14 July 2020

Sandy Lane Playground

I have wanted to post a picture of Sandy Lane Playground for some time (years!) but taking pictures with children in is got a great idea and so I had to wait until the covid-19 partial-lockdown to find it both empty and in daylight.

In the distance, houses in Meadlands Drive look curiously over the empty park.

12 July 2020

Grey windows in Dysart Avenue

There is a lot of work going on at this house in Dysart Avenue and so far it looks promising with some lovely grey windows at the front of the house.

11 July 2020

All Sold or For Sale?

The strange and worrying story of the Royal Oak / Ham Institute continues with boards proclaiming that it is both All Sold and For Sale.

I would like it to become a pub again one day, however I suspect that is unlikely despite the good work that the Ham Institute did on the interior. 

9 July 2020

Paving Ham Street

First a moan about the technology; I have been using Blogger for this blog for many years, well before Google bought it, and in that time there have been a few updates with little change, until now. The option to edit the raw html has either gone or been well hidden so I do not have as much control of the formatting as I would like. I just hope that it still works well enough and that, for example, the text remains below the picture and not along side it.

Ham Street should be familiar to every reader of this blog as it runs through the heart of Ham and defines much of its character. Recently it has had a minor face-lift with the replacement of the paving in the area around the general stores. As with the other side of the road, the new paving looks nice but there is just not enough of it as the pavements should be wider.

7 July 2020

Then and now: Ashburnham Road shops

This is another photo taken by Kenneth Kirchen in 1967. Obviously this is the parade of shops in the south-west corner of Ashburnham Road. I do not know if it has a name but it should to avoid confusion with the parade at the north-east end of the road.

It is not possible to recreate the original photograph today as Albany Court is in the way, filling the field of grass above, so I have tried to take one from a similar angle at least.

The parade has not changed much in general appearance though all of the shops are different and the trees have grown to hide some of them.

5 July 2020

Changing windows

This is yet another view of the fairly major project underway at the end of Thamesgate Close. This time it is of the side of the house, which directly overlooks Ham Lands, and I have chosen ot because of the changes to the windows.

The slightly yellower bricks around the four windows (and the lack of glass) show that they are all new and, almost obscured by the tree, you can also see that a previous window has been removed.

4 July 2020


I have tagged this as Ashburnham Road as this is where these flats, Meadowview, are located but if you want to see these balconies you have to go around the back to Riverside Drive or Rushmead.

The lower of the two balconies is crying out for attention and deserves it. I also like the one above which is why I have included it, rather than cropping the picture. Both balconies show what can be done in a small space and they both reward a good look as you pass.

2 July 2020

Wild flowers on Ham Village Green

I keep coming back to the wild flower gardens on Ham Village Green because I like them so much, and it is easy to see why. This is the patch of flowers on east side looking towards Ham Street.

There is another patch of wild flowers in the middle of the Green next to the recently added curved bench.

30 June 2020

Jubilee Tea Party

There was a Diamond Jubilee Tea Party on Ham Common on 2 June 2012 and there is a plaque there to commemorate it. The plaque is set down in the grass and can be hard to find; the young tree at the top of the picture is a clue.

28 June 2020

Sprucing up in Arlington Road

Last time I posted a picture of this very distinctive house in Arlington Road was just over a year ago (how did that happen?!) when I commented that it was looking tired. It would seem that the owners also thought that and now they are doing something about it.

I will try not to leave it another year before going back to see the finished results.

27 June 2020

Guard rabbit

The choice of a rabbit to guard the front of the house is unusual and entirely justified by its cuteness.

25 June 2020

That's better!

I thought that the two ends of the long straight path on Ham Gate Avenue had been repaired with ugly tarmac, and said so here, but I am very happy to be proved wrong. Some weeks after the original work looked to be completed the men have come back and put a neat surface over the tarmac and this matches the rest of the path.

23 June 2020

Entrance to Orford Place

This is another one of my opportunistic pictures taken through gates that are normally closed. This is a new gate and behind it lies a new path to the front door of the old part of the house.

21 June 2020

New paving stones in Ham Street

I am confused as to why this car was able to be parked within the barriers but that is not the story here, the new paving stones are. Ham Street is a busy thoroughfare, not least because of Grey Court School, so it is right that the pavement is in a good condition and it is nice that it looks good too. 

However, as councils everywhere are busy making more space for pedestrians and cyclists in response to the new travel patters arising from the covid-19 outbreak I would have liked them to have used this opportunity to make the pavement wider.

20 June 2020

Flowers on Ham Village Green

One of the nice things about Ham Village Green is that its unusual shape and mixed planting produce some very different views from vantage points not that far apart. This view is from within the trees in the top-most corner (Woodville Road) and is looking almost due south toward the shops on Ham Street.

18 June 2020

Modest yarn bomb

As yarn bombs go this example in Craig Road is rather modest and also rather lovely. I love yarn bombs for their colour, simplicity and cheeriness and even a little one like this brings me joy as I walk past.

17 June 2020

SD10 VLN on the pavement

I was a bit annoyed to see this car parked up on the pavement as I walked down to the river one evening and was even more annoyed to find it still there the next morning.

16 June 2020

Neat house hiding in Ham Street

This neat house is unluckily situated next to Newman House so could be easily overlooked and perhaps it is shyness that has kept it hidden from me for many years behind solid gates. It has obviously had a lot of work done to it and the side facing the garden looks entirely new but also entirely in keeping with the rest of the house.

14 June 2020

Something ugly in Lock Road

I have posted a few worrying pictures of this extension in Lock Road before and now, thanks to the absence of parked cars I can show the full-frontal view. It is not pretty. Obviously it is still a work in progress and I can only hope that the final result will be better, but the signs are good as, for example, I suspect that the front wall is just going to be painted making the block construction obvious.

13 June 2020

More managed mowing

There is a lot of grass along Dukes Avenue and even more where it joins Broughton Avenue. Previously this had been mown frequently like most garden lawns until this sign announced the introduction of a "natural approach". Good news indeed.

I can even forgiven them for the "Crane Park" reference.

A close up of the tree in the north-west corner shows how proud and tall the grass has been allowed to grow. The lone poppy adds the final touch.

I have been calling for less mowing for more years than I care to remember and now that it is here the results are even better than I expected.

11 June 2020

Parking problems in Ham Gate Avenue

I was walking along Ham Gate Avenue on Friday 5 June just as Richmond Council were deploying no waiting signs along both sides of the road together with notices that no waiting would be allowed from the next day, Saturday 6 June.

I was delighted to see this and told the Highways officer that. We chatted a bit about the need to restrict parking and whether it should be permanent (of course it should).

I went there again the next day to see how well the new restrictions were being observed and the answer was not very well. The queue along Ham Gate Avenue was much as long as usual, and it was not that nice a day, and many cars were parked next to bollards.

I have sent these and several other photographs to Richmond Highways as requested.

9 June 2020

Unexpected meadow in Ham Close

There is a lot less mowing going on around Ham this year and I am very glad to see that. It may be because covid-19 is stopping people from working or it may be a deliberate attempt to produce healthier habitats but whatever the reason the results are impressive.

Here the barren grasslands in Ham Close have been allowed to grow and to burst into beautiful colour.

7 June 2020

Different chimneys

One of the rules of exploring a neighbourhood is to look up and despite doing that assiduously for years I still miss things. I looked up at these semis in Lock Road this time because of the scaffolding, which always attracts me, and I liked the arch in the chimney. The scaffolding was nice but the arch was nicer so I went to take a picture of the chimney on an adjacent pair of houses.

To my surprise it was different, it still had a recess but no arch. I then looked at other chimneys in that short run of houses and there were other differences such as no recess.

6 June 2020

The start of something in Lauderdale Drive

I do not go down Lauderdale Road very often as all it does is take you from Sandy Lane to Sandy Lane but I do like to keep an eye on it, as I do with all roads and paths locally, and on this exploration I discovered what looks like the start of a reasonably large job. Now I will have to go back there again to see what happens.

4 June 2020

A practicable garden

It is not unusual to see plants growing in the front wall of a garden and this house takes that idea a stage further by having a wide bed so that they can grow more than just a few small flowers.

2 June 2020

Taking the long view

It seems like a long time ago now (it was 2009) that Friends of Ham Lands was first formed in response to the whole-scale clearance of part of Ham Lands sitting within the Thames Young Mariners site. Since then the land has been left to do its own thing and the area has been quietly reclaimed by shrubs and trees.

31 May 2020

54 Sandy Lane rises tall

54 Sandy Lane has been one of the more secretive projects locally but now it has risen well above the hoardings and cannot hide all of its secrets any longer.

The most obvious feature is its sheer bulk. Its height is taken from a chimney nearby, as is its position towards the front of the plot, and that allows the new house to dominate its smaller neighbour to the left.

30 May 2020

Loft conversion in Buckingham Road

The LOFTY sign tells us what is happening here in Buckingham Road and that explains why the roof has gone.

As is often the case, it is the work in progress view that I like with the scaffolding and sheeting turning the house, temporarily, into something industrial.

28 May 2020

Glorious garden in Tideway Close

While we are suffering from the impacts of covid-19 it is good to be able to go outside and enjoy some of the great gardens in the area and this one at the end of Tideway Close is one of the very best. I liked it way back in 2008 and it is even better now.

This angle does it more justice too as it shows how the garden bleeds nicely into Ham Lands.

26 May 2020

More resurfacing and a health risk

Having made a mess of the path at one end of Ham Gate Avenue it looks as though the process is being repeated at the other end, next to Ham Gate, again for reasons that are not at all obvious.

To make matters worse they have created a segregated path in the road which makes maintaining a social distance difficult in this busy area - too many people lack the common sense to check which way other people are walking in that area before choosing whether to use it or the road. Without the second set of barriers pedestrians would have more space in which to avoid each other.

24 May 2020

Churchods has "moved"

The sign on the door says that Churchds has "moved to bustling Kingston" but whether it is a move or a closure the fact remains that this is another large empty shop on Ham Parade. This is next door but one to William Hill which also closed recently.

23 May 2020

Ham Lands North

The character of Ham Lands North is different to Ham Lands South with a lot more woods and a few fields, notably next to Ham Street. This field is in the heart of the area and has a certain reputation and it took me a while to find a view I could capture that did not have men in it.

I got there from Ham Street via this path which has some history. It was brutally cut out of Ham Lands North to create the aspirational Great River Avenue and I moaned about that at the time. Luckily time and nature have done some much needed repairs and while there is still a break in the woods it's a lot smaller now.

21 May 2020


Bunting, posters and flags have been on display both to show support for the NHS and also to remember VE Day which had its 75th anniversary on 8th May. Residents along Petersham Road made a particular effort in this regard and Newark Lodge was the most prominent.

19 May 2020

Dark grey window frames

Almost as soon as I commented that work on these two new houses had been paused they started work there again and have put the window frames in. They are a contemporary dark grey, which is fine as there are no immediate properties to set another standard.

Two things I am looking out for are the finish that will be applied to the gap between the windows on the ground and first floors and also the finish to the part of the first floors that are not brick. 

17 May 2020

New 20 MPH speed limit in force

This modest sign on Dukes Avenue is to warn motorists that a 20 mph speed limit has been introduced. In my experience it has made no difference to the way that people drive but it is a good idea and I hope that, with some effort to enforce the new rule, motorists can be persuaded to slow down across Ham.

16 May 2020

What we need you to do

Social Distancing is difficult along the towpath because it is so busy and a significant minority ignore the 2m guidelines making no effort to maintain a safe distance as they go past. Therefore it is good to see that Richmond Council are making some effort to address this with a bright yellow banner at Teddington Lock.

Unfortunately it is situated away from the busiest section and is parallel to the path at a place where there are several other signs so it is easy to walk past and not notice it.

14 May 2020

Walking in the Woods

I have been walking through Ham Common Woods more than usual later as it is the ideal place for some moderate exercise during the covid-19 lockdown. Places like the towpath are too busy and the continuous effort to avoid people there makes the walk unpleasant. There are other people in the Woods but not that many and there is always space at the side of the path to get out of their way.

One of the joys of the Woods is the maze of paths which provide many routes through it. The paths twist, meet and divide making it difficult to maintain a direct route, but who would want to?

12 May 2020

Secured by VPS

The Fox and Duck in Petersham is also facing an uncertain future and is boarded up while its fate is decided.

I hope that it survives as a some sort of pub as there are now none others nearby and I liked to drop in there while walking through Petersham. I also liked to be there for the live music on Saturday night and I would love to see that some back too.

10 May 2020

Guardians Living On-site

Another Ham pub has fallen on uncertain times. The last landlord of The Ham Brewery Tap was due to leave in April and the future of the pub was uncertain then and now the situation has been further complicated by the covid-19 shutdown.

With Hand and Flower and Royal Oak/Ham Institute also closed I really need The Tap to come back.

9 May 2020

LA19 GXK on the pavement

With everyone trying to keep a safe distance away from everyone else it is more important than ever that pavements be kept clear so it is even more annoying than usual that LA19 GXK has chosen to park on the pavement.

This photograph is courtesy of walking class hero.

Things in the clearing

Ham Common Woods, like Gaul, is divided into three parts, the divisions being created by Church Road and Ham Gate Avenue. This clearing is in the southern section between Parkleys and Church Road was created in recent times as part of a substantial management scheme that thinned out large parts of the Woods.

Things are appearing in the clearing including a teepee style construction and a decorated log.

The decorated log is definitely worth a close look.

7 May 2020

Newman House

Newman House is in the north-west corner of Ham Close, adjoining Woodville Road, and is one of several such blocks in the development.

Ham Close is a notable part of Ham, not least because the main shops are nearby and the 371 passes it, and so it is only right that it should be recorded here.