Development of the farmland between Sheen Common and the Upper Richmond Road in the 1850s.


Around 1850 the farm at the entrance to Sheen Common, was divided into twenty lots, usually between 1 or 2 acres in area, and new roads the present Christ Church Road and of Blind Lane (Temple Sheen Road) and the construction of two new roads, now known as West Temple Sheen and Derby Road. The latter was initially called Upper Sheen Road.

There were five lots on the west side of Derby Road and these were purchased by William Morley from Derbyshire. He proceeded to build Derby Lodge , an Italianate-style villa with a tower, on the western side, approached by a drive with a lodge at the entrance from the Upper Richmond Road. However, he fell into financial difficulties and was forced to sell. This provides the explanation for the ensuing development which was quite different from that envisaged in the original layout. A new road, Stanley Road, was constructed through the grounds with a big loop to circumvent the house, and "33 Plots of valuable freehold land having important frontages and immediately available for the erection of Villa Residences" were offered for sale by auction in 1866. The houses on the west side of Derby Road and on both sides of Stanley Road were built as a result. Later on the Derby Arms public house was built in the Upper Richmond Road between the two roads.

Of the remaining fifteen lots, the first house was built in 1852 and was called Sheen Mount , the name of which is preserved by the school on its site. It was built by Thomas Hare, a jurist and political reformer, who was best known in his day for his work on proportional representation.

In 1853 Sir Henry Taylor, a civil servant in the Colonial Office, dramatic poet and author of Philip van Artevelde, moved to Uplands. He had lived at Leyden House, Thames Bank, since 1844 but began to doubt whether that situation was condusive to the health of his children.

About the same time Charles Ellis, wine merchant and son of Joseph Ellis, proprietor of the Star & Garter at Richmond, built The Orchard, on the site of the farm's orchard. He was the author of Richmond: and Other Poems, published in 1845. You can still see high up on the north side a stone inscribed "C.E. 1856".

Further north, Furness Lodge, at first known as Petra House, was built at the top of Derby Road. The builder was Henry Goodale of Mortlake and its first occupant was Sir Henry Durand, Major-General, Royal Engineers, and later Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab. To the east of this appeared Sharon Villa, later known as Coval Lodge, built by Joseph Wigley, a fire hose manufacturer. It was demolished in 1933. Finally, we must not forget to mention the appearance of the Victoria inn, very much as it stands today, but at that time surprisingly isolated for a public house.

The farmhouse itself was purchased by Edward Penrhyn of The Cedars and continued in his family's ownership for many years. It was named The Gables and was let to Sir Charles Bagot, First Commissioner in Lunacy, who lived there for half a century.