Duke Street, TW9

Place Name

There have over the course of the centuries been so many dukes living in Richmond and Kew on account of the royal palaces that it would be hard to ascertain which particular one this street was referring to. Here, James Green, Judith Filson, and Margaret Watson in The Streets of Richmond and Kew provide the answer… it is none of them. Originally referred to in the Court Rolls of 1661 as “the common way leading to Richmond Green” the clue came in 1673 when it was named “Mr Duke’s Lane” after a William Duke (1564 – 1649), a City businessman who came from a wealthy West Country family, who owned a freehold estate fronting the Green. Soon after it became the plainer Duke’s Lane until the Trustees, who had taken over the work of the Vestry, a prototype parish council, ordered that from May 13, 1769 it should be renamed Duke Street. William’s step-son John Michel, who inherited the Richmond estate, was the the founder of the Almshouses in the Vineyard. Old habits died hard however, and the street was still being called Duke’s Lane – even by the Vestry itself. So in 1851 the Vestry confirmed the Trustee’s order.


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