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Talk by Rebecca Arnott: The history of the Museum of Richmond

December 10, 2018 @ 8:00 pm - 9:45 pm

The Museum of Richmond tells the story of Richmond from its origins in the medieval period, to its rise to prominence as a royal residence and its status as a centre of the arts and fashion. Opened in 1988 through the hard work of local people, the Museum is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Rebecca Arnott, the Museum’s curator, is giving this talk to coincide with its 30th anniversary exhibition 30 years, 30 people, 30 objects which runs from October 2018 to February 2019.

The plans for a Museum for Richmond were first mooted in 1843 when a room was to be set aside for the purpose in the new Mechanics Institute (the present Dome building on the Quadrant). However, this never happened, and it wasn’t until 1983, when a group of local residents under the leadership of local historian John Cloake, that plans were revived. It was obvious that a town with the rich history of Richmond should have a museum to tell its story.The Museum found a home on the second floor of the renovated Old Town Hall. Queen Elizabeth II formally opened the Museum when she opened the new Riverside Development on 28 October 1988. It was designed by Robin Wade and Pat Read Design Associates. Robin Wade was a local resident and well-known museum designer who had been responsible for designs for museums such as the Ironbridge Gorge Museum and galleries at the Science Museum and British Museum.

The collection covers the area of the old pre-1965 Borough of Richmond which comprised Richmond, Ham, Petersham and Kew. The foundation of the collection came from the Borough collection then stored at Orleans House, but has grown considerably over the years. Through a wide-ranging education service and special exhibitions, the Museum embraces the whole area of the present London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.

John Cloake became the Museum’s first Chairman and Bamber Gascoigne its first Patron.

The Museum’s website can be found here.


December 10, 2018
8:00 pm - 9:45 pm


Duke Street Church Hall
Duke Street
Richmond, TW9 1DH


Richmond Local History Society
020 8891 3825