The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 52 Hampton Court

Hampton Court by Tram

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II. BY TRAMWAY. A. From Hammersmith Broadway by tramway No. 69T (11 miles in 1 hour; fare 10d.). Beyond (1 mile) Chiswick we follow Chiswick High Road, passing Turnham Green (the scene in 1642 of a cavalry skirmish between Prince Rupert and the Earl of Essex) and Gunnersbury Station, to (3 miles) Kew Bridge, where we may alight for Kew Gardens, on the opposite bank of the Thames. The new Great West Road, diverging on the right circa + mile short of Kew Bridge, avoids the narrow streets of Brentford and joins the old (Bath) road before reaching Staines. It passes just south of Gunnersbury Park, once celebrated for the entertainments given by Princess Amelia, daughter of George II., and later the residence of Mr. Leopold de Rothschild (died 1917). The grounds are now a public park. The tramway threads the narrow and dirty main street of (4 miles) Brentford, now the county-town of Middlesex and an important industrial place, and in the 16th and 17th century a favourite resort of London citizens. Its noted old inn, the 'Three Pigeons,' the traditional scene of the merrymaking of Shakespeare and some of his contemporaries and 'The Three Magpies' of 'Our Mutual Friend,' has been closed. The mythical 'two kings of Brentford' owe most of their celebrity to Buckingham's 'Rehearsal' and Cowper's 'Task.' Beyond Brentford we skirt Syon Park on our left, then diverge to the south-west from the main road via Twickenham Road, and traverse a flat district devoted to nurseries, orchards, and market-gardens. The main road goes on to Hounslow, where it forks, the left branch leading to (6+ miles) | Staines, the right branch (Bath Road) leading to (11 miles) Slough. Hounslow Heath notorious for its highwaymen in the 17th and 18th century, extended for 5 miles to the west of the town, but has practically all been enclosed. Large barracks have been erected here since 1793. About 1+ miles north-west of Hounslow station (omnibus 2d.) is Heston, with probably the oldest (15th century) of the very few original lych-gates remaining in England. A mile east of Heston is Osterley Park, built in 1577 by Sir Thomas Gresham, and later occupied by Chief Justice Coke and Sir William Waller, the Parliamentary General, but rebuilt in 1770 by Robert Adam for the rich banker Robert Child, and furnished and decorated with such opulent magnificence that Horace Walpole described it as 'a palace of palaces.' It passed by marriage to the Earl of Jersey. 5+ miles Isleworth has many fine old mansions and a church by the riverside containing some old monuments and brasses. Kneller Road diverges on the right for Kneller Hall, now the Royal School of Music for military bandsmen (concerts on Wednesday in summer). The house was built in 1709 by Sir Godfrey Kneller who died and was buried here in 1723. 7 miles Twickenham is also on the tramway from Richmond Bridge to Teddington and Kingston. Cars are changed here for the Hampton Court route, which runs through the uninteresting modern part of the town. At Stanley Road, farther on, the cars for Kingston diverge on the left. Passing (8+ miles) Fulwell Station, we leave Fulwell Park, the residence of the ex-King Manoel of Portugal, on our right. On the left is Bushy Park. 10 miles Hampton (Bell; Red Lion), prettily situated on the river, with Garrick's summer villa (altered) and a church containing some old monuments, including that of Mrs. Penn, Edward VI.'s nurse. On the opposite bank is Hurst Park racecourse. We now skirt the river, passing Tagg's Island, a favourite resort of boating-parties (Palm Beach, with restaurant, cafe-concerts, etc.), and reach (11 miles) Hampton Court. The cars stop outside the palace gates. B. From Wimbledon (Southern Railway station; London County Council tramway terminus) by tramway No. 71T. The first part of this route is devoid of interest. This route runs via Merton, Wimbledon, and Kingston. We cross the bridge to Hampton Wick; and thence, with Bushy Park on our right and the Home Park on our left, proceed past the Lion Gates to the main palace gates of (9 miles) Hampton Court. The tramway goes on as above via Hampton to Twickenham.