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Roehampton High Street
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Location within Greater London
Population16,132 (2011 Ward of Roehampton and Putney Heath) [1]
OS grid reference TQ225745
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SW15
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°27′04″N0°14′35″W / 51.451°N 0.243°W / 51.451; -0.243 Coordinates: 51°27′04″N0°14′35″W / 51.451°N 0.243°W / 51.451; -0.243
Map of Roehampton, excluding Roehampton/Putney Vale to the south Map-Roehampton.png
Map of Roehampton, excluding Roehampton/Putney Vale to the south

Roehampton is an area in southwest London, in the Putney SW15 postal district, and takes up a far western strip running north to south of the London Borough of Wandsworth. [2] It contains a number of large council house estates and is home to the University of Roehampton.



The Roe in Roehampton's name is thought to refer to the large number of rooks that still inhabit the area.


Roehampton is centred about 6.3 miles (roughly 10 km) south-west of Charing Cross. It occupies high land, with Barnes to the north, Putney and Putney Heath to the east, and Richmond Park and Richmond Park Golf Course to the west. To the south is Roehampton Vale, that straddles the A3, with Wimbledon Common and Putney Vale beyond.


Roehampton was originally a small village – with only 14 houses during the reign of Henry VII – with the area largely forest and heath. The population gradually increased in the 18th and 19th centuries as it became a favoured residential outlying suburb for summer villas and larger houses set in parkland, following the opening of Putney Bridge in 1729. [3] 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. Until 2008, it was the administrative centre for Queen Mary's Hospital. The building was Grade I Listed in 1978 when it was still being used by the hospital. [4] It was subsequently developed into private flats.

Parkstead House (Grade I), built in 1760 for William Ponsonby, 2nd Earl of Bessborough, 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. [5] Gerard Manley Hopkins, the Jesuit poet, lived there. Parkstead House is now owned by Roehampton University, as are a number of other surviving 18th century houses. These include Mount Clare (Grade I) built in 1772 for George Clive, cousin of Lord Clive; Grove House (Grade II*), built originally for Sir Joshua Vanneck in 1777 – Capability Brown is reputed to have laid out the grounds; and Downshire House (Grade II*) built in 1770 and once occupied by the Marquess of Downshire. [6]

Templeton House, a Georgian mansion, was built in the 1780s and its first resident was Lady Elizabeth Templetown. In 1930, the building was converted into student flats; during both World Wars, it was used as a hospital. From the winter of 1919 to spring 1920, Winston Churchill lived at Templeton House while it was owned by Freddie Guest and his wife Amy. [7] After its sale in 2010, the new owners again converted the building into a single family home, with the exterior also restored. [8] [9] Some of the filming for series 3 of Downton Abbey was completed at Templeton House. [10]

Originally a part of Putney Anglican parish, Roehampton became a separate parish in 1845, after the building of Holy Trinity Church on Roehampton Lane in 1842. [3] The Society of Jesus founded St Joseph Church in Roehampton in 1869 from the novitiate that became Whitelands College.

The Maharajah Duleep Singh lived for a time in Ashburton House in Roehampton with the family of Sir John Spencer Login and Lady Lena Login. Lady Login wrote in her memoirs that the Prince Consort and the Prince of Wales visited him there on one occasion. [11]

Much of the old village of Roehampton still remains, dominated by large detached houses. An old watering trough for Victorian carriage-horses exists at the junction of Medfield Street and Roehampton Lane. [5]

Council housing

The London County Council (LCC) built the Roehampton Estate in the 1920s and 1930s (later renamed the Dover House Estate) and the Alton Estate in the 1950s, covering many of the large gardens and woodlands in the area.

Dover House Estate is one of a number of important London County Council cottage estates inspired by the Garden City Movement. The land was previously the estates of two large houses, Dover House and Putney Park House, which were purchased by the LCC soon after World War I. Dover House was demolished for the new estate, but Putney Park House remains. The common characteristic of the LCC cottage estates is picturesque housing influenced by the Arts and Crafts style. It was the intention at Dover House Estate to create housing in groups that overlooked or had access to open space, to provide a sense of intimacy and individuality, and the estate was laid out with communal green spaces. Allotments were also provided in three backland areas behind houses, two of which remain, the third subsequently infilled by housing.

Some of the many high-rise blocks on the large Alton Estate Alton Estate Roehampton London.jpg
Some of the many high-rise blocks on the large Alton Estate

The Alton Estate, one of the largest council estates in the UK, occupies an extensive swathe of land west of Roehampton village and runs between Roehampton Lane and Richmond Park Golf Course. The estate has a mix of low and high-rise modernist architecture consisting of Alton East (1958) styled a subtle Scandinavian-influenced vernacular and its slightly later brutalist counterpart: Alton West (1959). 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'Habitation. At the time of its completion in 1958, Alton West was considered by many British architects to be the crowning glory of post-World War II council housing. [12]

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.

Recent history and today

Roehampton contains a number of conservation areas, covering much of the Alton and Dover House estates, and the centre of Roehampton Village. This includes the King's Head Inn, at the foot of Roehampton High Street and the Montague Arms, Medfield Street, both of 17th century origin. [13]

In 2007, Justine Greening, the local Member of Parliament, secured a commitment to install a pedestrian entrance to Richmond Park from the Alton Estate. [14] A footpath and cycleway from Chohole Gate to Richmond Park was opened in 2014. [15]

Roehampton is home to a number of well-known educational institutions: the University of Roehampton has approximately 10,500 students housed in 4 colleges and around 4,000 students studying online; 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 University has one of its campuses in Roehampton Vale; South Thames College 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 the University of Roehampton), as well as South East England's only lecturer-training college (Garnett College) which eventually moved and became part of the University of Greenwich.

Apart from education, other notable institutions based here include: The Priory Clinic; the Bank of England Sports Centre; Rosslyn Park Rugby Football Club; and the Roehampton Club. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) moved to Roehampton from Baron's Court in 1998, and in 2007 the Lawn Tennis Association moved to a newly built headquarters next to the ITF.


In the 2011 census, the Wandsworth ward of Roehampton and Putney Heath did not record a single majority ethnic group. The largest ethnicity in the ward was White British at 45%, followed by Other White (18.4%), Black African (7.9%), and Other Asian (4.6%). [16]

In 2011, 59.1% of people living in Roehampton and Putney Heath were born in England. The other most common census responses were those born in Poland (5.6%), Pakistan (1.8%), Ireland (1.6%), the Philippines (1.6%), South Africa (1.2%), Ghana (1.1%), Germany (1.0%), and Somalia (1.0%). [17]

The religious make up of Roehampton and Putney Heath is 52.9% Christian, 23.6% No religion, 11.1% Muslim, 1.4% Hindu, 1.1% Buddhist, 0.7% Jewish, 0.4% Sikh, and 0.2% Agnostic. [17]


Roehampton is served by bus route 170 (to Victoria), 265 (to Putney and Tolworth), 493 (to Richmond and Tooting), 430 (to South Kensington) and 85 (to Putney and Kingston).

Barnes and Putney are the nearest railway stations. Roehampton University has campaigned to have nearby Barnes station renamed Barnes & Roehampton, as the station is situated between the two areas. [18]

Depiction in fiction, film and television

Roehampton is an important location within H.G. Wells' novel The Sleeper Awakes . Roehampton (along with 5 other locations in London; namely Wimbledon Park, Norwood, Blackheath and Shooter's Hill) 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.

The Alton Estate has 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 and Thames Television's film division Euston Films used the Danebury Avenue area of the estate to film the opening scenes of Sweeney 2 (1978), the sequel to the film Sweeney! (1977).

Notable residents

Nearest places


Related Research Articles

Putney Human settlement in England

Putney is a district in southwest London, England, in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is centred 4.9 miles (7.9 km) southwest of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.

London Borough of Wandsworth Borough in United Kingdom

Wandsworth is a London borough in southwest London; it forms part of Inner London and has an estimated population of 329,677 inhabitants. Its main settlements are Battersea, Putney, Tooting and Wandsworth Town.

University of Roehampton University in England

The University of Roehampton, London, formerly Roehampton Institute of Higher Education, is a public university in the United Kingdom, situated on three major sites in Roehampton, in the London Borough of Wandsworth. Roehampton was formerly an equal partner, along with the University of Surrey, in the now-dissolved Federal University of Surrey. In 2004, Roehampton became a university. In 2011, it was renamed the University of Roehampton. The university is one of the post-1992 universities.

Wimbledon Common Large open space in Wimbledon, southwest London, England

Wimbledon Common is a large open space in Wimbledon, southwest London. There are three named areas: Wimbledon Common, Putney Heath, and Putney Lower Common, which together are managed under the name Wimbledon and Putney Commons totalling 460 hectares. Putney Lower Common is set apart from the rest of the Common by a minimum of 1 mile of the built-up western end of Putney.

Southfields is a district of inner London located within the London Borough of Wandsworth, England, 5.6 miles (9 km) south-west of Charing Cross. Southfields is mainly residential, historically a part of Wandsworth itself, and is divided between the SW18 and SW19 postcode areas.

Kingston Vale Human settlement in England

Kingston Vale with Kingston Hill is a district in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames in south-west London. It is a residential area between Richmond Park, the much smaller Putney Vale, Wimbledon Common, Coombe/Coombe Hill and the Norbiton part of the very old borough. The main road is the A308 which is a through route for traffic passing to and from Kingston Hill to the A3 trunk road. Many of the branch roads are cul-de-sacs. It includes, toward the east and in the Vale, the only part of Kingston which drains eastward, that is, into Beverley Brook. The hill expanse, shared with Coombe and a golf course, has a hotel, some tall blocks overlooking Kingston, the edge of Kingston Hospital, the main campus of Kingston University London and faint remnants of dense woodland.

Barnes railway station National Rail station in London, England

Barnes railway station is a Grade II listed station in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, in southwest London, and is in Travelcard Zone 3. It is 7 miles 7 chains (11.4 km) down the line from London Waterloo. The station and all trains serving it are operated by South Western Railway.

Putney Vale Human settlement in England

Putney Vale is a small community in south west London. It lies between Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common, to the east of Beverley Brook and Kingston Vale. Its main features are a housing estate, a superstore and a large cemetery. The A3 dual carriageway runs through it.

Parks and open spaces in the London Borough of Wandsworth

The inner London borough of Wandsworth contains some 670 hectares of green space in the form of parks, commons, allotments and cemeteries, which is the largest amount for an Inner London borough. Central London borders some of the borough's boundary with the Thames the closest park to which is Battersea Park.

Whitelands College is the oldest of the four constituent colleges of the University of Roehampton.

Alton Estate

The Alton Estate is a large council estate situated in Roehampton, southwest London. One of the largest council estates in the UK, it occupies an extensive area of land west of Roehampton village and runs between the Roehampton Lane through-road and Richmond Park Golf Courses.

Mount Clare, Roehampton

Mount Clare is a Grade I listed house built in 1772 in Minstead Gardens, Roehampton, in the London Borough of Wandsworth.

Hugh Colin Smith

Hugh Colin Smith was an English banker who was Governor of the Bank of England from 1897–99.

Humphrey St John-Mildmay

Humphrey St John-Mildmay (1794–1853) was an English merchant banker and politician, a partner with Baring Brothers.

Roehampton House

Roehampton House is a Grade I listed house at Roehampton Lane, Roehampton, London.

Parkstead House

Parkstead House, formerly known as Manresa House and Bessborough House, is a neo-classical Palladian villa in Roehampton, London, built in the 1760s. The house and remaining grounds are now Whitelands College, part of the University of Roehampton. It is situated on Holybourne Avenue, off Roehampton Lane, next to the Richmond Park Golf Course in the London Borough of Wandsworth. In 1955 it was designated Grade I on the National Heritage List for England.

Green Man, Putney

The Green Man is a public house in Putney in the London Borough of Wandsworth, on the edge of Putney Common, parts of which date back to around 1700. The pub was once frequented by highwaymen and was a popular place for participants to fortify themselves before or after a duel on nearby Putney Heath.

Dover House Estate

Dover House Estate is one of a number of important London County Council cottage estates inspired by the Garden city movement. The land was previously the estates of two large houses, Dover House and Putney Park House, which were purchased by the London County Council soon after World War I. Dover House was demolished for the new estate, but Putney Park House remains.

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  10. "The $40 Million Renovation At nearly 240 years old, Templeton House was a fixer-upper of seriously epic, outrageously expensive proportions". Wall Street Journal. 17 April 2019. Retrieved 16 December 2020. its first occupant, in 1786, was Lady Elizabeth Templetown, the wife of an Irish aristocrat and an artist
  11. Login, E. Dalhousie (1970). Lady Login's Recollections: Court Life and Camp Life, 1820-1904 (2nd ed.). Jullundur City: Languages Department, Punjab. p. 117.
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