Old Palace Lane, TW9

Place Name

The naming of this street is long and complicated, only finally settling onto its present moniker in the late 19thCentury. For many of the earliest maps, until well into the 18thCentury, this street was marked as “the road to the Crane,” (literally a crane used to lift heavy materials from the boats) which was the name of a wharf serving the palace or “the lane leading from Richmond Green to the River”. In 1772 George III agreed to repair the road and extend the footpath to the Railshead and Isleworth ferries, plus add a new towpath in compensation for closing the old Sheen Lane which crossed the Old Deer Park from the north east corner of the Green which was stopping his ambitious plans for a new Richmond Palace, the road became known as Palace Lane. Work on the new palace was slow, in part because George was paying for it out of his own funds, already depleted following the purchase of Buckingham House (today’s Buckingham Palace). When his mother died, his grand ambitions for Richmond ended and he moved into her property the White House at Kew instead. Within 70 years Old was added to the street name. But the story does not end there. In 1758 Sir Charles Asgill, Lord Mayor of London, built a new town house, designed by Sir Robert Taylor, at the river end on the site of a brewery which had been established around 1700. Inevitably this was named Asgill House. A nearby inn became known as the Asgill Arms and in turn, at least from 1838, the lane itself was called Asgill Lane or Asgill Road. From 1810 more homes were built on the lane, on the north side came Bath buildings, 10 cottages which also came to be called Asgill Cottages. Bath Terrace followed in 1838 and Cedar Gardens or Cedar Terrace came in 1898. On the south side the Theatre Royal was built from 1765 and lasted until 1883 and Asgill Lodge was there from around 1756. Richmond Council finally put an end to the name changes in 1898 settling on Old Palace Lane.


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