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Museum of Richmond

History and museums
attractions, sightseeing, culture, museum, history museum

The Museum of Richmond in Richmond, London is located in Richmond's Old Town Hall, close to Richmond Bridge. It was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 October 1988.

An independent museum and a registered charity, the museum, which is supported by Richmond upon Thames Borough Council, was created in 1983 by local residents led by local historian John Cloake (who was the museum's first Chairman). Its first permanent curator (from 1989 to 2003) was Simon Lace. The current curator (since February 2016) is James Scott. Sir David Bostock chairs the board of trustees.

The museum's displays, from mediaeval times to the present day, relate to the history of Richmond, Ham, Petersham and Kew which, until local government boundary changes in 1965, formed the Municipal Borough of Richmond (Surrey). Its rotating exhibitions, education activities and resources, a programme of events (including events for families and children) cover the whole of the modern borough. The museum's highlights include: 16th-century glass from Richmond Palace; a model of Richmond Palace; and a painting, The Terrace and View from Richmond Hill, Surrey by Dutch draughtsman and painter Leonard Knyff (1650–1722), which is part of the Richmond upon Thames Borough Art Collection.

The museum publishes a quarterly newsletter and organises a programme of talks.

Admission to the museum, which is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, is free.


From 5 March to 25 June 2016, the museum is displaying, in partnership with the Orleans House Gallery and the Riverside Gallery, Images of Richmond, a temporary exhibition of prints depicting the local area which were collected by John Cloake. This will be followed, in summer 2016, by an exhibition celebrating the life and work of Capability Brown.

The museum's previous exhibitions include:

  • 2015 (5 September) – 2016 (27 February) The Battle of Britain 75 years on – Richmond and the Second World War
  • 2015 (1 May – 1 September) Feeding London: the Forgotten Market Gardens, telling the story of market gardening in Hounslow, Isleworth, Brentford, Twickenham and Hampton. This was a touring exhibition hosted by the museum, and created by Jam Yesterday, Jam Tomorrow, a project by the Environment Trust for Richmond upon Thames
  • 2014 (8 August) – 2015 (22 April) 1914–1918 Richmond at Home and at War: Local stories and their International Links, Richmond's experience of the First World War
  • 2014 (30 January – 26 July) Encountering the Unchartered and back – Three explorers: Ball, Vancouver and Burton, telling the story of explorers Henry Lidgbird Ball, George Vancouver and Richard Burton and their connections with Richmond
  • 2013 (20 March – 2 November) Living and Dying in 19th Century Richmond, exploring the lives of some of Richmond’s 19th-century residents
  • 2012 (19 December) – 2013 (2 March) The Building of a Borough, showcasing key examples of 22,000 building plans held in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames’ Local Studies Collection
  • 2012 (3 August – 24 November) Royal Minstrels to Rock and Roll: 500 years of music-making in Richmond
  • 2012 (4 February – 23 June) Happy and Glorious: popular Royal celebration and commemoration in Richmond
  • 2010 (18 September) – 2011 (26 February) Richmond Theatre: Through the Stages
  • 2010 (1 May – 4 September) How the Vote Was Won: Art, Theatre and Women's Suffrage
  • 2009 (October)  – 2010 (17 April) Richmond – From Page to Screen
  • 2009 (February - August) From Henry VII to Henry VIII, marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry VII at Richmond Palace and the accession to the throne of his son Henry VIII
  • 2007 (16 May – 17 November) The Two Richmonds – A Celebration of their Twinning, marking the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown and the twinning relationship of Richmond, Surrey and Richmond, Virginia
  • 2007 (23 April – 29 July) Trading in Human Lives: The Richmond Connection, on Richmond and the slave trade
  • 2006 (25 October) – 2007 (17 March) Man Remade: Paul Drury’s War in Richmond, featuring the work of the 20th-century artist and printmaker Paul Drury
  • 2006 (5 April – 7 October) A Rich Heritage, featuring items from the borough's Local Studies Collection
  • 2005 (28 September) – 2006 (18 March) Turner-Upon-Thames, focusing on the period when the artist J M W Turner lived in Isleworth and in Twickenham
  • 2004 (17 November) – 2005 (26 March) Britflicks-on-Thames: Film Studios of the Borough and Beyond
  • 2004 (14 January – 24 April) The Sensational Miss Braddon, about the author Mary Braddon who lived and died in Richmond
  • 2003 (5 August – 28 September) Without Exception, a selection of original prints by Thomas Rowlandson of "The English Dance of Death" (1815–1816)
  • 2003 (February – July) The Virgin Queen in Richmond, marking the 400th anniversary of the death, at Richmond Palace, of Elizabeth I
  • 2002 (9 July – 29 September) The Fight To Save The View, marking the 100th anniversary of the Richmond, Petersham and Ham Open Spaces Act
  • 1998 (10 November) – 1999 (13 March) Arthur Hughes: The Last Pre-Raphaelite, about the Pre-Raphaelite artist Arthur Hughes, who died at his house on Kew Green in 1915 and is buried in Richmond Cemetery
  • 1997 – 1998 (14 March) Richmond Women Face to Face, famous women who lived in Richmond
  • 1996 (10 September) – 1997 (25 January) Spencer Gore in Richmond, about the artist Spencer Gore who lived in Richmond and died there in 1914
  • 1994 (1 November) – 1995 (28 January) The Factory of Remembrance: The Poppy & the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory, telling the story of the Poppy Factory in Richmond
  • 1991 (6 August – 27 October) The Richmond Royal Horse Show, an event held regularly in Richmond from 1892 to 1967
  • 1989 Pissarro in Richmond


The museum's publications include:

  • Boyes, Valerie (with contributions from Govett, John) (2013) Living and Dying in 19th Century Richmond, 25pp.
  • Boyes, Valerie (with contributions from Cloake, John and Paytress, Mark) (2012) Royal Minstrels to Rock and Roll: 500 years of music-making in Richmond, 28pp.
  • Moses, John; Cloake, John (2007) The Two Richmonds: a celebration of their twinning, the American connection, 14pp. OCLC 143627273
  • Boyes, Valerie (2007) Trading in Human Lives: The Richmond Connection, 28pp.
  • Roberts, Leonard and Wildman, Stephen (1999) Arthur Hughes: The Last Pre-Raphaelite, 48pp. ISBN 978-1851493173
  • Museum of Richmond (1996) Spencer Gore in Richmond: an exhibition at the Museum of Richmond 10 September 1996 to 25 January 1997, 44pp, ISBN 0951854917
  • Museum of Richmond (1994) Simplest Country Gentlefolk: Royal Family at Kew, 1727–1841, 36pp. ISBN 978-0951854914
  • Jeffrie, Richard (1991) Mr Rowlandson's Richmond: Thomas Rowlandson's Drawings of Richmond-upon-Thames, 89pp. ISBN 0951854909


HRH Princess Alexandra is Royal Patron of the museum. Its other patrons are broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, Richmond hotelier Greville Dare, Julian Fellowes (Baron Fellowes of West Stafford), TV presenter and author Bamber Gascoigne, Lady Annabel Goldsmith, broadcaster Andrew Marr and Lord Watson of Richmond.

Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0