Originally called Artichoke Alley or Artichoke Lane, after The Artichoke alehouse which stood here from the mid-18thCentury until around 1863 when the pub’s name changed to The Forester’s Arms. Over the years this back passage which ran from George Street to Red Lion Street had became increasingly rundown and unsavoury and in an early attempt at gentrification was partially renamed in 1841 following redevelopment to dissociate it from the original. James Green et al in The Streets of Richmond and Kew state that: “In 1884 the Vestry described the Alley as dilapidated; it was demolished in 1909 and the present houses, then described as ‘New Municipal Tenements’, were built.” In fact those “municipal tenements” were in fact among the earliest council homes ever built. “People’s Champion” William Thompson, a schoolmaster who was elected to the council in 1890 on its creation had led the charge to developed the first ever council housing in 1892 as part of a drive to clear slum housing in Richmond. Municipal Dreams, the excellent website that charts the history of council building writes: “And he was presumably a driving force behind another smaller municipal housing scheme off Red Lion Street in central Richmond. Artichoke Alley was cleared. In its place, completed in 1909, arose Victoria Place – an attractive red-brick and rendered tenement development, housing 100.” The name Victoria Place is a reference to Queen Victoria who came to the throne in 1837.
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