Hampton

Hampton, Richmond upon Thames

A settlement by a bend in the river (which is what its name means) in the south-west corner of Richmond borough

Hamp­ton’s name is used both for the Thames-side local­i­ty west of Bushy Park and for the entire dis­trict that extends from Mar­ling Park and Nurs­ery­lands in the west to Hamp­ton Wick, three miles to their east.

The ear­ly vil­lage, sur­round­ed by arable land, would have been cen­tred on Thames Street and Church Street and the south­ern end of the High Street. There are records of a church on Thames Street, on present site of St Mary the Vir­gin, in 1342. By 1500 the pop­u­la­tion of Hamp­ton and Hamp­ton Wick was over 300, a fig­ure that had dou­bled by 1600 and dou­bled again by 1700.

In 1754 the actor David Gar­rick came to live at Hamp­ton House, now Gar­rick Vil­la, and built an octag­o­nal ‘tem­ple to Shake­speare’ in the part of the gar­den beside the Thames. Shown in the pho­to­graph below, the tiny tem­ple is open free of charge on Sun­day after­noons from the first Sun­day in April to the last in Octo­ber. Gar­rick­’s grade‑I list­ed house, now con­vert­ed to nine apart­ments, is strict­ly off lim­its to the pub­lic.

Garricks Temple to Shakespeare
Gar­rick­’s Tem­ple to Shake­speare

The 1852 Met­ro­pol­i­tan Water Act pro­hib­it­ed the Lon­don water com­pa­nies from tak­ing water from below the tidal reach of the riv­er and the con­se­quent build­ing of a water­works here (shown in the pho­to­graph above) was to change Hamp­ton rad­i­cal­ly.

Pump­ing sta­tions, reser­voirs, fil­ter beds and asso­ci­at­ed build­ings were con­struct­ed along the riv­er, alter­ing the appear­ance of the area and employ­ing large num­ber of peo­ple in addi­tion to the labour need­ed to build the works.

Hamp­ton sta­tion opened in 1864 and this stretch of the riv­er, and its islands, became pop­u­lar for house­boats, regat­tas and pic­nick­ing.

The area around the sta­tion was most­ly devel­oped in the 25 years after 1880; the Riv­er Hill Estate (between Plev­na Road and Bel­grade Road) was laid out in 1878; and the area around Carlisle Park start­ed to be devel­oped, slow­ly, from 1897.

The lit­tle islands called Garrick’s Ait and Platt’s Eyot were raised in height when soil was deposit­ed on them dur­ing the exca­va­tion of more fil­ter beds in the last years of the 19th cen­tu­ry.

An open-air pool opened on the High Street in 1922 but closed in 1981 when it was no longer con­sid­ered finan­cial­ly viable by the coun­cil. Local enthu­si­asts man­aged to keep it from being dis­man­tled and it reopened in 1985 as a heat­ed swim­ming pool, open all year round.

The pump hous­es of the river­side water­works are no longer in use but are list­ed build­ings. Some of the fil­ter beds are no longer need­ed but the land has green-belt des­ig­na­tion, which Thames Water wants to have lift­ed so that it can devel­op the area; so far, the com­pa­ny has been unsuc­cess­ful.

Postcode area: Hampton TW12
Population: 19,372 (Hampton and Hampton North wards, 2011 census)
Station: South West Trains (zone 6)
Further reading: Mike Cherry et al., Twickenham, Whitton, Teddington & The Hamptons Through Time, Amberley, 2009
and John Sheaf and Ken Howe, Hampton and Teddington Past, Historical Publications, 1995
See also: Hampton Hill