Hampton Wick

Hampton Wick, Richmond upon Thames

The south-eastern corner of Teddington, separated from the rest of Hampton by Bushy Park

Spinnaker Court By The Thames, Hampton Wick - Jim Linwood

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.

The Swan, 22 High Street*
The Swan, 22 High Street*

Hamp­ton Wick sta­tion opened in 1863 and in that same year the Wick sep­a­rat­ed itself from Hamp­ton by estab­lish­ing its own local gov­ern­ment board.

A Roman Catholic chapel was built in 1882, and a con­vent was added three years lat­er. The local board built its offices on the High Street in 1884 and the assem­bly rooms opened on Park Road in 1889.

Most of the vil­lage was built up around the turn of the cen­tu­ry. By 1900 the High Street had 51 shops and sev­en pub­lic hous­es. The present incar­na­tion of the Swan (shown in the pho­to­graph*) dates from 1905.

By the out­break of the Sec­ond World War almost all the Wick’s old cot­tages and man­sions had been replaced by hous­ing for the com­mut­ing mid­dle class­es.

Devel­op­ments in the sec­ond half of the 20th cen­tu­ry includ­ed Broom Park and Elton Close in the 1960s, Beck­etts Place in the 1980s and Spin­naker Court (shown in the pho­to at the top*) in the 1990s.

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)
Further reading: Ray Elmitt, A Hampton Wick Timeline – From Domesday to the Current Day, Hampton Wick History, 2010
and Ray Elmitt, Hampton Wick: Brick by Brick, Hampton Wick History – volume 1, 2012; volume 2, 2013; volume 3, 2014
Website: Hampton Wick History
* The picture of Spinnaker Court at the top of this page is slightly modified from an original photograph, copyright Jim Linwood, at Flickr, made available under the Attribution 2.0 Generic licence and the picture of The Swan, Hampton Wick 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 freely permitted under the terms of those licences.