Teddington, Richmond upon Thames

A large and comfortable Victorian and Edwardian suburb, located south of Twickenham

Hidden London: Teddington Lock by Hugh Venables

Ted­ding­ton was first doc­u­ment­ed in the eleventh cen­tu­ry, although it is not men­tioned in Domes­day Book. Its name prob­a­bly derives from words mean­ing ‘farm­stead of a man called Tuda’. In the Mid­dle Ages the vil­lage grew near the riv­er, around St Mary’s Church and the manor house.

The old­est main road ran along the route of the Twick­en­ham Road and Kingston Road and con­nect­ed the London–Hounslow road with the bridge from Hamp­ton Wick to Kingston in 1219. There was a fish­ing weir on the Thames at Ted­ding­ton between 1345 and c.1535. A road, now Walde­grave Road through to Park Road, prob­a­bly came into exis­tence to cater for traf­fic to Hamp­ton Court, a roy­al palace from about 1525.

Some large hous­es were built as a result of the increas­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty of near­by Rich­mond in the 17th and 18th cen­turies, the first prob­a­bly in 1672. One of the few remain­ing is Elm­field House, which is now used by Rich­mond coun­cil.

By the 18th cen­tu­ry the High Street was inter­mit­tent­ly lined with hous­es and there was a sep­a­rate lit­tle set­tle­ment in Park Road. The com­mon land, which was part of Houn­slow Heath, and the open fields to the north and south of the vil­lage were enclosed in 1800.

Vis­i­ble on the right in the pho­to­graph above,* Ted­ding­ton Lock was con­struct­ed in 1811 and marks the end of the tidal reach of the Thames. It was rebuilt with an addi­tion­al side-lock in 1857.

The sale of the mano­r­i­al estate and the open­ing of Ted­ding­ton sta­tion in 1863 led to a del­uge of mid­dle-class hous­ing being built, includ­ing at South Ted­ding­ton. Small ter­races went up between Stan­ley Road and Walde­grave Road, and Broad Street became a street of shops. Manor Road had been laid out in 1861 but the rest of that end of the high street, although it grew rapid­ly, was not so dense­ly filled.

By 1871 the parish of Ted­ding­ton had four times as many hous­es as it had had a decade ear­li­er. Among the major build­ings opened in the 1870s and 1880s were St Peter’s Church, a cot­tage hos­pi­tal, a town hall and St Alban’s Church. Of these, only the church­es sur­vive, the lat­ter as the Land­mark Arts Cen­tre. A foot­bridge over the lock replaced the fer­ry from 1889.

Hidden London: National Physical Laboratory

The Nation­al Phys­i­cal Lab­o­ra­to­ry opened in 1902 (see also Bushy Park). Nowa­days the lab­o­ra­to­ry is the UK’s prin­ci­pal nation­al mea­sure­ment insti­tute and also col­lab­o­rates with acad­e­mia on a vari­ety of research projects. Some of its new­er build­ings are shown in the pho­to above.

The com­ing of tram ser­vices in 1903 stim­u­lat­ed build­ing around the Kingston Road area and by the out­break of the First World War most of the exist­ing streets and hous­ing were in place.

Film-mak­ing began at Ted­ding­ton Stu­dios in 1912 and boomed after Warn­er Bros leased and then bought the oper­a­tion in the 1930s, when Ted­ding­ton was said to have pro­duced 10 per cent of British films. The stu­dios were sub­stan­tial­ly rebuilt after being bombed dur­ing the Sec­ond World War and sub­se­quent­ly switched to tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tions. They closed in 2014, to be replaced by a cou­ple of hun­dred flats.

Var­i­ous com­mer­cial premis­es opened after the Sec­ond World War, pri­mar­i­ly in the form of offices and work­shops, and a coun­cil estate was built at Udney Park. Ted­ding­ton busi­ness park opened in 1984 on the site of an old coal yard in Sta­tion Road. In recent years blocks of upmar­ket flats have been built wher­ev­er plan­ning per­mis­sion can be obtained.

Teddington’s pop­u­la­tion is pre­dom­i­nant­ly white British, mid­dle-aged and well-edu­cat­ed.

After receiving a legacy in 1857, RD Blackmore bought Gomer House, now demolished. He established a peach orchard here and wrote numerous novels, including the romantic adventure story Lorna Doone.

131 Waldegrave Road was the birthplace and childhood home of Noel Coward.

Postcode area: Teddington TW11
Population: 10,330 (2011 census)
Station: South West Trains (zone 6)
Further reading: Mike Cherry et al., Twickenham, Whitton, Teddington & The Hamptons Through Time, Amberley, 2009
and Ken Howe, Edwardian Teddington, History into Print, 2010


* The picture of Teddington Lock at the top of this article is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Hugh Venables, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse of the image is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.