We started the Heritage Walks with eight walks on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings in July, August, September and October, 1980; very much on a trial basis – partly in order to fill the anomalous gap in the Society’s programme of events that then extended between the end of April and the beginning of September, and partly to build on the success of the two guided walks around Richmond which we had contributed to the programme of the May Fair held earlier that summer.
The Heritage Walks were devised with a three-fold purpose. Firstly, to foster and develop an appreciation and understanding of Richmond’s unique character; secondly, to create an awareness and recognition of the various pressures for irreversible and adverse change in both the fabric and function of the town; and thirdly, to stimulate and encourage an interest in and concern for the effective preservation and enhancement of Richmond’s surviving features and qualities. Thankfully, whilst the threats of major losses and adverse change in the Town’s character are very much less today than in 1980, the Heritage Walks continue to provide an opportunity to focus attention and promote discussion about some of those less known, but nonetheless valuable features and characteristics of the Town that may be at risk of disappearing or adverse change in coming years.
Over the years, we have drawn upon a vast number of local people to lead the walks who have generously shared their particular local knowledge with members and others attending with enthusiasm. Each season we have offered seven walks on alternate Wednesday evenings between early May and late July following a variety of themes and topics relating to Richmond. However, from time to time we have also included walks in our programmes embracing Brentford, East Sheen, Ham, Isleworth, Kew, Mortlake, Petersham, St Margarets, and Twickenham. From the first season onwards, the walks have been co-ordinated by local architect and former Chairman, Paul Velluet, assisted for many years by the late Charles Keggen and in recent years by Adam Harrison. Funds raised through charges for the walks have been directed towards the Society’s programme of street tree-planting and landscape enhancement.
As always, the walks end with an adjournment to a local pub, offering scope for lively conversation until the late evening about the places visited and current local conservation and development issues. Fortunately, Richmond and adjacent areas have never been short of attractive pubs providing suitable venues for such adjournments. Ideas for future walks and offers to lead walks are keenly welcomed.
For the latest details of this year’s Walks, please visit our Events page.