31 December 2013

New home for Ham and Petersham Cricket Club

The new home for Ham and Petersham Cricket Club on Upper Ham Road is a much more impressive building that the flat-roofed shack that it replaced. Now it has a pitched roof like its two neighbours which it somewhat puts to shame with its newness.

30 December 2013

Broken window

Ivy House and Cottage are an odd couple in Winter as the different ivies respond differently to the changing weather. Now a broken window further breaks the symmetry.

29 December 2013

Closing Cassel Hospital

The "To Let" sign on the Cassel Hospital marks the end of an era. The building has had many uses in its history and now its days as a hospital appear to be over. I am not sure who will take the building on in its current configuration but I suspect that its ultimate destiny will be as part of a major housing development.

Whatever happens next the end of the hospital means the end of the little features that mark it as thus. Features like this notice.

27 December 2013

Opening up Oak Lodge

Oak Lodge has appeared in this blog a few times over the years, often with a complaint that it is partially obscured by cars etc. For a while at least, all that has changed.

On the Ham Farm Road new trees have been planted that are the same height as the wall. I presume that they will be allowed to grow and to hide some of the house but until then there is a good view of the building.

Bigger changes are happening on the Upper Ham Road side. The wall has been replaced and the new one looks as though it will have railings in to and that will really open up that side of the house.

There is extensive work going on in the garden too and I shall make a point of walking past there regularly until all the work is complete.

26 December 2013

Painting to impress

I quite like this house in Ham Farm Road and have included pictures of it before but I am not sure that it is worth the £3.6m that is currently being asked for it. Obviously other people think so too and it has been on the market for quite a while. In what I take as a renewed effort to impress a potential buyer, the garden wall and garage have been treated to a new coat of paint.

To my mind that just highlights a problem with the house, the poor standard of the original finish. Painting part of the property merely makes the paintwork on the main house look even worse, and the house is but a few years old.

Dance Active's nutcracker soldiers

Dance Active has been on Ham Parade for three and a half years now and is firmly established. They have started a tradition of decorating their shop, and hence the Parade, with a pair of nutcracker soldiers at Christmas and this is a tradition that I fully support.

They are clearly Christmassy but are pleasingly different from the normal Christmas decorations and they are a lot more prominent than the line of little trees above the shops.

23 December 2013

Polite notice

I have walked past this sign, where Parkleys becomes Ham Farm Road, many times and have always intended to record it for posterity but the vegetation had always been against me before. Even here the ivy does its best to obscure it.

21 December 2013

Shoring up the towpath

I like the towpath when the tide is coming in and have been deliberately trapped on benches a few times. The regular rush of water over the path damages it and it has to be patched up from time to time, especially in the area near to Douglas Footpath.

The latest repairs included building up the bank to the ditch on the land side of the towpath, presumable to encourage the path to stay where it is rather than fall in to the ditch.

20 December 2013

Walking past Ham House

I go to Ham House a few times a year and I walk past it a lot more, mostly along this path on the East side of the house as it is on my usual route to/from Richmond.

This is one of the connected paths that make up Ham Avenues which run from Sandy Lane (by Grey Court School) to the river and on past Ham Polo and the German School to Petersham.

17 December 2013

Shabby shed

This shabby but utterly charming shed is part of the Ham House estate and is normally hidden behind gates. Finding gates like this open on a walk is always a joy.

The scene appealed to me in the same way that abstract art does, through the combination of shapes and colours. It is the little things like the green watering can that I like.

15 December 2013

The cafe spreads at Petersham Nurseries

One of the purposes of this blog is to note the changes that are being made in Ham (and Petersham) as these sometimes sneak up on us and then we suddenly realise that all the little changes that we missed have combined to become something significant. Nowhere is this more true than at Petersham Nurseries.

The cafe and restaurants areas have been spreading relentlessly over the last few years displacing plants and pots as they do so. Now the tables and chairs have reached the far end and the plants are fighting a rear-guard action in the North-West corner.

13 December 2013

Bright lights

Perhaps they have always been like this and I have not noticed before but walking down Riverside Drive I was struck at how bright the lights in the block of flats in Hardwicke Road were.

2 December 2013

Storm damage

The recent storm caused some damage but probably not as much as some feared. Along the section of the towpath between Teddington Lock and Ham House a few trees were uprooted and fell across the path. These were all growing on the river side of the path and so had less firm foundations than the other trees.

Walkers quickly made new routes around the fallen trees though passage must have been a lot harder for cyclists. The trees were cleared in a few days and everything was soon back to normal.

27 November 2013

Making improvements at Teddington Lock

In November each year the river is allowed to follow its normal cycle with the opening of Richmond Lock which keeps the river unnaturally high the rest of the year. That makes November the best time to work in Teddington Lock.This year the works include replacing all the wooden fenders in the Barge Lock.

The ones that have been removed have been stacked by the towpath at the north-west end of the lock. Their mixed condition suggests that they were installed at different times.

21 November 2013

New Bus Stop on Dukes Avenue

Dukes Avenue has gained a new Bus Stop. This is near to the junction with Northweald Lane and is slightly to the West of the one for buses in the other direction. There is still Bus Stop Q on Tudor Drive on the other side of the traffic lights.

At the moment, and I hope that this is going to change, there is no Bus Stop marked out on the road so the buses do not have anywhere to pull in on a part of the road that always has plenty of parked cars. My one attempt to get a bus to stop there failed.

16 November 2013

Jubilee plaque restored

When I first posted a picture of this in February 2011 I only showed the crest at the top because the plaque beneath was not very pretty. It showed a map of Petersham which was both difficult to see the detail of and had been defaced. It has since been restored but with words rather than a map.

I suspect the shape is the Ham and Petersham Society's idea of where Petersham is, but they are wrong.

12 November 2013

Work in progress

This small (private) lane off the main Petersham Road has appeared in this blog a remarkable number of times given that it only has a handful of houses in it. Now some more work is being done at the end of the lane which has already seen one new house and a substantial extension to another in recent years.

4 November 2013

Behind Ham House

I love the simplicity of the garden-side of Ham House far more than the fussy front so here are three more pictures to try and explain why.

The house speaks for itself. The symmetry, scale and clean lines are just perfect.

At the back of the garden lies the Wilderness, a simple maze that skilfully hides smaller gardens and a few Summer houses. It is a garden for walking round and round, unless you are a small child in which case it is a place for running and hiding.

At the side of the house is the former Cherry Garden with its geometric beauty and contrasting colours. The peep-holes in the hedge at the far end are a quirky treat.

28 October 2013

Kitchen Garden at Ham House

The Kitchen Garden at Ham House always has something pretty on show. It is a busy garden, providing food and flowers for the cafe and house, and the businesses means that there is always something to see.

The garden is divided in to sections, just as the main lawn is on the other side of the wall, and each bed is planted differently. Clean crisp gravel separates the plots and gives the garden a formal grandeur that belies its purpose.

These purple things were in one of the vegetable plots. I have absolutely no idea what they are but I do know that they are purple and pretty.

20 October 2013

Inside the Glasshouse

I had been in to the garden at the Glasshouse in River Lane a few times but it was not until Open House London 2013 that I was able to get inside.Not that there were many surprises as the walls facing the garden are almost all glass so a lot of the house is visible from the outside.

The long side of the house has a kitchen area (shown here) and a separate dining area of a similar size that form one large room.

In the corner of the almost L-shaped house is a wide corridor that leads from the kitchen/dining area to the sitting room. It also contains the staircase to the upper level.

The sitting room has the garden on two sides so is very light and has great views. The garden is bounded by a high wall so it is very private, expect when visitors are in the garden.

Above the corridor is a reading area that cannot be seen from the garden so it was nice to be able to go inside the house to discover it.

There are some bedrooms and bathrooms above the kitchen/dining area but these are not very interesting rooms and they were not all open to visitors. The one that was is spacious but it is just a room with a bed in it and I cannot get too excited by that.

12 October 2013

Behind Langham House

The road that runs alongside Langham House, the appropriately named Langham House Close, is private and so I have avoided the temptation to walk down it for several years then Open House London gave me a legitimate excuse to be there, so I went.

The back of Langham House is almost as pretty as the front though it is nothing like as stately without a grand door to set it off. Both sides of the house have a healthy climber covering a lot of the bricks and trying to cover some of the windows.

29 September 2013

Langham House Close

Langham House Close is a private development behind Langham House on Ham Common and was built in the late 50s in the modern style of the time. Because it is private and I (generally) respect privacy I have not featured it before but it was part of Open House London and that gave me the chance to go in and look.

The external view of the block closest to Ham Common is, in my opinion, rather lovely with crisp, neat straight lines, contrasting bricks and concrete, and sympathetic landscape.

There are a few blocks in the development and they are well spaced out with landscaping between them. I like the mound too as I think that variations in height are as important as variations in shape and colour.

The brick and concrete theme continues inside the flats too, which must have been a brave statement at the time. A lot of attention was paid to the details of the design as shown by the opening in the wall and the unusual shape of the mantelpiece.

26 September 2013

FD03 GFG parks in a Bus Stop

I was waiting for a 65 to Richmond at Bus Stop J on Ham Parade when FD03 GFG pulled up and parked in the stop to use the cash machine. There were plenty of parking spaces on both sides of the road but she thought that was too far to walk and would rather block the buses instead.

21 September 2013

Large plant on Meadlands Drive

Walking West along Meadlands Drive it is hard to miss this large leafy plant that has consumed most of the front garden of one of the houses set back from the road in a corner of a half-square. I like things like this for several reasons, not least because they break up the long stretch of uniform brick.

15 September 2013

Sad pub

Two years after I first posted a picture of the boarded-up Royal Oak it is still standing sadly waiting for a new owner to care for it.

I do not expect it to become a pub again, which is a shame, but the plans to convert it to a house appear to have ended too and the new "All Enquiries" signs have a touch of desperation about them.

3 September 2013

Tidy house on Ham Street

I have always liked this house on the upper end of Ham Street, it is between Sandy Lane and Riverside Drive. It has recently been freshened up and now looks very attractive. It has a lot of nice details, such as the heart shapes cut in to the shutters, without being too fussy.

31 August 2013

Strathmore and Russell Schools

There is nothing remarkable about either of these buildings, except that they are about to disappear and I wanted to record them before they went.

The building on the right is one of the several that makes up the Russell School. When my boys went there (a few years ago now) it was where the infants started their schooling and also where the breakfast club was held.

The building at the back is the separate Strathmore School.

Strathmore School is a special school for learners with complex learning difficulties.

Richmond Council proposes to redevelop both schools on to a smaller footprint and to sell the released land to developers. I am strongly opposed to this for several reasons but the main two are that it was largely because of the large open site that I chose the Russell School for my two boys and the site is on the edge of Ham Lands and I am opposed to developments that change the wild character of the area.

You can see more about the campaign to stop this development on the Don't Sell School Land in Petersham to Developers blog.

25 August 2013

Ham Parade (north-east) in August 2013

While some of these shops have featured individually in this blog I had not shown the whole of this part of the parade before because of the cars. It is the only part of Ham Parade that has two lines of parking in front of it and these are always busy. This picture was taken early on a Sunday morning and there are still four cars ruining the view.

Like most of the parade there have been a few changes over the last ten years or so; Headmasters has grown to occupy the two units on the far left and I still think of L’Amandine (in blue on the right) as a new arrival just because it came to Ham after I did.

18 August 2013

N 879 JLU on double-yellow lines

There are two bad parking hot-spots on Ham Parade. This is not one of them which is why the bad parking grabbed my attention. The south-bound road widens slightly at this point to form two lanes to allow space for cars turning either in to the garage or in to Tudor Drive / Dukes Avenue at the traffic lights. Clearly this is not a sensible place to park and the double-yellow lines confirm this, yet N 879 JLU chose to do so.

14 August 2013

A new look for Wendy's Workshop

Wendy's Workshop has featured here a few times since it opened in February 2009 because it always makes an effort to brighten up the parade. Now it has had a slight refresh and a new sign with dripping paint effect. It looks good.

7 August 2013

Teddington Lock with flowers

It is always worth crossing the little footbridge to get on to the island at Teddington Lock to see the lock in action close-up and to appreciate the care and attention that is put in to keeping the place looking pretty and tidy.

The flower beds next to the office now have competition from a bed behind the office that was designed by Grace of Hampton Hill Junior School in the Design a Flowerbed for Teddington Lock competition.

29 July 2013

Garden at Ormeley Lodge

The Wilderness is my favourite part of the garden but the rest of it is pretty good too. I love the mixed planting in the thick borders around the main lawn that produces a wonderful confusion of shapes and colours.

Zooming out a little shows some more of the flowers and reveals the depth of the borders and the obsessively neatly trimmed hedge behind. Also in view is one of the two lions that guard the path to The Wilderness.

Zooming even further out shows the border in the context of the large lawn that it surrounds. This is exactly what a lawn and border should look like.

The final picture (for the moment) comes from a different part of the garden. This celebration of Box is at the side of the house, which is bit of a shame as something as magnificent as this deserves to be in a more prominent position.