52. HAMPTON COURT.
Hampton Court, with its Palace, a very favourite resort on Saturdays and Sundays in summer, is most quickly reached by railway from Waterloo Station. There are also tramway routes on both sides of the Thames, and on Sunday omnibuses or brakes make special journeys from Central London.
For MOTORISTS and CYCLISTS the quickest route from Central London is via the Fulham Road, Putney Bridge, Kingston Vale (which lies between Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common), and Kingston, where we join the tramway route from Wimbledon.
OMNIBUSES: to Kingston, Nos. 85, 173; to Hampton Court, 127 (daily in summer); 14, 73 (Sunday in summer).
I. BY RAILWAY.
Electric trains leave Waterloo Station (Southern Railway) 4 times hourly for Hampton Court (15 miles, in 33 minutes; 2/8, 1/7; return 4/10, 3/2); every 10 minutes for Kingston; and every + hour for Fulwell and Hampton.
The line runs high above a sea of houses, leaving Lambeth Palace and Doulton's Pottery Works on the right. 4 miles Clapham Junction is one of the largest and busiest railway junctions in the world. Farther on we pass the Royal Victoria Patriotic Asylum, on the left. Beyond (5+ miles) Earlsfield and Summerstown we cross the Wandle. On the right is one of the power-stations for the Southern Railway electric services.
7+ miles Wimbledon (Wimbledon Hill Hotel), also the terminus of a branch-line of the District Railway, is a well-to-do residential district of considerable extent.
The District Railway from Earl's Court, after crossing the river, runs via (2+ miles from Earl's Court) East Putney. 3+ miles Southfields lies circa + miles south of the mosque in Melrose Road and circa + miles north of the All England Lawn Tennis Courts in Wimbledon Park Road. 4+ miles Wimbledon Park, station for Wimbledon Park Golf Club. 5+ miles
The Putney omnibus (No. 51; every 6 minutes) skirts WIMBLEDON COMMON, a large open space of 1045 acres, including Putney Heath on the north and adjoined on the west by Richmond Park. The meetings of the National Rifle Association were held here from 1860 to 1889, when they were transferred to Bisley. John Horne Tooke (1736-1812) lied at a house at the south-east corner of the common, near the quaint Crooked Billet. Close by is King's College School, brought hither in 1897. To the south of the common, now enclosed in the new house of the Royal Wimbledon Golf Club is an ancient circular encampment, traditionally known as 'Cï¾µsar's Camp,' while a spring to the north, within a circle of pine-trees, is called 'Cï¾µsar's Well.' Pleasant walk thence to the north-west to Robin Hood Gate and Richmond Park; or south-west past 'Cï¾µsar's Camp' and Coombe House to (3 miles) Norbiton.
To the north of Wimbledon lies the pleasant residential district of Wimbledon Park. Wimbledon House, recently pulled down, was once occupied by Calonne, Louis XVI.'s minister of finance, by the last of the Condes, and by Joseph Marryat, the father of the novelist. Its park, 155 acres in area, including a lake of 23 acres, has been purchased for the public by the Corporation of Wimbledon, but is not yet wholly open to the public. St. Mary's, the parish church of Wimbledon, has a mortuary chapel with the tomb of Sir Edward Cecil, Viscount Wimbledon (died 1638), a former lord of the manor. At Holly Lodge, in Wimbledon Park Road, George Eliot lived in 1859-60 and wrote the 'Mill on the Floss.'
A little to the south-east of Wimbledon, at Merton, are the scanty remains of Merton Abbey an Augustinian priory (founded in 1115; dissolved in 1538), in which Thomas Backet and Walter de Merton, founder of Merton College, Oxford were educated. The famous Statuate of Merton ('nolumn leges Angliï¾µ mutari') were passed at a meeting of Parliament herein 1236. Merton Place (now gone) was occupied by Nelson in 1801-3. The quaint old parish church dates from circa 1120.
8+ miles Raynes Park, junction for Epsom. On a hill to the right lies Coombe House, where Lord Liverpool entertained the Tsar of Russia, the King of Prussia, and the Prince Regent in 1814. 9+ miles Malden, the original site of Merton College, Oxford (founded here in 1240). The parish church, 1+ miles to the south, dates from 1610.
The Kingston line branches off here to the right. 11+ miles Norbiton, the east suburb of Kingston, with a carriage-entrance to Richmond Park. 12+ miles Kingston (Griffin, L. 3/6, D. 7/6; Sun. L. 2/6, D. 5/6) is an ancient town on the Thames, where the Saxon kings from Edward the Elder (901) to Ethelred (978) were crowned. The traditional Coronation Stone, surrounded by a railing, is still to be seen near the market-place, in and about which a few ancient houses have been preserved. The Town Hall, built in 1840, has a gilded leaden figure of Queen Anne over the doorway. The large parish church of All Saints has a tower of 1708 and contains some interesting brasses. Kingston Bridge (1827; rebuilt in 1914) crosses the Thames to Hampton Wick. 12+ miles Hampton Wick adjoins Bushy Park and Hampton Court Park. A memorial here commemorates the cobbler Timothy Bennet, who spent his savings in vindicating the public right-of-way through Bushy Park. From (13+ miles) Teddington some of the trains return to Waterloo via Richmond and Putney (see Walk 53); others go on from Teddington via Fulwell (15 miles), Hampton (16+ miles), and Sunbury (18+ miles) to (21 miles) Shepperton.
Beyond (12 miles) Surbiton the Hampton Court trains diverge to the right from the main line. 14 miles Thames Ditton (Swan Hotel, by the river; Albany). 15 miles Hampton Court. The railway station lies in the village of Molesey, on the Surrey bank; to reach the palace we cross the bridge over the Thames and turn to the right.