The Twickenham Museum
Exhibitions : Villages into Towns

Hampton – a riverside village
The arrival of trains and trams spurred the expansion of market gardening and housing

St Mary's Hampton, c. 1860

The Domesday Book of 1086 shows that the settlements of Hampton, Hampton Wick and Teddington had a combined total of only 41 villagers and 4 smallholders, suggesting a total population for that area of around 200. By 1600 the population of Hampton and Hampton Wick combined had only grown to about 600, reaching about 1150 by 1700. The area of Hampton parish was 2045 acres until Hampton Hill became a separate parish in 1863. Hampton has enjoyed steady growth in population since the 1801 Census and, unlike other parts of the Borough, the population has not declined in the post-war years. This is due, in particular, to the development of the old Hampton Nurserylands in the past thirty years; the last open area in the Borough available for housing.

In 1801 Hampton was still mainly a triangle of streets clustered around St Mary’s Church: Thames Street, Church Street and High Street, with some properties in what later became Station Road. The population, numbering 1722, was living in only 134 houses with a further 7 houses unoccupied. By the 1820s, as the population increased, the old church became too small and it was rebuilt in 1831.

The development of Hampton continued in the mid-1800s and a new village began to take shape to the north, on “The Common”. This was at first called New Hampton and, later, Hampton Hill.

The railway arrived in 1864, which improved communications with London but did not lead to any immediate increase in population. At this time much of the land was still used for grazing and farming. It was not until the 1880s that market gardening began to flourish, as it began to decline in nearby Twickenham. In 1884 there was only one nursery in Hampton, but there were 12 by 1888 and 32 by 1900, with about 600 greenhouses. Indeed there were still 45 nurseries in business in 1939. The ever-increasing demand for land, however, meant that by 1973 there were only 8 left, mostly derelict, which subsequently were used mainly for The Nurserylands housing development.

In 1890, after decades of wrangling, Hampton finally elected a Local Board with the power to borrow money and so improve the infrastructure. Shortly afterwards, in 1895, the Local Board converted to an Urban District Council. As a result of these changes a Sewage Disposal Works opened in 1899 and re-surfacing of some roads had begun by the end of the century. The District Council functioned until 1937 when Hampton became part of the Borough of Twickenham.

In 1897 the Earl of Carlisle embarked on the break up the Manor House Estate. Although the parcels of land sold slowly, this action released a huge area for development. This led to the spread of housing to the south side of Broad Lane, and to the development of Wensleydale Road, Barlow Road and Tudor Road and then to Ormond Avenue.

Decorated trams outside Garrick's Villa

The coming of the trams in 1903 had a marked effect on Hampton. The roads on the tram routes had to be widened and almost overnight village lanes became town roads. At about the same time electricity arrived, together with the telephone.

A new road bridge was built at Hampton Court, opening in 1933. This gave access to the new “Arterial Roads”, in this case the Portsmouth Road, then being constructed. From the mid-1930s the remains of the Manor House Estate were developed, including Ormond Drive, Warwick Close, Cardinals Walk, Howard Close and Manor Gardens. Land previously occupied by the Nurserylands, enabled continuing development.

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