A history of the housing in Ham

1908 “the villagers of Ham are notorious for the interests they take in and the amount of time they spend on the cultivation of their gardens.  A walk through the quiet old world village at the present time will provide ample evidence of this”

Both Ham and Petersham were small villages centred around the main Richmond Road, Ham Street and the Common.  Because of limited public transport opportunities they did not get the upsurge in population experienced by Richmond and Kingston from the late 19th century onwards which made them attractive to both councils for building to house their increasing numbers. The Earls of Dysart owned two thirds of the land in Ham so development was not going to happen until they sold off land, however the 9th Earl supported the 1913 Ham Town Plan and land did begin to be sold off. By the 1920’s Craig Road had been built by Ham UDC and Lock Road had been extended.

After prolonged discussions and disagreements Ham Urban District Council ceased to be in 1933 and the area was split between Richmond and Kingston Councils.  In 1934 Back Lane, Cleves and Lovell Roads were built to cater for Richmond’s housing list, Mead Road having been built in 1931/2.  The destruction of properties to build the Great Chertsey Road (A316) led to further council house building in Ham in 1935 in Ashburnham Rd, Sheridan and Mowbray Roads.  After 1936 further council building took place in Woodville, Neville, Murray and Stretton Roads.  At that same time private housing was going up on Beaufort Road, Broughton Avenue, Dukes Avenue, Lawrence Road, Langham Gardens, Fanshawe Road, Hardwicke Road and part of Lock Road. .In Petersham, Lauderdale and Arlington Roads (Arlington was not finished until after the war)and Ashley Gardens were built as was one side of Sandy Lane.

There was no building during the war and it took some time after for materials to become available.  Prefabs were erected in Ham Close, Back Lane, Hardwicke Road, Murray Road, Simpson Road and, in conjunction with Kingston, Latchmere Lane.  Further council houses were built in Murray Road, Lock Road, Lammas and Stretton Roads and Russell Gardens and Maguire Drive were built as were flats in Hardwicke Road and Beaufort Court before 1950.

The 1950’s saw less council house building and more private building. In Petersham, Buckingham and Clifford Roads and Meadlands Drive were built by the council with individual plots fronting on to Sandy Lane being sold off.   In Ham, after Randle Road, Riverside Drive, Simpson Road and Burnell Avenue were constructed the council concentrated on flats with blocks erected in Stuart Road, Hardwicke Road and Ham Street.  Parkleys was built between 1954 and 1960 along with the parade of shops which added on to Ham Parade and some houses went up in Ham Farm Road.  Bishops Close and Langham House Close were built adjacent to the Common.

The Ham Close prefabs were demolished in the 1960’s and replaced by blocks of flats built between 1963 and 1966.  The major development in the1960’s however was the building of the Wates Estate between 1963 and 1968 which added over 700 dwellings to the housing stock in Ham and Petersham.    Beechrow, the Shires and Ham Ridings were built in the late 1960’s as were Martingales Close and Mornington Walk.  Ashfield Close and Cedar Heights  were built in Petersham at the same time.

The last major council house building was in Beard Road, Cowper Road and Latchmere Lane on the site of the prefabs.

Plans by Wates to build on land nearer to the river which they had purchased from the Ham River Grit Company met with a great deal of local opposition and it was not until the early 1980’s that a much reduced scheme resulted in the building of the Locksmeade Estate.

There has been little major development since the 1980’s although there is currently a plan to redevelop Ham Close and building is underway at the Convent site on Ham Common and the Latchmere House site.

Ref: Len Chave

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