Garrick’s Villa*

*TfL calls the stop here (for buses 111/216/R68) “Garrick Villa”.

From: Richmond Libraries’ Local Studies Collection:

“…Garrick always liked the idea of celebrating May Day – and at Hampton he sat in Shakespeare’s Temple and, as each child came up, he would ask its name and then gave each a piece of plum cake and a shilling…

According to Dr. Johnson, the death of Garrick in 1779 ‘eclipsed the gaiety of nations.’ It also eclipsed the gaiety of Hampton House which, together with his house at the Adelphi and the sum of £6,000, was left to his widow, Eva Marie Garrick. She apparently suffered from a delusion that she had too little on which to live. As a result she became a near- recluse and the condition of Hampton House inevitably suffered…

Mrs Garrick died in 1822 aged 97. She had little to leave as the house at Hampton and the Adelphi were only hers for life. The recipients of her principal bequests were her husband’s nephews, Christopher and Nathan Egerton Garrick. She also remembered her friend Hannah More and left £300 to the poor of Hampton for the purchase of coal. After Mrs Garrick’s death the Hampton House estate was bought by her solicitor, Thomas Carr, whose wife had been a friend of hers for many years. Carr set about repairing the neglected house and it was in good order again by the time of his death in 1838. It was Carr who changed the name from ‘Hampton House’ to ‘Garrick’s Villa’.

The house was sold in 1839 to Silvanus Phillips, a London merchant, for £3,600. He died in 1861 leaving it to his three sons, two of whom surrendered their interest in 1863 to the third, Silvanus Phillips the younger who added the western wing in 1865. In 1867 Phillips let the house to Edward Grove who bought it three years later. After Groves’s death in 1875, his widow continued to live there until 1902. In 1885 his children gave the east window of St. Mary’s Church, Hampton, in his memory. Mrs Grove allowed the use of her grounds for school treats, flower shows, athletic competitions and for the Golden and Diamond Jubilees of 1887 and 1897. She also revived Garrick’s custom of distributing money and cake to the poor children of Hampton from a chair in the Shakespeare Temple.

Mrs Grove was eventually driven away from Hampton by the arrival of the trams. As it was necessary to widen the road in front of Garrick’s Villa to make way for the tracks, the house was bought by the London United Tramway Company in 1902 for demolition. Fortunately for future generations, the general manager of the company, Mr (later Sir) J. Clifton Robinson, decided to live there himself. The wall on the Hampton Court side had to be set back to where it is today, but the only other alteration made by the company was the provision of a siding for Mr Clifton Robinson’s private tram so that he could be driven directly to and from work. The Clifton Robinsons’ tenure of Garrick’s Villa was marked by great social activity. Flower shows and fetes were held there as well as enormous garden parties for company employees – two thousand being brought in relays by seventeen special tramcars stopping outside the door…”

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