The town name of ‘Twickenham’ has its roots in the Anglo-Saxon with reference to the Twickenham area dating back to circa 700A.D. However, Twickenham’s modern associations lay in the sport of Rugby Union, being the headquarters of the game in England. The imposing structure of Twickenham Rugby Ground has been the venue for every England home match since 1910 including the memorable 2004 World Cup victory for England.
Today’s conurbation is primarily residential with many houses dating from the late part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th. In 1933 Twickenham Bridge was opened which now forms part of the Chertsey Road (A316), the road in which Harlequins Rugby Stadium is located, the venue of Take Five Fairs events. The bridge was designed by architect Maxwell Ayrton and built by A. Dryland with bronze work by Aubrey Watson Limited. It was the first bridge of note to use three-hinged reinforced concrete arches. The approach to the bridge separated the ‘Old Deer Park’ from Richmond Green. The A316 is now a heavily used link to the M3 motorway. A number of eminent and famous people lived in Twickenham including Vincent Van Gogh who lived at 160 Twickenham Road in 1876.
Twickenham is situated close to the River Thames in the county of Middlesex where the river winds gently and broad. In the past the Thames would flood, though the early settlement would most likely have been located on what is now known as ‘Eel Pie Island’ where the ground was higher. The settlement, by the latter quarter of the eleventh century, formed part of the manor of Isleworth. Eel pie Island was later to become a favourite haunt of boating parties with a popular tavern located upon the island which is now gone to be replaced by a number of bungalows. Thames fish weirs and the rise of river trade probably generated the village’s livelihood. The medieval village was sited around the church in King Street, Church Street and Riverside with small alleyways leading down to the water.
In the seventeenth century a number of substantial houses were built on both banks of the Thames in the area, which warranted the need for a ferry linking the Twickenham to Ham on the opposite bank. A row of terraced houses (Montpelier Row) was built in 1720 and a smaller terrace a year later (Sion Row) to cater for the rapidly growing population. Much of the original structures remain today. John James submitted plans for the rebuild of the parish church of ‘St. Mary the Virgin’ in 1714/15. Alexander Pope is buried here and within stands a monument to him.