All of our talks have been suspended until further notice.

Coming to our talks

Everyone is welcome to come to our talks. They last about an hour and this includes time to ask the speaker questions after the talk.

Admission is £3. There may be some tickets available at the door but our talks often sell out so you must book to be sure of a place.

Reserve your seat with David Williams by email at or phone 020 8940 9421.

Previous events

Ham is Where the Heart is…, Thursday 20 February

Ham is where the heart is… is a historical archive of photographs, oral history recordings, transcripts and reminiscences by the people of Ham and Petersham.This talk was by Jill Lamb who organised the project in which over 50 local residents were interviewed revealing many fascinating stories.

Turner’s House, Thursday 23 January

Sandycombe Lodge was built by 1813 to the designs of England’s great landscape painter, J.M.W. Turner; working there as his own architect to create a quiet retreat for himself, away from the pressures of the London art world.

Pembroke Lodge, Thursday 10 October 2019

Our October talk was by Mark Lankester, who told us the story of Pembroke Lodge. The story begins at some time prior to 1754, when it was a humble cottage of one room, occupied by a molecatcher. Today the lodge is a Grade II listed Georgian Mansion.

Parkleys and Langham House Close, Thursday 19 September

Our September talk is by local architect Richard Woolf on the history of these two blocks of flats – both built in the 1950s and now listed.

Life on a Royal Navy submarine, Thursday 18 July

What do you know about submarines? This is your chance to find out what it is like to be in one. Our talk in July will be Life on a Royal Navy submarine. Ham resident Mike Allen joined the Royal Navy on leaving school.  He spent a number of years as a submariner during the Cold War, serving in both missile and attack boats.

Houses on the Hill, Thursday 13 June

Our talk in June will be Houses on the Hill: The Workhouses of Richmond and Kingston by Simon Fowler. Simon is vice-chairman of Richmond Local History Society and edits the Society’s annual journal Richmond History.

The Flora of Ham Lands, Thursday 21 March

Ham Lands is one of our local treasures. What was gravel pits has become a rich variety of flora thanks to the different infill soils used. Geoff Hyde has studied Ham Lands from his window for more than 50 years. He is well known for his guided tours of Ham Lands and knows the amazing range of flowers found there better than anyone.

Royal Oak – Abattoir to Village Centre, Thursday 10 January

The Royal Oak, on the corner of Ham Street and Sandy Lane, reopened in May 2017 as the Ham Village Centre, successor to the Ham Institute in New Road. Keith Mulberry, the well-known local historian, will give a talk on “Royal Oak – from abattoir to Village Centre”.

Members’ Christmas Afternoon Tea, Tuesday 4 December 2018

Members are cordially invited to join us for a Christmas Afternoon Tea. We shall enjoy a seasonal selection of hand-cut sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, your choice of Twinings teas, plus dainty cakes and fancies created by the patisserie chef.

AGM, Monday 15 October

After the business part of the meeting there was a talk by Steve Shaw of Mervyn Smith, estate agents on Ham Parade, on The Changing Housing Market in Ham and Petersham over the past Twenty Five Years.

Wates Estate, the first 50 years, Thursday 20 September

Wates Estate was a modern development, typical of the 1960s, with a very modern church and it has worn well in its first fifty years. David Williams was a resident of Wates Estate from 1966 to 1987 and has continued to watch it’s development and change since moving to Petersham.

A fascinating boat on the Thames, Friday 1 June

Lilian is a gentleman’s yacht built in 1916. For nearly 40 years her home mooring has been locally on the Thames in Twickenham. Hilary Pereira will delve into the photo archives to outline her history, and explain what makes this vessel so exceptional.

Ham’s Unique History, Friday 27 April

Gordon will be giving our Spring talk on Ham’s History from Prehistoric Times to Now. He will do this with a “time machine”, a format he has used successfully for previous talks.

Visit to Odney Club, Cookham, Thursday 19 April

This 120 acre site is beside the Thames with lovely riverside walks. A favourite with Stanley Spencer who featured their magnolia in his work. Lovely wisteria, specimen trees, side gardens, spring bedding and ornamental lake.

Our Riverside Legacy, Thursday 18 January

For our winter talk we are very pleased to welcome Jason Debney, the Co-ordinator of the Thames Landscape Strategy, to tell us how important the view of the Thames from Richmond Hillhas been in the appreciation of vistas and landscape since the 18th century.

The Cassel Hospital, Friday 29 September 2017

Our autumn talk will be about Cassel Hospital, founded in 1919 by Sir Ernest Cassel. Since 1947 it has been on Ham Common in a famous house. Too few people locally know what the Cassel does, and the management team will tell us their history and how they work to help people overcome personality disorders.

A trip into Surrey, Saturday 9 September

The Homewood is a 1930s Modernist house set in a picturesque woodland garden. Discover an unconventional and luxurious family villa that is an Modernist gem inside and out. We will also visit the nearby Claremont Landscape Garden with hidden surprises dating as far back as the early 1700s.

A summer celebration, Saturday 29 July

Join the Committee in a rare opportunity to visit the Cassel Hospital’s elegant surroundings opening onto the gardens. The Cassel have been given the wonderful Perennial Sanctuary Garden, featured at Hampton Court this year, to be installed here in Ham.

Richmond’s Princess, Friday 21 July

Ron Berryman will be giving an illustrated talk on “The People’s Princess”. Princess Mary Adelaide lived in White Lodge, Richmond Park, and was the mother of Queen Mary. She has a memorial just outside Richmond Gate, sadly neglected, but restoration is planned. She was a very active member of the Richmond community, was very popular, and was always in the local press.

Modern architecture in Ham, Friday 23 June

This talk was by Richard Woolf, the well known local architect. St. Richard’s Church is undeniably “modern”, but it’s over 50 years old. Are Parkleys and Langham House Close modern architecture? They were built in the early 1950s, and are both listed. The most recent, and attractive, modern buildings are at Grey Court School.

Visit to Thenford House

On Saturday 13 May we visited the 1760 Georgian house near Banbury in Oxfordshire has 70 acres of parks and gardens with over 3,500 varieties of plants, medieval fishponds, a walled garden and lakes. The estate, owned by Lord Michael and Lady Anne Heseltine, is only open four days a year so we were very fortunate to get tickets.

The History of Ham

On Friday 21 April Gordon Elsden, will give a talk on the history of Ham. People have been living by the Thames for thousands of years but until now nobody has collected all of the records to tell this fascinating story.

800 years of Kingston History

Jill Lamb, former Head of Heritage Service, explained how Kingston has evolved since the Royal Charter was given to the town by King John in 1200. She covered plague and palaces, crime and punishment, trade and taxes and, of course, shopping!

History of Eel Pie Island

Dan van der Vat told us about the history of Eel Pie Island. He co-authored the definitive book on the island’s history, with particular emphasis on the music at the Eel Pie Island Hotel in the 1960s.

Traditional Craftsmanship meets High Technology

There will soon be three Huf Houses in Ham and Petersham and we were very fortunate to get Peter Huf, chief architect, to speak about his award winning houses.

Coombe Conduit, an enigmatic Tudor waterworks

Dr. David Kennedy, the Kingston Society’s officer responsible to English Heritage for the management of Coombe Conduit, shared the latest research on this subject.

Writing a Psychological Thriller

Fleur Smithwick, the well known author and Petersham resident, gave a talk on writing a psychological thriller, and about her books How To Make A Friend and One Little Mistake

Wimpole Hall Farm

A coach trip to Wimpole Hall and Farm in Cambridgeshire, run by the National Trust.