Cambridge Road, TW9

Place Name

Prince George (March 26, 1819 – March 17, 1904) was Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Tipperary, and Baron Culloden. Born in Hanover, Germany, he was the grandson of George III, his father, Adolphus Frederick, was the first Duke and the King’s seventh son. He was also a cousin of Queen Victoria. He inherited his father’s title as well as his property, Cambridge Cottage on Kew Green. The 2nd Duke was an army officer by profession. At the beginning of the Crimean War, he commanded the 1st Division and by the end of it had taken part in all the major battles; his leadership, however, was not particularly distinguished. That aside, after the war he received several promotions and served as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army from 1856 to 1895. Arrogant and old-fashioned he worked with Queen Victoria to defeat or minimise almost every reform proposal of the British Army, such as setting up a general staff. Despite efforts to rein in control by making him report to the Secretary of State for War, he continued to exercise considerable independence in discipline, appointments, and promotions, in all of which he favoured social standing and seniority rather than ability. As a result the Army became a moribund and stagnant institution. Its weaknesses were dramatically revealed by the poor organisation at the start of the Second Boer War. He was reported to have said: “There is a time for everything, and the time for change is when you can no longer help it.” He was no less rigid in opposing reforms in other areas. In civilian life he did various charitable works, and raised money for among other things the London Hospital. As the president of Christ’s Hospital (a school) in the City of London he rallied against “competitive examinations” and when the governors modernised the curriculum in 1891 he complained of “that abominable scheme”. Locally, he was a benefactor of St Anne’s Church, Kew Green, where his father was buried. Until 1895 when Richmond Council separated it, this was part of Gloucester Road and part of the Gloucester House estate which was redeveloped in 1862.



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