Rosedale Road, TW9

Place Name

Named after a property that once stood nearby and on whose grounds this road was laid out. James Green, Judith Filson, and Margaret Watson in The Streets of Richmond and Kew suggest that the name may have been a corruption of Rossdale after one of its former occupants George Ross – but the name Rosedale was fairly common elsewhere. H M Cundall in his 1921 history of the area Bygone Richmond writes: “Rosedale House, now the Royal Hospital, in the Kew Foot Road, was the residence of James Thomson the celebrated poet of The Seasons and Castle of Indolence. Whilst he lived there it was merely a cottage and in the garden was a summer-house in which the poet frequently wrote. He was of convivial disposition, and amongst his boon companions were James Quin, the actor, and Richard Savage, the poet. Each had killed a man in a drunken quarrel. Pope also visited Rosedale. Thomson lived here from 1736, until his death in 1748. Burns composed an ode to his memory, and Johson wrote a biography of him. The house was subsequently bought by his friend George Ross, who enlarged it. Afterwards it came into the possession of the Hon. Frances Boscawen. On her death it was purchased by the sixth Earl of Shaftesbury. The name of the premises was subsequently changed from Rosedale to Shaftesbury House. According two John Evans the rooms occupied by Thomson were preserved in their original state as late as 1824. He says ‘on entering the house we were shown two small rooms on the ground floor, connected by an archway, and thrown into a kind of hall. On the left is the room in which Thomson breathed his last, being his bedchamber; and on the right is his sitting-room, where he passed his time, with two brass hooks fixed round, also the table on which he wrote, and lastly the very fireplace before which he no doubt sat in musings deep when ‘Winter reign’d tremendous o’er the conquer’d year’.” The conversion from private house to hospital came following the marriage of the Prince of Wales in 1863. A public subscription had raised money for a celebration dinner for schoolchildren and the poor on Richmond Green. When all was over £40 remained and a committee was formed to decide what to do with this, not inconsiderable sum. They were offered Rosedale Cottage for £100 a year rent or £2,100 if bought outright. More fundraising meant that the hospital could be opened in 1868. The rest of the land was sold to developers by the Seventh Earl. The road was named in 1913.


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