31 January 2010

Sunny tree

The winter sun is weak and hangs low in the sky as it prepares to bed down for the night but this tree works hard to claim as much of the remaining light as it can.

30 January 2010

A closer look at Ormeley Lodge

In some ways Ormeley Lodge is no more grand or impressive than many of the other lodges in the area but what edges it towards the top of the league, if not to the top spot, is the contrasting red brick that warms the front of the house.

29 January 2010


Another hidden corner of Ham is that section of Ham Common Woods that lies north of Ham Gate Avenue and is bounded by Richmond Park and Richmond Golf Club. Here a pool of still water mirrors the trees and bushes that surround it.

24 January 2010

Cowper Road

Cowper Road is the first cousin to its next door neighbour Beard Road and the family resemblance is obvious; both have short rows of attractive houses with plenty of open space between them. It is that that qualifies them both to make the proud claim of being in Ham.

23 January 2010

Green doors

These wonderful wooden gates hide their verdant beauty at the far end of Ham Ridings, which is a pretty good place to hide.

22 January 2010

A clutch of trees

The feeling that you have moved from Kingston to Richmond as you walk up Latchmere Lane hits you as soon as you come to Beard Road where a splendid clutch of silver birches decorate the urban landscape. It's like listening to Beethoven's 9th when the chorus suddenly bursts into life.

21 January 2010

Gate to Wilmer House

As Church Road curls sharply away from barbaric North Kingston, preferring instead the peace of Richmond Park, it passes the almost unnoticed Wilmer House whose presence is announced with little bravado by a pair of simple gates that just hint at what might be found at the end of the drive.

Some intelligent Googling will give you some idea of who lives there. It's a discrete person who prefers to live in the shadows.

20 January 2010

The south east corner of Ham

I am not entirely sure where the south east boundary of Ham is, or should be. I tend to think of Church Road as the boundary but the Borough of Richmond upon Thames extends down Latchmere Lane to encompass Cowper and Beard Roads and this area certainly feels like Ham with its interesting open spaces between the short smart rows of houses.

19 January 2010

Latchmere House (back)

The front of Latchmere House is more decorative but carries ugly scars from its job as a resettlement prison. In contrast, the back of the house stands tall, proud and untainted as it watches over Latchmere Lane.

18 January 2010

New at Ham House

Almost concealed by a bright flapping tarpaulin is a new arrival to the Wilderness at Ham House. I'll reserve judgement until it is finally exposed but the omens are not good. Not only are the classic pillars inappropriate but the building blocks the long vista that stretches from Ham House all the way across Ham Common and so devalues the work done in opening up Melancholy Walk and Great South Avenue. It also lessens the Wilderness by giving it a focus that it does not want or need, it's meant to be a wilderness!

17 January 2010

Towards Ham Common

I've said before that one of the nice things about Ham is the many paths that let you wander without purpose or hindrance; this one connects Mornington Walk to Ham Common and beguiles you with brick as you go.

16 January 2010

(Former) All Saints Church from the park

The photo I took a couple of years ago
of the former All Saints Church in Bute Avenue, Petersham showed the exquisite decoration at the front of the house. Now winter has stripped the trees in Richmond Park you can see the scale and grandeur of the building. It is possibly my favourite house in Petersham.

14 January 2010

Growing up

In just under a year the cygnets on Ham Pond have grown from small fragile bundles of feathers to be as big as their parents with only some juvenile patches of brown betraying their youth.

12 January 2010

Snow in Mornington Walk

Before we completely forget what the snow looked like here is a reminder of how it transformed the quiet end of Mornington Walk.

11 January 2010

Sudbrook Park Mansion

While it is good news that Sudbrook Park Mansion is still with us, and in fine physical form too, it is less good that it now works as a lowly golf club and hides its shameful occupation behind high walls. Peering over one of these walls from Richmond Park gives a hint of former glories.

9 January 2010

Unusual house in Ham Farm Road

Ham Farm Road is host to a motley collection of relatively modern homes of mixed architectural merit that are worth a close look as you stroll leisurely along the road that does not really go anywhere.

This house is a melee of shapes that collude well to produce a house that is interesting without straying into the bizarre, rather like a late Beethoven string quartet.

8 January 2010

A little snow

While most of the country got enough snow to cripple transport and to close schools, in Ham we had just enough to paint Ham Common white.

7 January 2010

Side entrance to Oak Lodge

The little used front door to Oak Lodge is in Upper Ham Road but the busy side door is round the corner in Ham Farm Road. There is more to this attractive house than is shown here but there is a car parked just to the right of the picture which ruins the view, as all cars do. I have been hoping from a long while to walk past when there are no cars in the way but this has never happened and finally I've settled for this partial view.

4 January 2010

Oak Lodge

Oak Lodge's stark black and white features stand defiantly on the corner of Upper Ham Road and Ham Farm Road where the greenery of Ham Common attacks it on two fronts.

3 January 2010

A muddy corner

One of the wildest corners of Ham Lands is also the muddiest, and is all the more gorgeous for that. It lies just to the East of the path between Ham House and the river. A little-used path crosses these fields as it crawls towards Petersham where it joins Douglas Footpath.

2 January 2010

Night path

The two best things about Ham are there are lots of interesting places to explore and (mostly) the area is littered with paths that enable and encourage you to explore. This one provides an escape from Maguire Drive to Dukes Avenue.

1 January 2010

Gordon House

Gordon House is my favourite building on Ham Common because it is a a grand Georgian house that looks just like a grand Georgian house should look. It also has the advantage of facing directly towards Ham Pond. And the chimneys are cute too.