Heron Square, TW9

Place Name

Recalls the original name Herring Court which was first mentioned in 1716, not long after the site had first been developed by speculators. John Saunders bought the site in 1683 not long after acquiring a house via marriage a house on the top of Ferry Hill. John Cloake in Richmond Past writes: “He then bought up a lot of adjoining property, and started to redevelop the site with three large houses facing the river, with access from a new court, and five smaller houses facing Hill Street. He died in 1694 before the project was completed, but is widow promptly remarried and raised a mortgage from her new husband to pay for completion of the work.” In the 1850s a merchant called Joseph Harvey probably not overly fond of the connection to kippers changed the name of his property from Herring House to Heron House. So as to underline the point he installed two stone herons. In due course, the house along with its neighbours were converted into an hotel, The Palm Court – although the road remained Heron Court. When the Palm Court closed in the mid-1970s the area became rundown and the owners the Goodhew family, who ran the Castle Hotel, negotiated with Richmond Council to redevelop the site jointly. The work was taken over by Haslemere Ltd on the designs of architect Quinlan Terry. With the lack of imagination – or perhaps ego – that developers can have, they proposed that the new development be called Town Square, suggesting this would be the main focus of Richmond. But councillors rejected the idea preferring to retain its historic origins. It was built between 1986 and 1988, and was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in October that year.


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