Grena Gardens, TW9

Place Name

A new road was laid out to link Grena Villas, which were built in 1898, on the corner of Grena Road with St Mary’s Grove. The villas themselves took their name from a large house built on the corner of what is today’s Sheen Road and Manor Road, called Grenna Villa in 1841 and from about 1865 Grena Lodge – it was knocked down in 1923 to make way for the Black Horse Garage. Since Hickey’s Almshouses were close by the link road was originally named Hickey’s Grove and so it was between 1901 and 1948. For some reason Richmond Council decided to name part of the road Grena Gardens from 1939 to 1949, after which point they named the whole road after it. James Green, Judith Filson, and Market Watson’s excellent guide The Street Names of Richmond and Kew, could found not reason behind the name. However Laura Wright’s study into Sunnyside, A History of British House Names offers a possible explanation. Green had long been used in Scottish place names from the Gaelic word grian meaning sunny. During the Victorian era, as the railway lines extended the possible commute for City workers, new homes were thrown up to serve the middle-classes wanting to escape the grime of town. They in turn took to naming their suburban retreats and Green, and derivations thereof, became particularly popular in the period. She writes: “Such an outcome fits well with Victorian housenamers’ sensitivities – the factory owners, the accountants, the wine and tobacco merchants, the civil servants, the shopkeepers, all the lawyers seeking respite from workaday concerns… who proclaimed with their transferred place-names, their commemorations, their nostalgia for the countryside, and their pick & mix faux traditional innovations, a permanency that has resonated for speakers across different languages and from all walks of life across time and space: this house is a home.” But this is only speculation with regards to this street name.


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