Hampton Hill, Middlesex

Image: Hampton Hill playhouse is a 200-seat theatre, with a 50-seat studio theatre, built in 1998. It is the home of Teddington Theatre Club.

From: the Hidden London website:

“There is no detectable hill here; merely slightly higher ground that may once have lain above the Thames flood plain. Before the Act of Enclosure of 1811 the area that is now Hampton Hill was common land used for grazing cattle, the only buildings being Upper Lodge in Bushy Park and the windmill, which had been constructed in the 1780s to grind corn and grain. A map of 1839 shows the High Street, Burton’s Road and Windmill Road, with a few buildings along the High Street and at the High Street end of Windmill Road, all surrounded by fields.

By 1850 the locality had 24 traders, and the population grew as labourers constructing the waterworks along the river at Hampton came to live here, usually in very poor conditions. In 1863 St James’s church was built and its first vicar – a clergyman of private means named Fitzroy John Fitzwygram – set about building cottages and houses for the labourers and improving amenities.

By the late 1870s the windmill had been demolished and the population had risen significantly. In 1890 the area was renamed Hampton Hill, having previously been known as the Common and New Hampton. A tram service began in 1903 and Hampton Hill was on the route from Stanley Road to Hampton Court. The High Street saw some changes when the tramway converted from single to double tracks a little later, and some buildings had to be demolished to allow the road to be widened.

Most of Hampton Hill’s market gardens disappeared after the Second World War. The site of the last, St Clare’s, was taken in 1990 for a Sainsbury’s supermarket.

More recently, alterations have been made to the stretch of the High Street between Windmill Road and Park Road, with some flats among the new buildings.

During the First World War a camp was set up for Canadian soldiers in Bushy Park, with Upper Lodge used as a hospital. Many of the soldiers who died there are buried in St James’s churchyard.”

From the Lost Hospitals of London website:

“In 1915 King George V gave permission to the Canadian Red Cross for Upper Lodge at Hampton Hill to be used as a hospital for Canadian troops stationed in Bushy Park.

Following the end of the war the patients and personnel were gradually evacuated over May, June and July 1919.  By 14th July there remained only 3 officers and 6 servicemen in residence.  The buildings and wards were redecorated in anticipation of handing over the site to the LCC for use as an open-air school for children from the East End with TB and other respiratory disorders.

The Hospital was officially disbanded on 2nd September 1919.

The Canadian Red Cross Society gave up all its ward buildings and much of its equipment for the new school, which was named the King’s Canadian Residential Open Air School.  The School closed in 1939 on the outbreak of WW2.

The buildings remained unused until 1942, when the United States entered the war.  The US 8th Army Air Force took over the site as its headquarters, renaming it Camp Griffiss, after Lt Col Townsend Griffiss,  the first American airman to be killed in the line of duty in Europe.  In 1944 the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) under the command of General Dwight Eisenhower moved to Bushy Park.  The initial planning stages of the allied invasion of Normandy, code-named Operation Overlord, took place here.

In 1945 control of Upper Lodge was transferred from the Air Ministry to the Admiralty.  It became part of the Admiralty  Research Laboratory; the Longford River (a canal which fed the pools of the Water Gardens) was diverted so that the still water could be used for testing mines.

By 1963 most of the temporary hutments used by the Hospital and the camps had been cleared from the site.

In 1994 the Ministry of Defence relinquished the lease of Upper Lodge to the Crown Estate.

Upper Lodge and the stables were sold for residential development and are now apartment blocks.

Bushy Park remains a public park.  A totem pole and the Canadian Glade in the Waterhouse Woodland Garden commemorate the use of the park by the Canadians during WW1.  The park also contains several memorials to the American Forces during WW2.”

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