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Roehampton is a district in south-west Londonmarker, forming the western end of the London Borough of Wandsworthmarker. It lies between the town of Barnesmarker to the north, Putneymarker to the east and Wimbledon Common to the south. The Richmond Park golf courses are west of the neighbourhood, and just south of these is the Roehampton Gate entrance to Richmond Parkmarker itself—the largest of London's Royal Parks. Roehampton is 6.3 miles (10.1 km) south west of Charing Crossmarker.


The Roe in Roehampton is thought to refer to the large amount of rooks which still inhabit the area in large numbers.


Roehampton emerged as a favoured residential suburb of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries following the opening of Putney Bridge in 1729 and the development of a number of large private estates from which several of the original houses survive. Roehampton House (grade I) by Thomas Archer was built between 1710-12 and enlarged by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1910. Parkstead House (grade I) built in 1750 for William Ponsonby, 2nd Earl of Bessborough, now forms part of Roehampton Universitymarker. Mount Clare (grade I) built in 1772 for George Clive, cousin of Lord Clive, which forms part of Roehampton University, along with Grove House (grade II*), built originally for Sir Joshua Vanneck in 1777 (also owned by the University). 'Capability' Brown is reputed to have laid out the grounds. The University also owns Downshire House (grade II*); built in 1770 and once occupied by the Marquess of Downshire. Roehampton Village has retained something of its rustic Georgian charm, best exemplified by the King's Head Inn, at the foot of Roehampton High Street and the Montague Arms, Medfield Street, both 17th century in origin. Dramatic change came to Roehampton when the London County Council built the massive Dover House Estate of the 1930s and the Alton East and West Estates of the 1950s. At Highcliffe Drive on Alton West the LCC essentially retained the Georgian landscape and placed within it five ultra modern slab blocks: Binley, Winchfield, Dunbridge, Charcot and Denmead Houses, (all grade II*) inspired by Le Corbusier's Unite d'Habitationmarker.

Roehampton was originally a village which became a popular residential area for the wealthy within easy reach of London. Roehampton House was built in 1710 and was until 2008 the administrative centre for Queen Mary's Hospitalmarker. It is now being developed into private flats. Parkstead House was built in 1763 by the second Earl of Bessborough, and was the home of the socialite Caroline Lamb before being acquired in 1861 for use as a seminary by the Jesuits and renamed Manresa House. Gerard Manley Hopkins, the Jesuit poet, lived there. Many other 18th century aristocratic summer villas were set in parkland near Richmond Park and Putney Heath. Parkstead (Manresa) House, Downshire House, Grove House and Mount Clare are now all part of the Roehampton Universitymarker campus. Much of the old village of Roehampton still remains dominated by large detached houses. An old watering trough for Victorian carriages exists at the junction of Medfield Street and Roehampton Lane. The University has campaigned to have nearby Barnes Station renamed Barnes & Roehampton as the station lies between the two areas.

Roehampton is home to a number of well known institutions: Roehampton University has approximately 8000 students housed in 4 Colleges; the new Queen Mary's Hospital with its renowned amputee rehabilitation centre opened in 2006 is a teaching centre for medical students based in Wandsworth NHS Primary Care Trust; Kingston Universitymarker has one of its campuses in Roehampton Vale; South Thames Collegemarker also has a Campus on Roehampton Lane. It has long been a major centre for teacher - training, being the site of two constituent Colleges (Digby Stuart College and Froebel College) of the former federal Roehampton Institute of Higher Education (now Roehampton Universitymarker), as well as South-East England's only lecturer-training college (Garnett College) which eventually relocated and became part of the University of Greenwichmarker.

Apart from education other notable institutions based here include: The Priory Clinic; the Bank of Englandmarker Sports Centre; Rosslyn Park Rugby Club; and Roehampton Club. The International Tennis Federation moved to Roehampton from Barons Court in 1998, and in 2007 the Lawn Tennis Association made the same short journey across London to their newly built headquarters next door to the ITF. Roehampton has long been an exclusive London address.

The notable Alton Estate, one of the largest council estates (public housing) in the UK, occupies an extensive swathe of land west of Roehampton village and runs between the Roehampton Lane through-road and Richmond Park golf courses, as can be seen on the map above. The estate is renowned for its mix of low and high-rise modernist architecture consisting of Alton East (1958) styled a subtle Scandinavian-influenced vernacular and its slightly later counterpart: Alton West (1959) which includes buildings inspired by the work of French architect Le Corbusier. The installation and construction of a pedestrian entrance to Richmond Park from the Alton Estate was secured by Justine Greening (MP for the Putney constituencymarker, which includes Roehampton) was secured in 2007 although it has not yet materialised.

The estate has also featured as a film and television location. Fahrenheit 451 (1966) used some of the estate as its backdrop for a bleak dystopian society of the future. Thames Television's film division Euston Films used the Danebury Avenue area of the estate to film the opening scene's of Sweeney 2 (1978) - the sequel to the film Sweeney! (1977) itself spun-off from the hugely popular British TV show The Sweeney, and the first episode of Minder, Gunfight at the O.K. Laundrette (1979). The estate is now part of a regeneration scheme with a number of Government initiatives such as SureStart helping to tackle issues of poverty and social exclusion.

Furthermore Roehampton is an important location within H G Wells' novel The Sleeper Awakes. Roehampton (along with 5 other other locations in London; namely Wimbledon Parkmarker, Streathammarker, Norwood, Blackheath and Shooter's Hillmarker) form a series of rudimentary airports known as 'Flying Stages'. The Flying Stage at Roehampton is the scene for a major battle within the plot.

Famous residents

Famous residents have included two Prime Ministers, William Pitt the Younger and the Earl of Derby; William Harvey, who discovered the principles of blood circulation; poet Gerard Manley Hopkins; former racing driver Peter Westbury - who was also born in Roehampton; The Sweeney actor Dennis Waterman; The Devil Wears Prada star Emily Blunt; James Bond star Sean Connery and Middlesex County Cricket Club player Dawid Malan.

Nearest places


  • Putney and Roehampton, A Brief History The Putney Society, (1992)
  • Putney and Roehampton Past Dorian Gerhold, (1994)
  • Putney in 1636 Nicholas Lane's Map Dorian Gerhold, (1994)
  • Roehampton in 1617 The Village Surveyed Dorian Gerhold, (2001)
  • Villas and Mansions of Roehampton and Putney Heath Dorian Gerhold, (1997)


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