“This sort of thing simply does not go on in Surbiton”*

*Character Margo Leadbetter In BBC sitcom “The Good Life”

London Gardens Online:

“Queen’s Promenade was conceived by local property developer William Woods as an exclusive walk for the residents of his new villas on the Portsmouth Road along the Surrey bank of the Thames. He reached an agreement with Kingston Corporation whereby he would pay for the promenade and lease it to the people of Kingston provided that the stretch from St Raphael’s Church was created at public expense. The promenade was constructed between 1852-4 and was opened ‘unwittingly’ by Queen Victoria in August 1856, who drove along the new Portsmouth Road accompanied by the Prince Consort and Princess Royal. In 1896 it was extended into Kingston at its northern end and a bandstand, now demolished, was constructed near the junction with Palace Road. The promenade now extends for a kilometre south to the island of Ravens Ait and widens out as it leaves Kingston.”


“Queen’s Promenade runs along the Thames on the other side of Portsmouth Road from Surbiton Park. The original park belonged, from the mid-eighteenth century until the early 1930s, to a large house known at different times as Surbiton Place, Surbiton House, and Surbiton Hall. The house was sold in 1817 to John Garratt, a prominent local politician, who later sold it to Alexander Raphael, a wealthy Roman Catholic (see post of 30/6/19). Raphael paid for the building of a Roman Catholic church on land in the north-western part of his estate. This is the Italianate church on Portsmouth Road known as St Raphael’s (pictured above). By the time Raphael died in 1850, major changes had begun to take place to the south of Kingston. The railway had reached the area in the late 1830s and the present-day town of Surbiton had started to grow up near the station.

Raphael’s heir, his nephew Edward Raphael, sold most of the estate for housing development. Just three acres of land remained with the house, which was occupied by the family of John Shrubsole, a banker and draper, until the death of his widow in 1914.

Most of Raphael’s estate was bought by William Woods. He laid out the four principal streets of Surbiton Park in what had been the grounds of the house. He built large houses for the well-heeled, including some fine pairs of semi-detached houses, as well as some substantial mansions.

The estate included a considerable amount of land south of the park, but not abutting to it. Woods built houses in several streets in this area, including Cadogan Road, which he named after the first Marquess of Anglesey’s second wife, Charlotte.

A little later he created Grove Road, which was extended eastwards to connect with Claremont Crescent (now The Crescent). The stretch of the road east of Maple Lane (now Maple Road) was originally called Claremont Road.

A legal document dated 20 Feb 1860 describes Woods as “William Woods late of Swan Lane, Hampton Wick, Mddx., now of Surbiton Park South, Kingston, gent”. This suggests that he had moved into one of his new houses, and the inclusion of the word South suggests that he made a distinction between the park proper and the more southerly development.

However, there is evidence that Woods lived in Palace Road, in the park proper. Perhaps he moved within the area or maybe the punctuation of the quoted document is incorrect; “Surbiton Park, South Kingston” would make perfect sense.”

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