Museum of Richmond

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The Museum of  Richmond regularly holds events linked to exhibitions, local history topics, guest speakers and fundraising events.

To find out more about upcoming events visit our What’s On Page

Why The Big Issue began in sleepy Richmond

An evening with John Bird, the founder of The Big Issue
Monday 1 October 2018, Duke Street Church, Richmond

The Big Issue magazine was launched in 1991 in response to the growing number of rough sleepers on the streets of London. It offered people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income through selling a magazine to the public. Over twenty-five years on, their vendors come from a variety of backgrounds and face the myriad of problems associated with poverty and inequality.

In this fascinating talk, John Bird discussed his links to Richmond, why The Big Issue began here, and how this award- winning magazine continues to offer employment opportunities to people in poverty. The Big Issue Group has grown to a multi-million pound social investment business supporting enterprise to drive social change.

July 2018: The Remarkable Ancient History of Ham - a talk by Gordon Elsden

Did you know that the Parish of Ham originally extended as far as Robin Hood Gate on the other side of Richmond Park, and included all of the Tudor Estate, now in Kingston?

Is it possible that one of the earliest hunter gatherer bases in England was established by the river in Ham, some 10,000 years ago?

Is it true that one of the first places the Saxons settled in England was by the River Thames by Ham at the beginning of the 5th Century?

In this talk Gordon Elsden, author of ‘Remarkable Ham—the untold story’ gave a fascinating insight into the prehistoric and ancient events that occurred in Ham, so long ago.

The Museum also extended its opening times until 7pm  so visitors had an opportunity to visit the Museum’s current exhibition  ‘Archaeology: Richmond’s Prehistory.’


May 2018: Museums at Night - Archaeology: A Murder Mystery

Our Archaeology Workshop re-imagined for grown-ups! A body has been discovered! We need your help to finish the archaeological dig and uncover the story of the person buried long ago…

In this fun and relaxed evening workshop, visitors could discover how archaeologists work, how they decipher the past and how Museums use their collections to tell these stories. With the help of our Museum Team, they excavated a body and used the objects buried with it to piece together their story, celebrate the success of the dig with wine and nibbles!

There was also a chance to take an afterhours look at the Museum’s Archaeology Temporary Exhibition and discover more about the pre-history of the local area.

“We were looking for something fun to do in London one evening that wouldn’t break the bank. We honestly had the most lovely time at the museum’s event ‘Archaeology – A Murder Mystery (Museums At Night)’ – it was fun, relaxed, super interesting and definitely something a bit different! The museum itself is quite small and quaint and the group size wasn’t too big so there was a really nice atmosphere. In addition, as well as some talks there were also some fun archaeology activities that made the evening more interactive and encouraged people to talk to each other.The wine provided was honestly so nice which was a lovely surprise, and the nibbles were great too. Finally, both Rebecca and Vicky were SO amazing, super knowledgeable and friendly and were clearly SO passionate about the Museum and what they do. They had a really nice energy which created a lovely vibe. I definitely recommend! Big thumbs up.”

May 2018: Byzantium - The Two eyes of Europe; a talk by Lord True

This fascinating lecture focused on Italy as the bridge and dividing line, between the two Europes that emerged from the collapse of Roman power in the West in the Fifth Century AD. It illustrated the influences of the surviving Roman Empire centred at Constantinople (Istanbul) still visible in Italy, but examined the progressive alienation between the two Europes, in language, religion, politics, art and trade, and the creation of a rival concept of ‘Europe’ under Charlemagne; the schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches; military attacks from the West against Eastern Christians; and the annexation of the Byzantine Eastern Mediterranean trade and territory by the Italian mercantile powers.

The talk asked, more widely, if a perception of the inferiority of eastern Christian culture still distorts modern attitudes to the countries of the Orthodox world. Can a relationship of mutual respect be established between East and West?


June 2018: Museum of Richmond 30th Birthday Garden Party

Celebrating the Museum’s 30th Anniversary and raising money to secure our future
by generous permission of Baroness van Dedem

On this glorious sunny day, guest could:

  • Listen to summer sounds from the Barnes Concert Band, playing a selection of musical arrangements of films, musicals, popular and classical music.
  • Try their luck at our Champagne Raffle and Silent Auction to win prizes worth over £3000!
  • Enter our Best Party Hat Competition—for children and adults.
  • Have a go at creating their own party hat, or bring a favourite from home.
  • Find out more about the Museum and its history: handle Museum objects and children can dress up like a Tudor.
  • Meet local societies and charities who have worked with the Museum over the past 30 years.
  • Relax in this beautiful garden sipping on your drink of choice and enjoy a delicious cake.

February 2018: The Queen's Road Estate - a talk by Paul Velluet

Local architect and historian Paul Velluet traced the development of Richmond Queen’s Road Estate, Richmond – the Richmond Parish Lands – from the building of the Parish Workhouse in 1786 funded by King George III and Queen Charlotte to the present. He explored the complex history behind the master-planning and redevelopment of much of the Victorian estate in the 1970s and 1980s to create London and Quadrant’s estate of social housing and the building of sheltered housing nearby, and the exemplary design of the buildings and their landscaped setting by local architects Darbourne and Darke and others.

November 2017: Koh-I-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond - a talk by Anita Anand

In this fascinating talk in aid of the Museum, journalist, broadcaster (presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Any Answers) and local resident Anita Anand revealed the true story of this infamous and controversial diamond as told in her recently published book Koh-I-Noor (Bloomsbury 2017), which Anita co-authored with William Dalrymple.

June 2017: Old Palace Lane Garden Party

The Old Palace Lane Garden Party,  a fundraising event linked to our summer exhibition Old Palace Lane, took place in the beautiful riverside garden of Trumpeters House, Old Palace Yard, Richmond (by kind permission of Baroness Van Dedem)

Guests were able to listen to summer sounds from the Barnes Concert Band playing a selection of musical arrangements of films, musicals, popular and classical music, as well as enjoying tea, cake and sunshine.

March 2017: Return of the Dragons - a talk by Lee Prosser

Historic Royal Palaces and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, have embarked on a fascinating conservation project which will see the Pagoda returned to its 18th century splendour.

This talk covered the latest news on the story of how staff at Historic Royal Palaces have pieced together the story of the elusive dragons, missing from this remarkable building for over two centuries.  Why did they disappear and what are the problems in restoring them?  We learnt how the project team of specialist craftsmen will use the latest technology to ensure the new dragons are as faithful to the originals as possible.


February 2017: Richmond’s Historic Parish Church - a talk by Paul Velluet

An audience of some one hundred listened to an interesting and informative talk on our local church. Aided by many maps, diagrams and images from both the past and the present, Paul took us expertly through the history of the church, beginning with a look at parallel evidence of other local churches like Petersham and St Nicholas, Thames Ditton,to give an idea of what a possible earlier church on the site might have looked like.He then went on to discuss the Tudor rebuilding in 1502/4 and the subsequent changes which have taken place since. These included the addition of galleries and their subsequent removal in 1904 when the chancel was also enlarged and in the 1930s. Throughout Paul linked the architectural development of the church with the changing social needs of the society it served.  He also gave us a preview of the current refurbishment project current refurbishment project which will accommodate aspects of modern life into the Richmond Church Community. 

November 2016: Writing in Kew - a talk by Melvyn Bragg

In November 2016, we were pleased to collaborate with our friends from the Kew Society and the Richmond Society on a fascinating talk from Melvyn Bragg,- Baron Bragg of Wigton – on ‘Writing in Kew’ The Jodrell Theatre at Kew was full for an engaging and humorous talk which ranged over a wide range of topics: Bragg’s relatively humble childhood in Wigton, Cumbria, where his parents ran a pub: the inspiration of libraries, books, school and studying history at Oxford for his writing:  his early career in the BBC and happy family life in Kew in the 1960s, where he wrote his first novel. Melvyn Bragg’s admission that he left Kew reluctantly to move to North London because he found the aircraft noise intolerable was received sympathetically by the local audience. Many of the friends he made during that time were present at the talk and Lord Bragg paid particular tribute to his friend, the late David Blomfield, President of the Richmond Local History Society, who had originally organised the talk as a patron of the Kew Society. Thanks to both the Kew and Richmond Societies for generously donating the proceeds from ticket sales to the Museum.

October 2016: 'Celebrating 200 years: Richard Fitzwilliam and the Fitzwilliam Museum, 1816-2016'.

One of Richmond’s many famous inhabitants was Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion. Born in Fitzwilliam (later Pembroke) House on Richmond Green in 1745, he grew up to become a talented musician, collector and connoisseur. His family tomb is in Richmond churchyard, but his true memorial is Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum, the result of his generous bequest to that University of his entire collection of paintings, manuscripts, books and prints, along with funds to build a ‘good, substantial and convenient museum.’

In this talk, Dr Lucilla Burn will discussed Lord Fitzwilliam’s life and character and sketch the origins and growth of the Fitzwilliam Museum over the last 200 years.

Dr Lucilla Burn is Keeper of Antiquities and Assistant Director for Collections at the Fitzwilliam Museum, and a Fellow of Newnham College,Cambridge. Her interests include ancient Greek vases and terracottas and the history of collecting. 2016 saw the publication of her book ‘The Fitzwilliam Museum, a History’, the first detailed account of the Museum’s development, published to mark the Fitzwilliam’s bicentenary.



Tuesday to Friday: 11am to 5pm
Saturday, April to September: 11am to 5pm
Saturday, October to March: 11am to 4pm

Please Note: We often have learning workshops which start before the Museum opens to the public, which means the exhibition areas will be busy before 12noon.


Second Floor, Old Town Hall, Whittaker Avenuue, Richmond, TW9 1TP
020 8332 1141