The Collection and its stories

The Hearsum Collection has diverse items from over 400 years of history relating to Richmond Park.

They tell stories about kings and queens, prime ministers, and other notable personalities including a leading philosopher, the campaign for public access, the impact of two world wars, changing patterns of sport and recreation – including the Olympics in 1948 and 2012, and connections with visitors from around the world.

A poet’s prose on Richmond Park: A Woodland Life by Edward Thomas

Edward Thomas (1878–1917) is celebrated for his lyrical nature poetry, but many people may not be aware of his interest in Richmond Park as a young man. Renewed interest in his life in recent years has seen All Roads Lead to France winning Matthew Hollis the Costa biography award in 2012, with Jean Moorcroft Wilson’s […]

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A family picture comes home – to Richmond Park

There are so many interesting items in the Hearsum Collection but one painting particularly caught my eye. It is a lovely depiction of Richmond Park but, more importantly for me, it has links to Ham House, the seat of the Dysart family from the 17th century through to the 20th century (when it was passed […]

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Appreciating the Park – and its fashionable Georgian gates

This charming aquatint in the Hearsum Collection, etched by Thomas Sutherland from a drawing by John Gendall, was published by Rudolph Ackermann in 1819. It shows people enjoying Richmond Park just inside Richmond Gate. The gates and lodge were designed by John Soane to complement the Georgian additions he had made to Pembroke Lodge, and […]

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Bertrand Russell – the young philosopher in the Park

Nobel prize-winner Bertrand Russell was a significant figure in the history of philosophy and politics who spent most of his childhood at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park. Bertrand, who became the 3rd Earl Russell, was born into one of Britain’s leading Whig families. His paternal grandfather, Lord John Russell, was Prime Minister in the 1840s and 1860s, and had been granted use of Pembroke Lodge as a residence by Queen Victoria. Following the death of both his parents, at the age of four young Bertrand came to live at the Lodge, to be brought up by his grandparents.

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Sport in the Park – where royalty and artisans are equally welcome

Richmond Park was created as an enclosed landscape where the king could indulge in his favourite sport of deer hunting, but today we have a very different view of what constitutes sport. Three 20th-century kings each had a part to play in developing the Park’s role as a venue for everyone, not just royalty and the aristocracy, to enjoy a range of sporting and leisure activities.

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The dog, the cookbook and the society beauty

Turn left as you enter the main gates of Pembroke Lodge gardens, look on the grassy slopes, and you will discover a headstone for a dog. “Boy”, who died in 1907, was for 13 years “a faithful and loving friend “to “GED”. We don’t know what breed of dog he was, but we do know that “GED” was Georgina (sometimes called Georgiana) Ward, Countess of Dudley, the next tenant at Pembroke Lodge after Lord John Russell and his family.

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Richmond Park “for Walking, Boating, Punting, Picnics and Other Jollities”

A lithograph copy of this poster image from 1925 by Charles Paine is in the Hearsum Collection.

It was part of a continuing campaign to increase passenger traffic on the Underground network by persuading Londoners to use their leisure time for day trips and weekend jaunts to historic houses, museums, suburban beauty spots and parks. As early as 1908 Richmond Park was promoted as somewhere ‘for Walking, Boating, Punting, Picnics and Other Jollities’.

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An artist in the Park

Richmond Park has been valued as a rural haven ever since it was enclosed as a royal hunting ground by Charles I in 1637. Over the years it has provided a home for all kinds of flora and fauna, most notably veteran oak trees and herds of red and fallow deer. This unique space has inspired many artists, as in this oil painting, held in the Hearsum Collection, by local artist James Isaiah Lewis, showing deer among veteran trees in the midst of the Park with White Lodge in the distance.

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Four generations of monarch

This photograph in the Hearsum Collection is from a royal christening which took place at White Lodge in Richmond Park, then the home of the Duke and Duchess of Teck.

The Duchess, known as ‘fat Mary’ because of her generous waistline, was a first cousin of Queen Victoria, and mother of Princess May, who was married to the future King George V (and became Queen Mary). For the birth of her first child in 1894 May went back home to White Lodge to be with her mother.

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