Ham, London

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Template:Other places Template:Infobox UK place Ham is a suburban<ref name="GLA 2002">Template:Cite book</ref> district in south-west London which has meadows adjoining the River Thames where it also has the Thames Path National Trail. It is mostly in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and also includes some of the northern part of Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames: it falls chiefly within the ward Ham, Petersham and Richmond Riverside. It has modest convenience shops and amenities, including a petrol station and several pubs, however its commerce is subsidiary to the nearby regional level economic centre of Kingston upon Thames.


Ham is centred Template:Convert south-west of the centre of London. Together with Petersham, Ham lies east of the bend in the river almost surrounding it on three sides, Template:Convert south of Richmond and Template:Convert north of Kingston upon Thames. Its elevation mostly ranges between 6m and 12m OD but reaches 20m in the foothill side-streets leading to Richmond Park. It has the Thames Path National Trail and is connected to Teddington by a large Lock Footbridge at Teddington Lock and, during the summer months Hammerton's Ferry, a pedestrian ferry, links to Marble Hill House, Twickenham.

Apart from semi-rural Petersham, Richmond Park and the town of Kingston, the neighbouring land is on the opposite side of the river: Teddington and Twickenham (including Strawberry Hill).<ref name=os>Grid square map Ordnance survey website</ref>

Ham is bounded on the west, along the bank of the River Thames, by ancient communal river meads forming a Local Nature Reserve called Ham Lands. Part of this former grazing meadow land was used for gravel extraction. The last remnant of these gravel pits now forms an artificial lake, connected to the river by a lock. In this area is Thames Young Mariners Template:Convert site operated as a water activity centre by Surrey County Council.<ref name="TYM">Template:Cite web</ref> The area along the riverside is preserved as a public amenity and nature reserve.

Mostly on low-lying river terrace, Ham today is bounded to the east by Richmond Park where the land rises at the escarpment of Richmond and Kingston hills. Small streams draining this higher ground, flow into a stream that flows south-north along the foot of the hill, known as the Latchmere stream to the south and Sudbrook to the north. Now subterranean for most of its course, it emerges in Ham Common, near Ham Gate and flows briefly through Richmond Park and exits into Sudbrook Park Golf Course, returning underground before discharging into the Thames at Petersham.<ref name="TLS">Template:Cite book</ref>


Ham lies within the London Basin and its London clay bedrock. The low-lying floodplain areas to the west comprise fluvial gravels, sands and clay. To the east, now within Richmond Park, a more erosion-resistant fluvio-glacial deposit of gravels laid down in the interglacial period between 240,000 and 400,000 years ago forms the escarpment ridge that runs north-south between Richmond and Kingston hills.Template:Sfn


Its name derives from the Old English word Hamme meaning place in the bend in the river.

File:Tollemache Almshouses.JPG
Tollemache Almshouses, Ham Street, erected in memory of Algernon Gray Tollemache in 1892 by his wife

Ham does not appear in Domesday Book of 1086, the nearest entries being Petersham to the north and Coombe to the southeast, all within the hundred of the town of Kingston to the south.

Historically, Ham covered a larger area. The boundaries shown in the tithe map of 1843 are believed to have changed little, if at all, for centuries. The southern boundary between Ham and Kingston spanned the width of the hundred, from near present day Canbury Gardens on the Thames, about Template:Convert eastwards crossing Richmond Park to Beverley Brook. The northern boundary returned through Richmond Park from Beverley Brook, south of White Lodge through the northern Pen Pond, across Sudbrook Park westwards towards Ham Street then veering north back to the Thames.Template:Sfn

The earliest known written record of Ham as a separate village dates from the 12th century when Hamma was included in the royal demesne as a member of Kingston, contributing 43s. 4d. in 1168 towards the marriage of Matilda, the eldest daughter of Henry II.<ref name="Malden">Template:Cite web</ref>

Between the Royal Courts at Richmond and Hampton Court, Ham's predominantly agricultural area developed from the beginning of the 17th century, with the construction of Ham House in 1610, the best preserved survivor of the period. The related history of the Earls of Dysart dominated the development of Ham and Petersham for the following four centuries.

When the park was enclosed by Charles I in 1637, Ham parish lost the use of most of the affected land, over Template:Convert stretching towards Robin Hood Gate and Kingston Hill, almost half of which was common land. In return for this, a deed was struck which has effectively protected most of the remaining common land, Ham Common, to the present day. The enclosed land, whilst lost to agriculture, remained within Ham's administrative boundaries.

The whole area was referred to as Ham cum Hatch, or Ham with Hatch, until late Victorian times.Template:Sfn The enclosure of Richmond Park disrupted the former common land link between the settlements near the present Upper Ham Road and an ancient small settlement near the park's Robin Hood Gate and A3, London road. Local historian, Evelyn Pritchard, assumed that the Robin Hood lands settlement was the location of Hatch, but more detailed examination of Petersham, Ham and Canbury manorial land records by John Cloake provides evidence that Hatch was a hamlet centred around the north east area of Ham Common, whilst Ham itself lay to the west and northwest of the present common on the Ham Street approach to the Thames.<ref name="Cloake">Template:Cite journal</ref>

Between 1838 and 1848, Ham Common was the site of a utopian spiritual community and free school called Alcott House (or the "Ham Common Concordium"), founded by educational reformer and "sacred socialist" James Pierrepont Greaves and his followers.


Since 1965 Ham has been mostly in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. The rest is in London Borough of Kingston upon Thames. The boundaries between these two boroughs have changed slightly since they were first established.

As the hundredal and manorial systems declined, from 1786 Ham was administered by a local vestry, but which, as Ham lacked a church of its own until 1832, (and a true vestry until enlarged in 1890), met in the New Inn.Template:Sfn

The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 established a Board of Guardians, comprising 21 elected guardians for Kingston and its surrounding parishes. Ham always had one or two representatives, but sent very few of its poor to the workhouse., mainly assisting them locally in almshouses.Template:Sfn Ham Common Local Government District was formed under the Local Government Act 1858 and was governed by a local board of 8 members. However, the vestry system continued in practice until the formation of a Local Government Board in 1871.Template:Sfn The Local Government Act 1894 reconstituted the area as Ham Urban District, with an elected urban district council of 10 members replacing the local board. The urban district consisted of the civil parish of Ham with Hatch, renamed as "Ham" in 1897.

The urban district was abolished in 1933, when a county review order included its area in an enlarged Municipal Borough of Richmond. The main impact on Ham was that the northern area was linked with Petersham to create a Sudbrook ward, whilst the boundary with Kingston was moved further north to more or less its present limit with Ham 'losing' the factories and surrounding land and housing. This substantial boundary change makes meaningful demographic analysis very difficult. The ward itself is now Ham, Petersham and Richmond Riverside. This contains the largest proportion of Richmond Park of all six main wards which adjoin it.Template:Sfn



Ham was an agricultural community for centuries, with meadow and pasture land mostly along the river and common grazing. The tithe map of 1842 showed a total area of Template:Convert but, when adjusted for the land of Richmond Park, Template:Convert was arable, Template:Convert meadow or pasture, Template:Convert was common land and only Template:Convert woodland. Crops were mainly wheat, barley and oats with some flax, potatoes, turnips and mangel wurzels. Livestock included cows, sheep, pigs, goats, ducks and chickens as well as horses and donkeys - many of which grazed the common land.Template:Sfn Ham comprised three farms at the time, all on land owned by the Earl of Dysart. Unusually, these remained very little enclosed and the open field system survived in use until the late 19th-century.Template:Sfn Improvement in transport and the growth of London led to a shift from general mixed agriculture to market gardening by the early 20th-century.Template:Sfn Ultimately the same growth fuelled demand for land for housing and, coupled with the greater profitability of gravel extraction on land that could not be used for housing, agriculture in Ham ceased by the mid 1950s.Template:Sfn


In 1904 William Tollemache, 9th Earl of Dysart leased part of the farmland to the Ham River Grit Company Ltd to extract sand and ballast. A dock was constructed in 1913 and a lock in 1921, parts of which remain as the Thames Young Mariners water activity centre. A narrow gauge railway linked the site to the main road. During the second world war the flooded pits were reputed to have been used to store sections of the Mulberry harbour. After the war, most of the pits were filled with bomb-damage rubble from London. The pits operated until 1952, after which some of the land was used for subsequent housing development. Local resistance to further development led to the area being designated Metropolitan Open Land preserving Ham Riverside Lands as a nature reserve. It has notably unusual vegetation due to the underlying alkaline rubble instead of the more acidic fluvial deposits.Template:Sfn


Towards the end of World War I, Lord Dysart sold some land south of Ham Common to the Ministry of Munitions for the construction of an aircraft factory on land adjoining what was then still called the Upper Ham Road. National Aircraft Factory No.2 was built in 26 weeks during the winter of 1917. The factory was leased to the Sopwith Aviation Company, based a mile to the south in Canbury Park Road, Kingston, and the company were able to greatly increase production of Snipe, Dolphin and Salamander fighter planes as a result. At the end of the war, demand ceased. Sopwith tried to buy the factory outright but the government refused. Sopwith Aviation went into voluntary liquidation and reformed in 1920 as H. G. Hawker Engineering at their original Kingston base.<ref name="Aviation">Template:Cite web</ref>

The remaining Ham Factory lease was sold to Leyland Motors and they initially used it to recondition ex-War Department lorries for civil use. Later it was used to produce, under licence, the Trojan Utility Car between 1922 and 1928. During the 1930s the Leyland factory produced Leyland Cub trucks. World War II shifted production to military vehicles, fire engines, other equipment and munitions. After the war the site produced the chassis for Leyland's trolleybus.<ref name="Comet20031205">Template:Cite news</ref>

In 1948 the site was sold back to Hawker Aircraft Ltd and it became the main base for Kingston's aviation industry. The Hawker Hunter was produced there in large numbers, driven by cold war demand. The profits allowed the site to be redeveloped as Hawker's UK headquarters and the factory gained an imposing frontage by 1958 in a building that closely linked design and production.<ref name="Aviation"/> The Ham factory played an integral part in the development of the Hawker Kestrel and Hawker Harrier planes. Following the nationalisation of the aircraft industry in 1977 British Aerospace continued to build Harriers and missile kits at the site. Following privatisation in 1985 the sites closure was announced in 1991, demolished in 1993 and replaced by further housing development.<ref name="Comet20031205"/>

Paint and varnish

In 1929 the site on the opposite side of the road to the Leyland factory was developed for the Cellon Doping Company, originally producing Cellon aircraft dope, a synthetic varnish used to waterproof aircraft fabric. The company became part of Pinchin Johnson and was acquired by Courtaulds in 1960 continuing under the International Paint group banner from 1968. The factory closed in the 1980sTemplate:When and the site redeveloped as a small industrial estate.


Apart from one Plant nursery, local community, retail and small scale offices, Ham today is predominately a commuter residential area dependent on employment outside the immediate area.


File:Ham Pond.jpg
Ham Pond, Ham Common

The main feature in Ham is Ham Common which has a cricket pitch, a pond and a woodland.

A straight tree-lined path leads from Ham Common to Ham House, the most significant house in Ham.

Several notable period houses in Ham cluster around the Common including the Cassel Hospital and Ormeley Lodge, which is currently owned by Lady Annabel Goldsmith. Victorian buildings include Latchmere House.

Just to the north of Ham Parade is Parkleys. Started in 1954, Parkleys was the first large scale residential development by the pioneering SPAN Developments Ltd. of Eric Lyons and Geoffrey Townsend.

There are four churches in Ham; Ham Christian Centre, St Andrew's Church, St Thomas Aquinas Church and St Richard's Church.


Ham is served by three bus routes: the 65, 371 and K5. All link the town with Kingston upon Thames, and the first two serve Richmond as well.


Ham and Petersham Cricket Club was established in 1815 and cricket is still played throughout the summer on Ham Common.

Ham Polo Club is at the end of a driveway off the Petersham Road. Though the club has been in existence since 1926 it was in 1954 that the old orchard of Ham House was converted into a polo ground for the club.

Ham and Petersham Lawn Tennis Club have courts on the south avenue to Ham House in conjunction with Grey Court School.

The former meadow land along the Thames near to Ham House became the location of a King George's Field in the 1930s. Covering Template:Convert, it provides cricket, football and tennis. Several sports clubs and activities are based on and near to it.

Ham and Petersham Rifle and Pistol Club, dating from 1907 or perhaps earlier, are near to Ham House, with both indoor and outdoor ranges and cater for archery, pistol and rifle shooting.

Kew and Ham Sports Association provide football and baseball facilities on the playing fields between Ham House and Thames Young Mariners.

Thames Young Mariners provide sailing, canoeing, open-water swimming and other sport and outdoor activity facilities.<ref name="TYM"/>

Demography and housing

2011 Census homes
Ward Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes/houseboats Shared between households<ref name=ons/>
(ward) 461 688 1,368 1,918 0 15
2011 Census households
Ward Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares<ref name=ons/>
(ward) 10,317 4,174 31 29 926

See also

  • Ham Island
  • Ham class minesweeper
  • List of schools in Richmond upon Thames


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External links

Template:Commons category

Template:LB Richmond upon Thames