East Sheen

East Sheen, Richmond upon Thames

A socially advantaged locality situated south of Mortlake and east of Richmond (Richmond was originally called Sheen, or Shene)

geograph-3304412-by-David-Anstiss - All Saints - East Sheen

First record­ed in 1247, East Sheen became a sep­a­rate manor from Mort­lake around 1500. The vil­lage was cen­tred around Mile­stone Green, which lay where Upper Rich­mond Road now cross­es Sheen Lane, with a few more dwellings where the lane meets Christ Church Road. East Sheen had 26 hous­es in 1617, by which time the two nuclei had prob­a­bly joined.

The 17th-cen­tu­ry Tem­ple Grove was the manor house of East Sheen and took its name from the Tem­ple fam­i­ly, lat­er the vis­counts Palmer­ston, who owned it until 1805. Around 1837, a younger son of the third earl of Dart­mouth built Stan­well House at the north-west cor­ner of East Sheen com­mon, with dec­o­ra­tive gar­den fea­tures reassem­bled from parts of old Lon­don Bridge, which had been demol­ished a few years ear­li­er.

Christ Church was built in 1862–4 as a ‘daugh­ter church’ of St Mary the Vir­gin Mort­lake. The pyra­mid roof on the church’s tow­er col­lapsed a day after it was com­plet­ed and had to be rebuilt.

An Old London Bridge shelter in the residents’ garden of Courtlands, East Sheen
An Old Lon­don Bridge shel­ter in the res­i­dents’ gar­den of Court­lands, East Sheen

The arrival of the rail­way at Barnes and Mort­lake brought some ear­ly sub­ur­ban devel­op­ment but the main spur to growth did not come until 1896, when 50 acres of the Palewell estate were sold, and oth­er old estates soon fol­lowed.

Tem­ple Grove, which had lat­ter­ly served as a boys’ prepara­to­ry school, was demol­ished around 1900. By the ear­ly 1920s most of the area had been built up and the cre­ation of a string of shops along Upper Rich­mond Road had giv­en East Sheen retail ascen­dan­cy over the old dis­trict cen­tre at Mort­lake High Street.

Shown in the pho­to­graph at the top of this arti­cle,* the church of All Saints was built on East Sheen Avenue in 1928–9, and restored in 1965 after a fire.

A final phase of house­build­ing filled the remain­ing gaps south of Upper Rich­mond Road in the 1930s and Stan­well House was demol­ished and replaced by the flats of Court­lands. A Lon­don Bridge alcove sur­vives in the res­i­dents’ gar­dens. The 53-acre East Sheen Com­mon is owned by the Nation­al Trust.

East Sheen has a pre­dom­i­nant­ly white, well-edu­cat­ed pop­u­la­tion includ­ing many fam­i­lies with young chil­dren.

East Sheen was home to the Whig prime minister Earl Grey.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, was born in East Sheen in 1955.

The last home of 1970s rock star Marc Bolan was 142 Upper Richmond Road West, a large Victorian house with a corner location, surrounded by a high brick wall and foliage. It was only a short distance from here that Bolan met his death on Barnes Common in 1977.

Postal district/postcode area: SW14 and Richmond TW10
Population: 10,348 (2011 census)
Further reading: Raymond Gill, The Growth of East Sheen in the Victorian Era, Picton, 1996


View larger OpenStreetMap

* The picture of All Saints’ Church on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright David Anstiss, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence. The photograph of the Old London Bridge shelter is copyright Hidden London.