Nightingale Lane, TW10

Place Name

What came first is a matter of conjecture, the lane or Nightingale Cottage? Whichever it was, they were most likely named after the song bird which was common around Richmond. Nightingale Cottage, built in the 1770s, stood on the sire of the present Petersham Hotel.¬†Writing in 1925 H M Cundall in Bygone Richmond said: “Where the New Star and Garter Hotel in Nightingale Lane now stands, was Nightingale Cottage. It was the home for many years of the cultivated Ladies Ashburnham, and was demolished more than half a century ago.” The cottage was in fact bought by the Richmond Hill Hotel Company in 1863. James Green, Judith Filson, and Margaret Watson in The Streets of Richmond and Kew write that the road “seems to have been upgraded from a footpath or track in the 1830s. The nightingales for which Richmond Hill was once famous were commemorated in one of Wordsworth’s sonnets as well as in the name of this lane.” John Cloake in Richmond Past writes: “With the opening of Terrace Gardens, the remaining part of Hill Common (now called Terrace Field), which had been leased out as a pasture, was also opened up to the public. Nightingale Lane, which bounds it on two sides and which was constructed in 1810, reminds us that Richmond Hill was once renowned for the song of its nightingales. Wordsworth wrote a sonnet about them in 1820. But, alas, his ‘choir of Richmond Hill, chanting with indefatigable bill,’ is no more.”

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