St Margarets

St Margarets, Richmond upon Thames

A gentrified part of north-east Twickenham, separated from Isleworth by the River Crane

St Margarets - Ailsa Avenue Beatles

From the 16th cen­tu­ry this area was the north­ern part of Twick­en­ham Park, with a house on the bound­ary of Isle­worth and Twick­en­ham parish­es. The house was demol­ished by 1805 and the estate was bro­ken up.

Around 1830 the Mar­quis of Ail­sa built a house called St Mar­garets on the site of a 17th-cen­tu­ry prop­er­ty that had once been home to the drama­tist Richard Sheri­dan. The mar­quis died in 1846 and the St Mar­garets estate was put up for sale in the 1850s. Ailsa’s house was demol­ished and replaced by one built for – but nev­er occu­pied by – the sec­ond Earl of Kil­morey. In 1856 this house became home to the Roy­al Naval school.

In 1867 the earl rebuilt the neigh­bour­ing Gor­don House, which also sub­se­quent­ly became part of the naval school. By this time, new roads had been laid out on the St Mar­garets estate, but lit­tle build­ing had tak­en place.

Turks Head public house and comedy club
The Turk’s Head, Win­ches­ter Road

The sta­tion opened in 1876, well to the south of the house from which it took its name – and effec­tive­ly redefin­ing the extent and focus of the St Mar­garets area. Despite the rail­way con­nec­tion, growth remained slug­gish and devel­op­ers resort­ed to build­ing ter­raced cot­tages instead of detached vil­las. By the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry St Mar­garets was ful­ly built up.

The con­struc­tion of Twick­en­ham Bridge and the Chert­sey Road in the ear­ly 1930s neces­si­tat­ed the demo­li­tion of some prop­er­ties here but oth­ers were built fur­ther west. Kil­morey House (for­mer­ly St Mar­garets) was hit by a bomb in 1940, after which the Roy­al Naval school moved away and the build­ings lat­er became a teacher train­ing col­lege. The col­lege passed went through a series of iden­ti­ty changes before it closed in 2005, with the remain­ing staff and stu­dents mov­ing to Brunel University’s Uxbridge cam­pus.

The St Mar­garets area was con­sid­ered mere­ly ordi­nary for much of the 20th cen­tu­ry but it is now very pop­u­lar with mem­bers of the pro­fes­sion­al class­es. The ward of St Mar­garets and North Twick­en­ham has one of the high­est employ­ment lev­els in Lon­don. Most res­i­dents are white, uni­ver­si­ty-edu­cat­ed home­own­ers.

Charles Dickens lived with his family at Ailsa Park Villas during the summer of 1838.

The Turk’s Head pub featured in the Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night, while the Fab Four lived in Ailsa Avenue (shown in the photograph at the top of the page) in Help! Both films’ interior scenes were shot at nearby Twickenham Studios.

Postcode area: Twickenham, TW1
Population: 11,172 (St Margarets and North Twickenham ward, 2011 census)
Station: South West Trains (zone 4)
Further reading: ACB Urwin, Twickenham Parke: An Outline of the History of Twickenham Park and the St Margarets Estate, self-published, 1965
Websites: St Margarets community, My St Margarets (local businesses)
See also: Cole Park