About Richmond:
Whitton


Whitton is first mentioned around 1200 in a document listing land converted to arable use; it was not mentioned in the Domesday Book, as it is estimated to have had a population of about 20-25 or so and thus was listed together with Twickenham under Isleworth. The origin, like most of the towns in the Borough, is an Anglo-Saxon name comprising 'Whit' meaning 'At the turn or bend of a river, or geological feature' and 'Ton' meaning 'Farmstead/Settlement'.

For a number of years, Whitton was much like the Hamptons in that it remained a hamlet with a small population. It was not until the 1800's when Whitton became specialised in market gardening - much of the land was enclosed in nurseries and orchards, and the industry reached its peak in the 1870's. Around this time, gunpowder manufacturing was also a source of income and was conducted along the banks of the River Crane. Until Kent took the mantle, Whitton and the surrounding area was known as the 'Garden of England'.

By 1910, Whitton was heavily developed due to a modest building boom and so the foundations of much of how we know the town today were laid. After World War I, there was a major housing shortage, though this could not be addressed until there were better transport links. In answer to this, Chase Bridge was purchased and in 1928 the first omnibus/tram link between Hounslow and Twickenham was introduced. Also, the opening of the railway station in 1931 and the establishing of The Great Chertsey Road, as far as Hospital Bridge Road, in 1933 were both contributing factors to Whittons further development and the village was changed from open fields and gardens to a bustling town and residential area. With the dawn of World War II, much of this rapid development was lost - a number of houses were destroyed or damaged. However, the town rebuilt itself and further development of vacant plots continued into the 1950's-60's.

Throughout the years, there were a number of large houses and country cottages that occupied the land and adorned the streets, but have since been lost or rebuilt. Kneller Hall is one such example; the current building is the the third one to be erected at the site and was once a teacher training college, but now serves as the premises for the Royal Military School of Music. To the north of Whitton was Whitton Park, an estate established by the 3rd Duke of Argyll in 1722. The Duke was an avid gardener and imported numbers of exotic plants and trees, which upon his death were moved to the then Princess of Wales' new garden, Kew Gardens. The Duke had also built a large house for his mistress at Whitton Dene, but it has since been demolished and reopened in 1914 as Murray Park. Despite all the redevelopment, there are still houses and buildings, dating as far back as the early 19th Century, in existence today.