The strip of land running down Richmond Hill between the common land belonging on one side to Richmond and one side Petersham was first granted to a Francis Barnard in 1639 from the Vestry; on the condition he maintained a proper fence and stile between the two commons.
At the top of this strip of land now stands The Wick. It replaces a famous tavern called the Bulls Head. At the bottom were important traveller stables, now the Rose of York Pub.
In the Middle was Nightingale Cottage, a more substantial house wasn’t built until the 1770’s. We know it was the home for many years to the ‘cultivated ladies of Ashburnham’ (ft) The last Lady Ashburnham(Henrietta Theodosia) lived at Nightingale Hall/Cottage, The Hill, Richmond (Surrey) and died there on the 30 March 1847 aged 87 and unmarried. (ft2)
The naming of Nightingale Lane, comes from the call of the Nightingale which could be heard on the Hill and is thought to be where the poet Wordsworth took his inspiration for The Nightingale, which he wrote in April 1798.
“Come, we will rest on this old mossy Bridge!
You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
But hear no murmuring: it flows silently
O’er its soft bed of verdure.”
In 1863 the land was acquired by the Richmond Hill Hotel Company. They employed John Giles, the architect of Langham Hotel. The architecture of the current building is what is known as ‘florid Italian Gothic’ style. Characterised by romanticism and featuring impressive square towers, decretive masonry and wrought iron balconies.
This Richmond Hill Hotel was renamed many times, perhaps because it was still in shadow of the famous Star and Garter Hotel It was The Mansion in the 1870s but when in 1924 the namesake finally did close its doors as a Hotel, reopening as a convalescence home for WWI Service men. the ’New Star and Garter’ was born. It has been known as The Petersham since 1978.
ft bygone richmond pg 65)