28 February 2009

Cut trees

The straight line caused by the cut trees reminds me of a scratch on a car made by a yob with a coin except that here the yobs are Richmond Council and they used chainsaws.


Chimneys usually add character to roofs and this is especially true here where they have been rotated off-square to produce interesting angles. However, what is pretty is not always effective and the two dark streaks down the wall show how the chimneys have channelled the rain.

27 February 2009


The attraction of using gravel to resurface the path between River Lane and Douglas Footpath is that it is cheap, easy to lay and, in this case, is kept in place by the walls on either side, but this is more than offset by how difficult it is to wade through gravel, particularly if trying to push a buggy or ride a bike.

26 February 2009


This ambitious development on Dukes Avenue was an early casualty of the credit crunch and falling house prices and has been left like this for quite some time. With the economy as it is I suspect it will be another long time before it is completed.

Surrey County Council

Surrey County Council has long been banished from Kingston (though they forgot to take their County Hall with them when they left) and it's now a borough of London. However some signs of it's previous governance can be found among the trees and bushes between Royal Park Gate and the Thames.

25 February 2009

Garages off Beaufort Road

I like garages because they are both industrial and private at the same time, that is they are mass produced as purely industrial items but, over time, each owner personalises them in their own way to create a rich diversity.

24 February 2009

Ham Lands from the south

Following the river north from Kingston presents you with a choice when the path dives into two at Lower Ham Road. The paths remain close but separate all the way to Teddington Lock where they converge again. This is the (newer) upper path as it passes Royal Park Gate. It is here that the mixed wilderness that is Ham Lands begins to the joy of walkers and intrepid explorers of all ages.

White buildings at Ham Polo

I love the cluster of bright white buildings at Ham Polo. These include the grandstand, umpire's lofty station, clubhouse and marquee. (Apologies if polo uses other terms for any of these). The imposing Star and Garter building behind shows how close Ham Polo (once part of Ham Common) is to Richmond.

23 February 2009

Green tent

This small green tent has failed in its purpose of providing shelter by being caught out by a high tide that claimed a large section of Petersham Lodge Woods and it now sits dolefully surrounded by water.

ET was here

The markings in one of the bricks of a wall of a house on Upper Ham Road tell us something of its history but the letters and the date are more mysterious that informative.

22 February 2009

Roof walkway at Cassel Hospital

Cassel Hospital comprises an interesting collection of buildings of different ages, shapes and styles. Some of this cobbling together becomes evident when looking at the roof where steps have been constructed to connect two buildings. The raw industrial feel of the roof is enhanced here by the menacing grey sky.

21 February 2009

Bird on spire

This seagull has an excellent vantage point on the top of the spire of St Thomas Aquinas church on the corner of Ham Common. But it is not the Common that the bird is interested in, instead it is looking straight down Ham Street towards Ham House.

20 February 2009

Forbes House

Forbes House is hardly my favourite building on Ham Common because it is too fake and too brash for its surroundings but its position, size and grandeur means that it warrants a closer look. Shown here out of context it looks respectable.

And it is worth taking an even closer look at the porch to reveal the sumptuous decoration of the pillars, door and roof.

19 February 2009

Chimney pots

The collection of houses in the North West corner of Ham Common is bit of a mess of periods and styles and so while a few of the houses are worthy neighbours to the common the overall effect is somewhat disappointing. Amongst this hotch-potch of buildings are two Arts and Crafts style houses with their distinctive slanting chimneys and, on this one, some cute chimney pots.

18 February 2009

Bell tower

South Lodge on the north side of Ham Common is a fairly attractive building overall and the most attractive feature is the grand bell tower which impresses with its size, decoration and brisk white paintwork.

Weathervane on the Old Coach House

The Old Coach House to Sudbrook Lodge has a simple but rather charming weathervane which shows us that warmer air is blowing up from the South and is heading North along the Petersham Road towards Richmond.

17 February 2009

Warning sign

This sign is not very effective as a notice as it is hidden in the shadows next to the steps at the North- East end of Ham Parade and it is clearly out of date. However, it excels as a piece of street art because of its curved shape, bold red-on-white text and gently rusting edges.

St Andrew's Church

The main part of St Andrew's Church in Church Road is plain and uninteresting but the side building has some nice decorative features.

16 February 2009

A closer look at Toad of Toad Hall

I took a photograph of the wonderful weathervane in Ham Farm Road almost a year ago but a new camera means that I can now take sharp close-ups easily and so it was worth a second look.

15 February 2009

Reclaimed roof

Even corrugated iron can look warm and natural once it has been colonised by moss, as has happened on the shaded side of the roof to the outhouse at The Dysart Arms.

Cold and tired horses

There is normally only one horse in the field between Ham Polo and the river but on this day there were two. One horse seems to be sulking while the other one is thinking "what did I do wrong?".

14 February 2009

Caged tree

I wonder if the railings around this tree (on Ham Street by the junction with Riverside Drive) are there to protect the tree from local wildlife or to keep the tree out of mischief.

Beaufort arches

A little bit of history was revealed by fortuitously finding the large gates at Beaufort House and Cottage open as I walked past. The back wall, which is the boundary with a property in Wiggins Lane, shows the remains of two arches that I like to think used to lead curious children to a magical kingdom and not all of them found their way back.

13 February 2009


There are four ways of getting through Teddington Lock, in size order (and also right to left as you look downstream) these are the Barge Lock, Launch Lock, Skiff Lock and the rollers. The slipway links the two islands but is fenced off from both sides so that fun is unavailable.

12 February 2009

White pod

This looks like a typical building of the future from any 60s or 70s science fiction drama but this is not Moonbase Alpha, it's a classroom at Grey Court School.

Headway Close

Headway Close is one of the little roads that wiggles its way off of Locksmeade Road to produce a jumble of houses devoid of boring straight lines.

10 February 2009

More trees butchered

When I took a picture of the open space behind Ham House back in the Summer I commented that it was not possible to see any of the houses nearby but Richmond Council has decided that these trees need to be cut too and now the buildings in Meadlands Drive intrude into Ham Lands. Coming close after the butchery of Ham Common Woods it is clear that Richmond Council has no interest in protecting the wild areas that make Ham so attractive.

Horse's head

A close-up of Park Gate House shows some interesting detail, such as the lamps, false windows and, er, a horse's head. It is somewhat weird having a fake horse on the first floor but it's fun and if it was lower down then we would not be able to see it.

9 February 2009

London Pride

It is impossible to miss this jolly van that is often to be found parked on Dukes Avenue by Locksmeade Road. The attractiveness of the advertisement is increased by the attractiveness of the wonderful beer it advertises!

Ramps on Teddington Footbridge

There are steep steps on the island to connect the two spans of the footbridge at Teddington Lock but a few years ago a long wooden ramp was added to give easier access to buggies and bikes etc. A similar ramp gives access to the bridge on the Ham side.

8 February 2009

Colourful porch

This shaded porch roof (on one of the houses in the tangle of roads and paths off Locksmeade Road) has attracted moss and lichen that add refreshing colours to the house and contrast well with the red berries in the garden.

Wild water

The river was feeling particularly boisterous this day and cavorted playfully, forcefully and noisily over the weir.

7 February 2009


The first span of the footbridge at Teddington Lock has to be high to allow boats to access the lock. The brick support on the island has an arch in it that gives access to the southern end of the island.


Even a moderate high tide claims the section of Ham Lands between Petersham Lodge Woods and Douglas Footpath turning it into a glorious bog.

6 February 2009

Footbridge at Teddington Lock

The footbridge between Ham and Teddington has two spans and this is the smaller one from Ham to the island. It marks the way to the lock showing off its vibrant paintwork that makes it look like the mouth of a hungry boat-eating monster.

Boat house

This boat house, belonging to Petersham and Ham Sea Scouts, has no decorative pretensions but has an industrial beauty none the less.

5 February 2009


I am not sure what the cause for celebration was but the cormorants were having quite a party at Teddington Lock. I have never seen so many of them together in one place before.

Cut Throat Alley

I was looking for a photo of Cut Throat Alley recently and was astonished to find that I had not posted one so I went on a walk to take this one.

The alley separates the realms of the two great houses in Ham, Ham House (on the left) and The Manor House (on the right) and it leads from Ham Street to the formal Ham Avenues that march relentlessly around Ham House.

Unlike the straight Ham Avenues, Cut Throat Alley has a quirky kink in the middle that keeps its destination secret.

Update Jan 2015: Cut Throat Alley has been resurfaced and the access to it has been improved. See this post for details.

4 February 2009

Fading snow

As the sun set on the second day of the "snow event" I went for a final exploratory walk looking for places where the snow had not all melted or been commandeered to make snowmen. I found this patch of Ham Lands, lying between the river and Royal Park Gate, was still providing shelter to some stubborn snow.

Snow monster

The snow inspired children of all ages to build snowmen and places like Ham Common were quickly littered with them. It was refreshing to see a more imaginative use being made of the snow on the tow path by Teddington Lock where a gremlin was conjured to scare people away from the boats.

Ham House in the snow

It was very tempting to be the first person to make footprints in the pristine snow behind Ham House but the tall gate to Melancholy Walk allows you to see the fresh snow while playfully denying access to it.

3 February 2009

Winter wonderland

When the snow came I wanted to see how it had transformed several parts of Ham and one of these was The Copse. Here the snow had weaved its magic and turned an ordinary wood into Narnia. There was no sign of Aslan though.

Great South Avenue natural again

Normally I find Grand South Avenue too wide too flat too clean and too straight and I prefer to head off piste into the narrow, hilly, muddy, bendy paths that wriggle aimlessly through Ham Lands. But the snow hides the urbanity and returns the Ham Avenues to nature making them a pleasure to walk along again.

2 February 2009


The snowmen were out in force today to make the most of the cold weather and to entertain the many small children who seemed to prefer playing with snow to going to school.

Snow on Ham Common

This has been announced as the most snow London has had for eighteen years and there was the best part of a foot of it on Ham Common today. The view towards Ham House was lost in the snow-filled sky and the walk towards it made the more enticing by the mystery.

1 February 2009

Wendy's Workshop opens 14 Feb 2009

The A4 signs in the windows of what is becoming Wendy's Workshop have now been joined by some much larger notices announcing the grand opening on February 14th and explaining that the crafts on offer will include pottery, glass and enamelling.