Teddington: Introduction

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Teddington: Introduction', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington, (London, 1962) pp. 66-69. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol3/pp66-69 [accessed 18 April 2024]


The ancient parish of Teddington (fn. 1) lies on the river bank to the south of Twickenham. The Thames here runs from south-east to north-west so that Teddington, a narrow strip lying east and west, has a frontage on the river of nearly two miles and stretches away from it another two. Until about the 13th century it formed part of the parish of Staines, (fn. 2) but since it was surrounded by other parishes, its boundaries were probably already established by that time. They seem to have been coincident with those of the manor, (fn. 3) and were probably little changed until 1912 when less than ½ acre of the parish was transferred to Hampton Wick. (fn. 4) The parish covered 1,214 acres. Having formerly been an independent urban district, it was absorbed into the borough of Twickenham in 1937 and now no longer forms a separate parish. (fn. 5)

Except for the river banks, nearly all the parish lies between 25 and 50 feet above sea-level. (fn. 6) West of Stanley Road and Anlaby Road the soil is Taplow gravel, and east of that it is flood plain gravel, with a narrow strip of alluvium along the river. (fn. 7) Until recent times a stream rose by the Upper Lodge in Bushy Park and ran north-west forming the boundary of Teddington and Twickenham for a short way before joining the Thames. (fn. 8) In 1754 a water-course was made from some springs on the common to supply clean water to the village. (fn. 9) Apart from these streams and from one or two other short watercourses running into the river, Teddington's only river is the Thames. There was a weir on the Thames at Teddington by 1345. (fn. 10) It seems to have been destroyed about 1535. (fn. 11) A new lock was opened in 1811, and though it ceased to be the lowest on the river about a hundred years later, it still marks the end of the tidal reach of the river. The lock was rebuilt in 1858 and the weir which had been made with it has also had to be rebuilt several times after floods. In 1904 the present double lock was opened. (fn. 12) A foot-bridge over the lock was opened in 1889. (fn. 13) An island in the Thames at Teddington called Creweyte is mentioned in 1502. (fn. 14) In the 18th century there were two aits, now joined to the mainland, to the south of the still surviving Trowlock Island, and one, which has since disappeared, to the north. (fn. 15)

The only ancient main road through Teddington runs south from the London-Hounslow road at Isleworth to Kingston, where there was a bridge by 1219. (fn. 16) In Teddington it is called Twickenham Road and Kingston Road. It was turnpiked in 1767. (fn. 17) Waldegrave Road, branching out of it in Twickenham parish and leading to Park Road and so through Bushy Park to Hampton Court may have come into use because of traffic to and from the royal palace. The other present-day main roads have probably followed much the same course since the Middle Ages, though those over the common in the west were only formally laid out at the inclosure in 1800. (fn. 18)

A few prehistoric finds have been made in Ted dington, (fn. 19) but the first direct evidence that the village existed was the mention of its name about 1100. (fn. 20) It doubtless grew up around the church, which stood near the river at the corner of High Street and Twickenham Road, and the manor-house, which stood off Twickenham Road opposite the church and a little farther north. (fn. 21) By the 18th century houses had spread, in parts fairly thinly, along the High Street to the village pond at the corner of Park Road, and there was another small settlement down Park Road on the edge of the common. The common, which was part of Hounslow Heath, covered the whole of the parish west of Park Road and Stanley Road. It contained 450 acres when it was inclosed in 1800. It may once have stretched eastwards to Waldegrave Road, unless this area between Stanley Road and Waldegrave Road was part of the open fields. The fields lay to north and south of the village. By 1800 a certain amount of land round the village and a good deal near the manor-house had been inclosed. There is no record of how or when these earlier inclosures were effected, though one or two small 18th-century inclosures from the common are recorded. (fn. 22) The open-field land which remained until 1800 consisted of North Field (47 a.) to the east of Waldegrave Road, South Field (258 a.), covering nearly all the parish south of the village and west of Broom Road, and Town Mead and Mead Furlong (74 a.) along the river east of Broom Road. (fn. 23) The two last, as their names indicate, had probably once been meadows and may have been the common meadow of Southmead, while the medieval Northmead possibly lay near the church. The area of North Field as described above also in 1800 included Sparksmead, which was of medieval origin and perhaps lay near the brook which divided Teddington from the open fields of Twickenham. The names of the fields appeared comparatively late: in the Middle Ages they were a collection of separate furlongs rather than large fields. (fn. 24) There was no woodland in the manor by the 14th century. (fn. 25)

Between the 17th and 19th centuries Teddington attained a certain popularity among the gentry, which it owed no doubt as much to the proximity of high fashion at Twickenham and Richmond as to its own attractions. A number of large houses, nearly all of which have now been pulled down, were built in the village during this time. After the manor-house, the first was probably that of Sir Orlando Bridgeman, lord keeper 1667-72, who retired in 1672 to the house he had built at Teddington. (fn. 26) It stood on the south of the village, (fn. 27) but is unlikely to have been Bridgeman House, which seems to have been later in date. (fn. 28) Sir Charles Duncombe (d. 1711), a banker and one of the richest men of his age, built the house later known as Teddington Place, in which he had ceilings painted by Verrio and carvings by Grinling Gibbons. (fn. 29) The house stood just south of the present St. Alban's church, and either it or another on the same site, latterly known as Udney Hall, was pulled down in 1940. (fn. 30) Faversham House nearby, possibly built in the early 18th century, belonged to the same estate. (fn. 31) Udney House, also on the south side of the High Street, to the west of Kingston Lane, bore the date 1768 and the initials I. K. It was chiefly remarkable for the fine collection of paintings made by Robert Udney (d. 1802). The picture gallery was demolished about 1825 and the house about 1899. (fn. 32) Teddington Grove, in Twickenham Road, was built about the middle of the 18th century, (fn. 33) possibly for Moses Franks, who died at Teddington in 1789 and was one of a group of rich and respected Jewish residents in the neighbourhood. (fn. 34) Sir William Chambers designed an ornamental temple and greenhouse for Franks's garden here. (fn. 35) The house afterwards belonged to John Walter (d. 1812), the founder of The Times, and was demolished after the First World War. (fn. 36) The only surviving 18th-century house of importance is Elmfield House, which has three stories and five bays, with a Doric porch added later. It is now used as a local government office. Nos. 163, 165, and 167 High Street are a row of two-storied cottages dated 1759 but possibly older. There are other survivals of the 18th and early 19th centuries in Park Road and the High Street and two or three much altered small 17th-century buildings in the High Street. (fn. 37) Late medieval accounts speak mostly of tiled roofs, (fn. 38) and also of one thatched house. (fn. 39)

In 1861, although the parish contained over twice as many houses as in 1801, Teddington still remained little more than a village. (fn. 40) Among the houses built between these dates was Teddington Hall, which was said in 1891 to have stained glass and bricks from the old Star Chamber at Westminster. (fn. 41) It stands on the south of Hampton Road and now belongs to the National Physical Laboratory, but does not apparently contain any old stained glass. Gomer House was built about 1858 by the novelist R. D. Blackmore. (fn. 42) By this time the railway had reached Twickenham and Kingston and there were omnibuses to London. (fn. 43) The slight middle-class development which resulted was soon swamped by the building which followed the opening of the two railway lines through Teddington itself. The branch of the London & South-Western Railway from Twickenham to Kingston, on which Teddington Station stands, was opened in 1863, and the Thames Valley Railway, with a station at Fulwell, in 1864. (fn. 44) Both lines are now part of the Southern Region. A few years before the railway opened the large estate of the lord of the manor had come into the market, (fn. 45) and by 1871 the parish contained 1,034 houses, in contrast to 254 ten years earlier. (fn. 46) West of the station appeared what was called Upper Teddington, with small terraced houses stretching between Stanley Road and Waldegrave Road, and the new cemetery (opened 1878) in the north. Broad Street became a new shopping centre with 'shops of a more showy description than those of the mother village', (fn. 47) the new Clarence Hotel was built in 1863, (fn. 48) St. Peter's Church in 1865-73, (fn. 49) the old cottage hospital in Elfin Grove in 1875, (fn. 50) and the Town Hall at the corner of the Causeway and Middle Lane in 1886. This last was privately owned and had a ballroom and a theatre as well as the local board of health offices. (fn. 51) It was burned down in 1903. (fn. 52) North of the High Street, where Manor Road had been laid out in 1861, (fn. 53) houses appeared quickly but were more widely spaced, and except for the area just east of the station there was little building south of the High Street. (fn. 54) Towards the river, St. Alban's confronted the old parish church in 1889 (fn. 55) and by the end of the century villas stretched more or less continuously along the riverside. South of Fulwell Station terraces and semidetached houses appeared, adjoining the slightly earlier settlement of New Hampton outside the parish. (fn. 56) In the south near Hampton Wick there were no buildings at all before the gas-works in Sandy Lane were opened in 1851. (fn. 57) After 1864 (fn. 58) a settlement grew so quickly nearby that by 1868 it had been given the name of New Found Out: (fn. 59) it later became called South Teddington. An Anglican school-church was provided in 1867 and a Roman Catholic one in 1884. (fn. 60) By the end of the century the district was covered with houses south of Bushy Park Road, with scattered ones reaching north along the Kingston Road. (fn. 61) Normansfield private asylum for the feebleminded (now under the National Health Service) in the Kingston Road was opened in 1868 and had well over a hundred patients by 1881. In 1957 it had about 200. (fn. 62)

The pace of building rather slowed down in the seventies, later increasing again so that about a thousand new houses were built in each decade from 1891 to 1911. (fn. 63) In 1886 a private omnibus service to Hampton Court was started, which was taken over by the London Suburban Omnibus Company in 1895. (fn. 64) In 1903 the London United Tramways began a service along Wellington Road and another along Stanley Road, Broad Street, the High Street, and the Kingston Road. (fn. 65) By 1936 the trams had been superseded by trolleybuses and the tram-depot north of Fulwell Station is now used as a trolleybus garage. (fn. 66) There were also motor buses by 1914. (fn. 67) The tram service was said in 1910 to have reduced the attraction of the larger villas which had been built forty years or so earlier, (fn. 68) but it accelerated building around the Kingston Road, where there had been comparatively little before, and by the First World War most of the present streets were in existence, (fn. 69) and the remaining open spaces were being given over to other uses. The whole area west of Wellington Road, with the exception of the small north-west corner across Staines Road, became the Fulwell Golf Course in 1904, (fn. 70) and between the two wars sports grounds were opened on the former Udney farm land. These are now St. Mary's Hospital Medical School Athletic Ground (c. 14 a.) and the Harlequins Sports Ground (c. 9 a.). The Lensbury Club in Broom Road, belonging to the Royal Dutch Shell Group, was built in 1938 and has large grounds on both sides of Broom Road. The local authority also opened several much smaller recreation grounds, and, in 1931, a swimming-bath in Vicarage Road. (fn. 71) The National Physical Laboratory at Bushy House has also gradually extended its buildings farther into Teddington since it was established in 1902. (fn. 72) By 1957 its grounds reached up to the Hampton Road, Coleshill Road, and Queens Road. Most of the houses built more recently in Teddington have filled gaps between existing streets and buildings: one of the chief characteristics of the district is the mixture almost everywhere of buildings of various dates and types, from the yellow brick cottages of the early 19th century onward. Parts of the High Street and Broad Street have received a facing of 20th-century shop fronts, and the Savoy Cinema, built in the later 1930's, replaced a smaller cinema on the same site. (fn. 73) A series of fêtes, commemorated by magazines in which memories of Teddington in the past are recorded, heralded the building of the War Memorial Hospital. (fn. 74) The first part of the building was opened in 1929 and the old hospital in Elfin Grove was closed and pulled down. (fn. 75) Among the chief areas of building since the First World War were the council estates of 124 houses at Udney Park, 78 houses at Mays estate, and 72 houses at Shacklegate Lane (built respectively in 1921, 1920-1, 1930), (fn. 76) and the private estates on the site of Teddington Grove (1929-30), and in the extreme north-west of the parish round Rivermeads Avenue (c. 1933-4). (fn. 77) Between 1937 and 1957 Twickenham Borough Council built about 40 houses and flats. (fn. 78)

The 'Royal Oak' and the 'King's Head,' in the High Street, which were in existence by 1730, (fn. 79) are the oldest surviving inns, but neither of them has an old building. Other short-lived 18th-century inns were the 'Greyhound' and the 'Three Bells'. (fn. 80) The 'Guildford Arms', which soon became the 'Clarence Arms' and was later rebuilt as the Clarence Hotel, was there by 1795, and the 'Duke of Wellington' by 1820. (fn. 81) The Anglers' Tavern, now the Anglers' Hotel, appeared about the middle of the century and soon after the inns multiplied with the quick growth of population. (fn. 82) By 1911 there were 24 inns, public houses, and hotels. (fn. 83)

Teddington has had a number of notable residents. Sir Orlando Bridgeman, Sir Charles Duncombe, John Walter, and R. D. Blackmore, who all built houses in the village, have been mentioned above, (fn. 84) and Bridgeman's domestic chaplain, the poet Thomas Traherne, is mentioned below. (fn. 85) Stephen Hales (d. 1761) was pre-eminent among the curates and vicars of note. (fn. 86) Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset (d. 1608), is said to have lived at the manor, (fn. 87) and the Earl of Leicester dated a letter to the queen from Teddington about 1570. (fn. 88) Many sovereigns must have passed through the village going to and from Hampton Court and Charles II is recorded as visiting the Marquess of Winchester, who apparently had a house here, on his way from Windsor in 1679. (fn. 89) Frederick, Prince of Wales, is said to have liked surprising Hales in his study, (fn. 90) and the visitors to Robert Udney's collection of paintings included George III and his family, and Horace Walpole from Twickenham. (fn. 91) William IV as Duke of Clarence lived nearby at Bushy House and he and Queen Adelaide were benefactors of the church and school. (fn. 92) Alexander Herzen, the Russian liberal exile, occupied Elmfield House from 1863 to 1864, (fn. 93) and was visited there by Garibaldi. (fn. 94) Other persons connected with Teddington include Thomas Blagrove (d. 1688), musician, who had a house and lands there at his death, (fn. 95) William Penn the Quaker, who dated his denial that he was a papist there in 1688, (fn. 96) Peg Woffington (d. 1760), the actress, who retired there in 1757, Luffman Atterbury (d. 1796), carpenter and musician, who lived there for some years, and G. M. Whipple (1842-93), physicist, who was born there. Several of the foregoing were buried in the church and churchyard. Among others buried there were Henry Flitcroft (1697-1769), architect, and Paul Whitehead (1710-74), satirist. (fn. 97)


  • 1. This article was written in 1957. Any references to later years which have been added since then are dated.
  • 2. See p. 76.
  • 3. See p. 69.
  • 4. Census, 1921.
  • 5. Census, 1931 (pts. 1 and 2).
  • 6. O.S. Map 1/25,000 TQ 17 (1954).
  • 7. Geol. Survey Map, sheet 270 (drift).
  • 8. Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, ii (7), 10; cf. Rocque, Map of 10 miles round London (1746).
  • 9. See p. 77.
  • 10. W.A.M. 27181. For another possible weir or fishery, note Isleworth Syon's rights in an ait in Teddington (p. 71).
  • 11. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII 2101, m. 7d; W.A.M. 32038A.
  • 12. F. S. Thacker, Thames Highway: Locks and Weirs, 465.
  • 13. Surrey Comet, 23 Feb. 1889, p. 5.
  • 14. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII 389.
  • 15. Rocque, Map of 10 miles round London (1746); C 54/7518, map at m. 1 (incl. map, 1800).
  • 16. V.C.H. Surr. iii. 488.
  • 17. Act for repair of road from Counters Bridge to Colnbrook, &c. 7 Geo. III, c. 88.
  • 18. C 54/7518, m. l; cf. Rocque, Map of 10 miles round London (1746).
  • 19. C. E. Vulliamy, Archaeology of Mdx. and Lond. 72, 92, 126.
  • 20. See p. 69.
  • 21. See p. 70.
  • 22. The almshouses were built on the common: see p. 74; another incl. is recorded in Twickenham B.C., Teddington Vestry Min. Bk. 14 Oct. 1783.
  • 23. C 54/7518, map and mm. 1-21. See map on p. 141.
  • 24. See manorial accts. cited on p. 72, n. 84.
  • 25. S.C. 6/918/23; none is mentioned in an extent and terrier of 1312: W.A.M. 27197.
  • 26. D.N.B.; and see p. 77.
  • 27. M.R.O., Acc. 276/bundle 4, lease of 1735.
  • 28. See Twickenham Libr. Z 2666, 2871.
  • 29. D.N.B.
  • 30. Local information. Lysons, Environs of Lond. iii. 512, says 2 rooms then still had their original decorations, &c., and A. L. Udney in the later 19th cent. (Twickenham Publ. Libr., MS. Notes on hist. of Teddington) says that Teddington Place had fine walnut carvings in one room. But it is not mentioned in Hist. Mon. Com. Mdx. 119; cf. sale particulars 1874: B.M. Maps 137.a. 11(10).
  • 31. See pencil drawing in Guildhall Prints V/Ted., and photog. in Twickenham Public Libr. (Z 2964); B.M. Maps 137.a.11(10).
  • 32. W. Niven, 'Robert Udney's Villa at Teddington,' Home Cties. Mag. i. 273-6.
  • 33. It is not marked on Rocque, Map of 10 miles round Lond. (1746).
  • 34. Hilda Finberg, 'Jewish residents in 18th-cent. Twickenham', Trans. Jewish Hist. Soc. xvi. 130.
  • 35. Colvin, Dict. Eng. Architects, 1660-1840, 134; cf. Brewer, Beauties of Eng. and Wales, x (5), 489.
  • 36. Brewer, op. cit.; for Walter, see p. 78.
  • 37. See, e.g. Pevsner, Mdx. 154, and Hist. Mon. Com. Mdx. 119. The houses listed by Hist. Mon. Com. appear to be respectively nos. 159, 93, and 83.
  • 38. See manorial accts. cited on p. 72, n. 84.
  • 39. W.A.M. 32256.
  • 40. Census, 1801-61; M.R.O., Acc. 363/9 and O.S. Maps 1/2,500 Mdx. xxv. 3, 4, 8 show the par. just before largescale building began.
  • 41. W.A.M. 61737-8.
  • 42. D.N.B.
  • 43. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1855).
  • 44. C. F. D. Marshall, Hist. of Southern Railway, 146-7, 149.
  • 45. M.R.O., Acc. 363/9.
  • 46. Census, 1861, 1871.
  • 47. Thorne, Handbk. to Environs of Lond. (1876), ii. 604; O.S. Maps 1/2,500 Lond. cxxi, cxxxi (2nd edn.).
  • 48. Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, ii (7), 7.
  • 49. See p. 79.
  • 50. Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, i (3), 4.
  • 51. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1886, 1890).
  • 52. Thames Valley Times, 30 Dec. 1903.
  • 53. M.R.O., Acc. 363/9.
  • 54. O.S. Maps 1/2,500 Lond. cxxxi, cxxxii (2nd edn.).
  • 55. See p. 79.
  • 56. O.S. Maps 1/2,500 Lond. cxxxi. cxxxii, cxl.
  • 57. Ex inf. the Station Engineer, Hampton Court Gas Works, Sandy Lane.
  • 58. O.S. Map 1/2,500 Mdx. xxv. 8 (1st edn.).
  • 59. See, e.g. Twickenham B.C., Teddington Vestry Cttee. Min. Bk., Charity inquiry 1868.
  • 60. See p. 81.
  • 61. O.S. Maps 1/2,500 Lond. cxl (2nd edn.).
  • 62. Date on building; Census, 1881; ex inf. medical superintendent.
  • 63. Census, 1871-1911.
  • 64. Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, ii (7), 16.
  • 65. The Times, 30 Mar. 1903, p. 3.
  • 66. Twickenham Libr. Z 2664; Teddington U.D. Guide (1930, 1934, 1936).
  • 67. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1914).
  • 68. C. G. Harper, Thames Valley Villages, i. 177.
  • 69. O.S. Maps 1/2,500 Mdx. xxv. 3, 4, 8; Rep. Com. on Lond. Traffic [Cd. 2751], p. 907, H.C. (1906), xl.
  • 70. Fulwell Golf Course: Official Handbk. [c. 1957].
  • 71. Teddington U.D. Guide (1936).
  • 72. Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, i (4), 17.
  • 73. Teddington U.D. Guide (1936).
  • 74. The first of these magazines was called Our Town (1924). Later nos. came out yearly 1925-34 and were called Swan and Stag. Altogether there were 11 nos. (numbered 1, 3-12: there was no no. 2) comprising 2 vols.
  • 75. Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, ii (8), 7.
  • 76. Ex inf. Twickenham B.C.
  • 77. Teddington U.D. Guide (1936).
  • 78. Ex inf. Twickenham B.C.
  • 79. M.R.O., L.V. 5/25.
  • 80. Ibid.; Twickenham B.C., Teddington Vestry Min. Bk. 17 May 1751, 5 May 1765.
  • 81. M.R.O., L.V. 10/52, 68; 20/7.
  • 82. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1855 and later edns.).
  • 83. Census, 1911.
  • 84. See p. 67.
  • 85. See p. 77.
  • 86. See p. 77.
  • 87. See p. 70.
  • 88. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1566-79, 231.
  • 89. Hist. MSS. Com. Ormonde, v. 75.
  • 90. D.N.B. sub Hales.
  • 91. W. Niven, 'Robert Udney's Villa at Teddington', Home Cties. Mag. i. 273.
  • 92. See pp. 77, 79, 81.
  • 93. E. H. Carr, Romantic Exiles, 373.
  • 94. Teddington Memorial Hosp. Swan and Stag, ii (7), 10.
  • 95. D.N.B.
  • 96. Wood, Athenae Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 651.
  • 97. D.N.B.