Sydney Road, TW9

Place Name

The Sydney family was closely entwined with the Selwyn family who owned a great deal of land around Richmond. The connection began in 1730 when Thomas Townshend (June 2, 1701 – May 21, 1780) married Albinia Selwyn, daughter of John Selwyn. The couple lived at Frognal House near Sidcup, in Kent. Albinia died in 1739 leaving her husband to bring up their five children. Their eldest son also called Thomas Townshend (February 24, 1733 – June 30, 1800) who later became the 1st Baron Sydney followed his father into politics as a Whig MP for Whitchurch in Hampshire. He held numerous high-ranking positions, until in 1782, he was promoted to Home Secretary. The following year he was raised to the peerage, and chose Sydney combining a pride in being an ancestor of Robert Sidney, who had been an eminent opponent of Stuart absolutism and the name of a village of Sydenham near his home in Kent. Shortly afterwards, across the world,  Joseph Frederick Wallet DesBarres named an area on Nova Scotia, Sydney, in his honour. But there was to be more, following the loss of the Thirteen Colonies in the United States, Sydney, as Home Secretary in the Pitt Government, was given responsibility for devising a plan to settle convicts at Botany Bay in Australia. Among his appointments was Arthur Phillip as governor, it was under his leadership the penal colony survived the early years of struggle and famine. On January 26, 1788, Phillip named Sydney Cove in honour of Sydney and the settlement became known as Sydney Town. More honours were bestowed on Townshend when in 1789 he was created Viscount Sydney. As time passed, Jasper Selwyn inherited the Selwyns’ Richmond properties, he was a cousin of the 3rd Viscount Sydney, who was himself created Earl Sydney of Scadbury, Kent, in 1874, and as the grandson of the 1st Lord Sydney had inherited the family’s estates in Matson, Gloucestershire and Chislehurst, Kent. The Selwyns named many roads after family connections and by 1865 this one was named as Sydney Villas but in a meeting on February 19, 1884, the Vestry, a prototype parish council, decided it should be renamed Sydney Road.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *