Richmond Society Sixtieth Anniversary Booklet

60th Anniversary booklet front page thumbnail
The Richmond Society celebrated its 60th Anniversary at an celebration on Thursday 6th April 2017. Speakers included the society’s patrons Lord Alan Watson and Baroness Ronnie van Dedem, past chairmen of the society, and long-standing members who have supported the society’s work over the past six decades.

To mark the occasion, the Society published a booklet setting out the issues it has addressed over the years, along with a full list of its patrons, chairmen, and secretaries. The list also includes officers of its History and Archaeological sections until they became fully fledged societies at the end of the 1970s.

The booklet can be downloaded by clicking here or on the image on the left.

Richmond Society Annual Report and Accounts 2016

The Society’s executive committee’s report and accounts for the year 2016 were presented at the Richmond Society’s AGM on 8th December 2016.

The report can be found on our Annual Reports page, or downloaded from this link.  It includes this annual Statement from the Chair, Professor Ian Bruce CBE.

The last year has once again been encouragingly active for us as you will see in the following committee reports which cover many important topics such as the new borough local development framework, the new leases for Old Deer Park, Heathrow expansion, riverside amenities, public lavatories, alcohol licenses and other subjects including our social events. Thank you to the chairs, committee members and all the others who volunteer to make these activities happen. Richmond Society has no paid staff so everything that happens needs someone to volunteer to do it! I should like most profoundly to thank everyone who helps, and hope that the 100+ members who volunteer find it worthwhile and (mostly!) enjoyable.

At our last AGM in December 2015 we agreed a legal format of a charitable incorporated organisation and a draft constitution. The Charity Commission approved our registration on 7 September 2016 without requiring any significant modification to our draft constitution. Special thanks to our Treasurer Andrew Coleman for steering us through this complicated exercise.

Membership has continued to grow, with 139 new members producing a net increase to a new high of 1,185 at the end of the financial year 30 September. I am fairly confident that at our AGM I shall be reporting that we have topped 1,200. This has contributed to some of the increased numbers attending our events. For example, when we were in the Vestry Hall our talks were usually to 40 to 80 people. We moved to Duke Street Church for a year up to November 2015 to accommodate larger numbers, but unfortunately they were planning major refurbishments and so we switched to the Richmond Adult Community College (RACC) in January 2016. Numbers attending talks are now between 120 and 200 and everyone is delighted with the warm and welcoming atmosphere of RACC.

Last year I reported on our success in lobbying for more community toilets, up from one to twenty-six. Over the first year of their operation some have worked well but a survey we undertook showed that about a quarter are not satisfactory and the distribution of the remainder is uneven e.g. with none along the riverside. You will read several references to this subject in the committee reports and we shall continue to campaign on this issue.

Although technically not in the year under review, it is worth reporting that on 1 October 2016 Richmond Council introduced a shared staffing and management arrangement with Wandsworth Council in order to save money, reduce overheads and protect front-line services. There is now one Chief Executive in charge of the two boroughs. In October we had a Forum on this subject and many members in the audience expressed concern.

Last but certainly not least, we were delighted when Baroness Ronny van Dedem accepted our invitation to become an additional Patron of Richmond Society. Along with her husband Baron Willem van Dedem, who sadly passed away in 2015, she has given the wonderful grounds of Trumpeters House for our summer party for many years. Already she has attended our Annual Review and Awards evening in September and presented the awards.

Future plans for The Old Deer Park

The Old Deer Park Working Group (ODPG) consists of representatives of The Richmond Society, The Kew Society, The Friends of Richmond Green, The Friends of Old Deer Park and The St Margaret’s Estate Residents Association.

ODPG Framework Proposal (June 2012)

Report thumbnailIn June 2012 the Group published the report: The Old Deer Park, Richmond – Re-connecting the Town to its local park – Realising an under-recognised parkland asset – A framework for conservation and enhancement.

The Group’s aim in publishing the report was to provide a positive contribution to discussion and debate in the context of the falling-in and renewal of all but two of the existing leases granted by the Crown Estate for the land comprising the Old Deer Park, Richmond.

ODPG Boundary Definitions Proposal Proposal (February 2013)

Report thumbnailThe Group’s 2012 report raised concerns regarding significant anomalies regarding the definitions of a number of boundaries relating to the Old Deer Park shown in the Council’s Local Development Framework Proposals Map, Adopted November 2011. So in February 2013 the Group issued a further Boundary Definitions report recommending that the scope of future Old Deer Park plans include:
(1) the Pools on the Park, its grounds and car park
(2) the Old Deer Park car park and the land between that and the railway
(3) the carriageway and footways of the Twickenham Road.

ODPG response to the Council’s Site Allocations Consultation (November 2013)

In October 2013, Richmond Council issued its Site Allocations Plan consultation, aimed at meeting “present and future needs for housing, employment, retail, transport, education, health, community facilities, sport and leisure, looking ahead over the next fifteen years”.

Report thumbnailThe Old Deer Park Working Group’s response to this reiterated the principles it had set out in its Boundary Definitions report (see above). The Group’s principal concern was that failure by the Council to remedy the designation anomalies that it had identified would leave the relevant areas of the Old Deer Park at significant risk of proposals for substantial built development damaging the integrity and distinctive character of the Park.

ODPG response to the Council’s Site Allocations Plan Pre-Publication consultation
(July 2014)

In June 2014, Richmond Council issued its Site Allocations Development Plan (Pre-Publication consultation on new additional sites).

Report thumbnailThe Old Deer Park Working Group responded, expressing concern that the Council had failed to address the adjustments that it had highlighted as being necessary in its November 2013 response. This failure went against the clear recognition of the case for adjustments in the definition of the relevant zoning boundaries expressed by the Leader of the Council, Cabinet Members, other Councillors and planning officers at useful and constructive meetings held at York House on the 22nd January and 24th February, 2014. The Group once again urged the Council to effect the necessary adjustments in the definition of the relevant zoning boundaries under the provisions of the Site Allocations Plan.

ODPG response to the Council’s Pre-Publication Consultation on the Local Plan
(August 2016)

Report thumbnailIn July 2016, Richmond Council issued out its Pre-Publication Consultation on the Local Plan. In its response, the Old Deer Park Working Group highlighted the absence of a draft Proposals Map, uncertainty whether the Old Deer Park has (or does not have) a Village Plan. It also reiterated the need for the Council to resolve the significant anomalies relating to the definition of the Old Deer Park’s boundaries as highlighted in its Boundary Definitions report of February 2013 (see above).

ODPG response to the Council’s Old Deer Park Supplementary Planning Consultation
(November 2016)

Report thumbnailIn October 2016 Richmond Council issued its Old Deer Park Supplementary Planning Document.   The Old Deer Park Working Group recently responded to this.

Richmond Heathrow Campaign responds to the Government’s Heathrow announcement

Yesterday’s Government announcement supporting a 3rd runway at Heathrow is still only a single step towards a goal that may never be delivered. The final free vote in parliament will not be taken until October 2017 or later. In the mean time the proposal faces several obstacles:

1. The Government’s failure to explain how a 3rd runway will be paid for without raising landing charges and without massive public subsidy.

2. The impact of the 2008 Climate Change Act, which can only result in Heathrow diverting growth from parts of the UK where it is needed to the south-east where it is not.

3. Legal challenges from local councils (including Richmond) and environmental groups.

The Richmond Heathrow Campaign’s view is that this decision is political and not rational. The history of the Roskill Commission in the early 1970s shows that a Government runway decision can be changed, and then never implemented. We will continue to campaign to expose the absence of a factual foundation for today’s runway decision with a view to the proposed new runway sharing the same fate.

We are now on Twitter and will be building up a series of infographics over coming weeks. If you are on Twitter then please follow us, and please retweet us to your followers if you like what we are saying.

You can see our full position on Heathrow and all our submissions to the Davies Commission on our website.

For further papers covering the different aspects of Heathrow expansion please visit RHC Facts.

Peter Willan, Chair of the Richmond Heathrow Campaign writes:

On Tuesday 25 October, Chris Grayling (Secretary of State for Transport) announced with enthusiasm the Government’s support for a 3rd runway at Heathrow and that the scheme will now be taken forward. The process involves a draft National Policy Statement in the New Year followed by consultation, parliamentary scrutiny and a vote and then designation at which point a detailed planning application can be made.

The Government states it has relied on the recommendation of the Airports Commission in July 2015 and the positive outcome of further work on two unresolved issues of air quality and carbon emissions. Tribute was paid to the quality and professionalism of the Commission’s report.

Emphasis is given to the value of expansion to the local and wider economy with increased employment and international and domestic connectivity. The Statement repeatedly referred to Britain being open for business. In spite of the substantial costs, the Government says it is confident a plan will be delivered that keeps landing charges close to current levels. At this stage it is not clear whether the Government has ruled out any financial support for surface access or anything else.

The Government claims to recognise environmental costs and to that end – an expectation to end night flights before 6am and new legally binding noise targets. It notes the airport has pledged £700 million for noise mitigation. Meeting air quality legal requirements will be made a planning condition. Compensation for those communities affected will be supported by up to £2.6 billion (paid by Heathrow). We should be wary of any predictions decisions or conditions offered, given the history of broken promises by Government. No mention has been made of a 4th runway but then any promise not to expand further is almost certainly worthless.

Richmond Heathrow Campaign has consistently argued against the need for any new runways, given the restrictions flowing from Climate Change Act 2008 on carbon emissions that in effect limit the number of passengers to around 380 million per annum by 2050. We set out in our fact sheets at the negative impact on the UK economy of a 3rd runway under these circumstances and based on the Airports Commission’s evidence. Growth in total UK passenger numbers is reduced and Heathrow diverts demand from the rest of the UK, thus damaging employment and local economies around the UK. Growth of inbound tourism and long-haul business trips is reduced thus reducing economic benefits and the number of UK overseas destinations remains unchanged. These are all facts, along with many others, the Government has seemingly ignored. The Commission’s recommendation just does not stand up to scrutiny of its own facts.

The decision in our view is not rational and is founded on politics pressured by Heathrow and business lobbying. The Government has missed the opportunity to invest in making London’s five airports and their access better and allowing the rest of the UK to expand. Instead, concentration and overheating in the southeast will stifle competition. The Government and Heathrow are now engaged in a huge gamble that the expansion can be delivered, achieve the estimated benefits and satisfy the environmental and other constraints. We doubt success will be achieved. We will do what we can to ensure the scheme never gets off the ground.

Significantly, four local authorities including, Richmond, along with Greenpeace will almost certainly launch a legal challenge. The scheme is likely to be frustrated and delayed for several years and may never take off. We will continue the challenge with the support of our local amenity groups we represent – the Richmond Society, the Kew Society and the Friends of Richmond Green, which together have over 2,000 members. Not to do so would allow our community to be blighted with the potential of additional flights over Richmond. Our neighbour, Heathrow, has poured salt on the wound by declaring it will seek an early expansion of flights before the runway is built. We encourage people to follow us on twitter and support the campaign.

Further Reading from the Evening Standard . . .

Heathrow expansion is ‘wrong decision for London and Britain’
Sadiq Khan, October 2016

Expanding Heathrow will be a monumental blight on west London
Simon Jenkins, October 2016

Third Heathrow runway is ‘an outrageous vanity project’ says BA boss Willie Walsh
July 2015

Richmond Society new constitution

Following the approval of the proposal at last year’s AGM to incorporate the Society, which included also approval of a draft constitution, the Charity Commission has approved the establishment of the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

An increasing number of charities are taking this step as it has the benefits of simplifying contractual arrangements and protecting the position of the trustees.  This change should have no significant effect on your membership of the Society. The charitable objects of the CIO will be the same as at present and the trustees will also not change as a result of the change of legal status. The membership fee too will be unaffected by the change in legal status.

The Richmond Society’s Exec Committee is now transferring all the activities, assets and liabilities of the Richmond Society to the new CIO.

As a result of this change, the Society has adopted a new constitution.

Please follow this link if you would like to view the new constitution.

Annual Awards 2016

Annual Awards 2016 logo.
The Richmond Society’s Annual Awards for 2016 were presented on Thursday 22nd September by our new patron, Baroness van Dedem, with Richmond’s Mayor, Councillor David Linnette, as the guest of honour.

This year’s brass plaque was given for the restoration of the Collcutt fountain at the top of Richmond Hill by the entrance to Richmond Park.

Collcutt Fountain restoration

Annual Awards 2016: Restoration of the Collcutt Function on Richmond Hill.

Borough of Richmond upon Thames
David Sharp,
Head of Construction & Maintenance

Consulting Architect
Donald Insall Associates
John Dangerfield, Associate Director

Paul Cleghorn Public Lighting Ltd
Paul Cleghorn, Proprietor

Grant giver
Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Civic Pride Fund
Councillor Pam Fleming
Richmond Civic Trust –
London Community Foundation
Sam Smallcombe, Programme & Monitoring Manager

Major funder
London Square
Mark Smith,
Development & Technical Director

The Richmond Society
Nicky Wood, Chair,
Landscaping & Riverside Committee

Awards were also given for the restoration of Dunstable House and of the Clerestory Windows in the Parish Church.

Restoration of Dunstable House on Sheen Road

Annual Awards 2016: Restoration of Dunstable House on Sheen Road.

Bencameron Ltd

M R Partnership Ltd
Christopher Watts, Director & Consultant Architect

Jaspar Management Ltd
Anish Patel


Restoration of the Clerestory Windows
in the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene

Annual Awards 2016: Restoration of the Clerestory Windows in the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene

Richmond Team Ministry
The Reverend Wilma Roest

Peter Bowyer, Parish Architect

Richard Murphy

Original Stained Glass & Glazing Company
Tyrone Russell

Honorable Mentions

The Richmond Society also commended the following developments:

  • The new Travelodge at 9 Paradise Road
  • Gail’s Bakery in Lichfield Court
  • Maintenance and enhancement of the Terrace Gardens


Queen’s 90th Birthday tree planting

The Richmond Society recently donated a black poplar tree to the National Trust to commemorate the Queen’s 90th birthday.


It was planted on Petersham Meadows earlier this week in a ceremony attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of Richmond together with representatives of the National Trust and the Richmond Society.

Chair of the Richmond Society, Professor Ian Bruce, commented: “This commemoration marks an important milestone and also helps ensure the addition of a rare native Black Poplar in ideal meadow conditions.”

Richmond Society Annual Report and Accounts 2015

The Society’s executive committee’s report and accounts for the year 2015 can be found on our Annual Reports page, or downloaded from this link.

It includes the annual Statement from the Chair, Professor Ian Bruce CBE.

As we go to press one of the most significant local issues is the decision on whether Heathrow will have an additional runway. If the answer from the government is yes, it will be a blow, especially in the light of earlier promises, but the battle will not be over: there will be judicial process challenges and challenges for Heathrow to meet legal, regulatory and common sense requirements on air quality/health, safety and finance, leaving aside the inevitable outcry over the misery that will accompany a fifty per-cent uplift in planes flying over one of the most populous cities in the world. The Richmond Society has been active in opposition throughout the year through its active participation in Richmond Heathrow Campaign chaired by the indefatigable Peter Willan.

Last year I mentioned Village Planning as one of the subjects engaging our attention, with over 100 members involved in discussing and drawing up priority lists of positive change they would like to see take place. Our method of working has been recommended to other community groups. This engagement has continued during the year with progress already on some of the priorities, such as access to public lavatories. While we still have no additional “good old fashioned public lavatories” the need has been recognised by the Council and increased financial incentives for commercial outlets to make their facilities open to the public has worked. For example numbers of ‘community toilets’ in Richmond and Richmond Hill have risen from only one in full operation to 26. See

We have had another year of excellent speakers organised by Janice Kay with, for example, Michael Frayn drawing in a rapt audience of 300 members and guests. Indeed guests at our talks are a major source of new members who totalled 120 this year, producing a net gain to a new membership high of 1,134 as of the end of the financial year. We are recruiting more members with young children, aided by three events a year aimed at this group, with the high spot over the last year of a Barn Dance in the garden of St Mary’s vicarage using historical tunes and steps which attracted members from one to 90 years.

2015 was a national election year and we were delighted to partner with the Kew Society to put on a Hustings at Duke Street Church at which all the local parliamentary candidates were questioned by our memberships – answers which helped people to decide how to vote. Promoting civic engagement is an important function of the Richmond Society.

Hon Secretaries do a lot of work in relatively little limelight and so it was well deserved to see our own Pat Spaight being recognised among the community awards given by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames this year. May I also acknowledge Geoff Hyde who, as our Hon Independent examiner, plays an important part in giving people confidence that our affairs are managed properly. We are also grateful to Ginny Curry who has taken up the role of Membership Secretary. Our Executive Committee, and indeed all our committees and volunteers have worked hard this year to bring about our successes, and I thank everyone who has contributed.

Proposed changes to the Richmond Society constitution

Incorporation of the Richmond Society 

The Society’s trustees are proposing to change the Society’s legal structure from that of a trust to an organisation with limited liability. Now that the Charity Commission (the charity regulator) has introduced a new form of limited liability structure – the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (or CIO) – an increasing number of charities are taking this step as it has the benefits of simplifying contractual arrangements and protecting the position of the trustees.

The legal process through which the change in the Society’s legal structure takes place involves:
1. Approval by the members of the Richmond Society at the AGM in December of the proposal to incorporate the Society and approval of the draft constitution for the CIO.
2. Application to the Charity Commission to set up the CIO.
3. Transfer of all of the activities, assets and liabilities of the Richmond Society to the new CIO.

You will probably be most interested in how this affects the position of the members of the Society and we are pleased to be able to tell you that it should have no significant effect. Your membership and its benefits, whether you are an annual or a life member, will be transferred to the CIO (which will be called the Richmond Society). The charitable objects of the CIO will be the same as at present and the trustees will also not change as a result of the change of legal status. The membership fee too will be unaffected by the change in legal status.

The constitution of the new CIO looks somewhat different from the existing constitution. The Charity Commission has a standard model CIO constitution, which it expects all charities substantially to follow. We have amalgamated the principles of the Society’s existing constitution with the model constitution and we are satisfied that the Society’s existing governance arrangements will continue largely unaffected by the change in legal status.

The proposed constitution and some explanatory notes are available as follows:
Richmond Society Proposed Constitution November 2015
Richmond Society Proposed Constitution November 2015 Explanatory Notes

The Society’s trustees have carefully considered this matter and believe, unanimously, that the change in the Society’s legal structure is in the best long-term interests of the charity, and we do hope you will support us.

RSPA Fountain on Richmond Hill

The RSPA fountain by the Star and Garter in Richmond

The RSPA fountain by the Star and Garter in Richmond

The Collcutt Cattle Fountain is a fine example of Arts and Crafts design and Victorian metalwork, Listed Grade II, and is one of only a few remaining intact examples of the work of the notable Victorian architect T.E.Collcutt, another being the tower of the Imperial Institute in South Kensington.

The Cattle Fountain was commissioned to commemorate the work of the local branch of the RSPCA.   A design was published in Building News in 1891 for a decorative fountain and drinking trough for cattle & horses that had toiled to the top of Richmond Hill. Collcutt even included a drinking trough for dogs, at ground level.

Recently we realised that the monument required major repair. The Richmond Society obtained estimates for the necessary repair work and raised funds towards the costs of repair, with work being overseen by LBRuT’s consulting architect, John Dangerfield of Donald Insall Associates.

The decorative metalwork canopy was removed to a conservation workshop so that essential repairs to the structural elements and finishes could be carried out.  The lanterns were fully restored, and rewired using eco-friendly LED lamps. In addition masonry repairs and re-pointing were carried out on site to the granite trough.

The works are jointly funded by the Richmond Society’s Landscaping Fund, London Square, LBRuT’s Civic Pride Fund and The London Community Foundation’s Richmond Civic Trust Fund.