Elmfield House, Teddington

From website of the Twickenham Museum:

“Elmfield House, High Street, thought to date from the 1720s, is one of the oldest houses still standing in Teddington. It used to have a front garden with boundary walls, iron railings and gates, and substantial gate piers, until 1927 when they were all lost to road widening. For many years, until 2007 when it was sold by Richmond Council, the house was used as local council offices. It is now in mixed use as flats and a dental practice.

The Historic England listing description includes the following details: C18 house. Brown brick, red dressings. 3-storeys, with 2½:1:2½ bays on the front elevation, with the centre slightly projecting and a (blind) ½ window panel at either end. Brick parapet and a small brick cornice above each floor. C18 windows in moulded frames. Later Greek Doric porch in the centre of front elevation. Left side shows late C17 or early C18 work in plum brick and has 2-storey wing of this date with ground floor (partly modern) built out flush with front. Back elevation as front, but with half window inserted on either side of centre, which has an enlarged round-headed window on first floor and round window on second floor. Later splayed bay on right. There is a late C17-early C18 plain brick garden wall running back to right of the street front. One room contains painted plasterwork of late C17 or C18.front. One room contains painted plasterwork of late C17 or C18.

When the ruthless and autocratic Tsar Nicholas I died in 1855, bewildered urchins in Twickenham cried: ‘Hurrah! Zarnicoll is dead’. They had been given sixpences to do so by a renegade Russian aristocrat living in their midst, Alexander Herzen. The Russian liberal exile occupied Elmfield House from 1863 to 1864.

He was a babe-in-arms during the French occupation of burning Moscow, when his father unexpectedly became a messenger between Napoleon and the Tsar. Inspired by the Decembrist Revolution, he became politically active as a young man, and after spells of internal exile left Russia in 1847 to wander in Western Europe. He never returned, dying in Paris in 1870. From 1852 to 1865 he had at least fifteen addresses in London and the suburbs. Amongst these were Elmfield House, Teddington (1863-4) where he was visited by Garibaldi; Richmond House, Twickenham (1854-5) and St Helena Terrace, Richmond (1854). He used to say that such was the uniformity of English houses he could find any room or object blindfolded.”

Fiona MacCarthy: William Morris (1994) Chapter Five: Red Lion Square 1856-59:

“…At the time Morris lived there Upper Gordon Street was dingy. One facade could hardly be distinguished from another. Burne-Jones had once got half-way up the stairs and shouted for his dinner before he realised he had entered the wrong house.”