nal area was laid out, with facil­i­ties for cro­quet and ten­nis. A new chan­nel was dug to divert the Riv­er Crane along the east­ern edge of the gar­dens.

Lancaster Place in spring
Lan­cast­er Place in spring

George Cole con­tin­ued to direct the Cole Park project until his death in 1910, when his broth­er took up the reins. The estate was com­plet­ed between the wars and the Cole Court hotel replaced Ivy Lodge – the one house that had stood on the east side of Lon­don Road before the project began. In the ear­ly 1930s eight hous­es were demol­ished to make way for the Chert­sey Road.

Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War the Cole Court hotel served as a dance­hall for Amer­i­can sol­diers from the Bushy Park gar­ri­son. After the war the hotel lay vacant until its pur­chase in 1950 by the new­ly formed Twick­en­ham dis­trict mason­ic coun­cil. Cole Court present­ly dou­bles as a mason­ic lodge and a venue for hire.

The low-roofed ter­races of Lan­cast­er Place were built in the ear­ly 1970s on the site of the res­i­dents’ com­mu­nal gar­dens. Fur­ther north, the estate’s allot­ments have sur­vived.

Nowa­days the most fre­quent form of change in Cole Park is for res­i­dents to add exten­sions to their homes, where per­mis­sion can be obtained.

Postcode area: Twickenham, TW1
Further reading: GE Mercer, The Cole Papers, Twickenham Local History Society, 1985

 

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