Inventory Site Record

Thames Path (Kingston) (Kingston)

Brief Description

The origins of the Thames Path date from the 1750s onwards as the riverside towpath established by the Thames Commissioners when the Thames was an important trade route to London. In the C20th leisure use replaced trade and much of the old towpath is now the Thames Path, a national trail that opened in 1996 following the river from its source in the Cotswolds to the Thames Barrier. It represents important open space in the boroughs through which it passes.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Point Pleasant; Mount Pleasant; Bank Farm; Bank Grove
Site location:
Lower Ham Road/Albany Park Road/Richmond Road
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Open Land
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: Kingston then bus. Bus: 65
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.kingston.gov.uk/browse/environment/parks/recreation_sites

Full Site Description

On the stretch of the Thames Path north of Canbury Gardens (q.v.), the path is bounded by remnants of C18th/C19th walls and landscaping. This was the site of a mansion built in 1797 for Major General Henry St John, son of the 2nd Viscount St John and MP for Wootton Bassett. The house was built by John Nash with landscaped grounds by Humphry Repton and had a river frontage of more than 0.25 miles. It was called by a number of names including Point Pleasant, Mount Pleasant, Bank Farm and Bank Grove. In 1821 the owner was Sir John Delves Broughton, 7th baronet, and a flamboyant character, after whose death in 1847 the property was purchased by William Byam Martin. Martin developed the grounds with walks, rose gardens, a peach house, vineries and a temple overlooking the river and a renowned collection of exotic plants. After his death in 1870 the estate was sold to Charles (later Sir Charles) Freake and he and his wife entertained lavishly, their guests including members of the royal family. In their time the grounds extended to 16 acres and were celebrated for their landscaping, which included an American garden and ornamental temple, and rare plants.

When Sir Charles died in 1884 the estate was divided and sold for building, the house and two acres were used from 1890 as an exclusive club, the Albany Club, but this burnt down in 1907. Although the estate is now built over with Albany Park Road, Grosvenor Gardens and Richmond Road, remnants of the boundary wall survive along the Thames Path and a number of fine cedars are visible. The old entrance lodge and gates had been on the corner of Albany Park Road and later became University Motors.

To the north the Thames Path reaches the Half Mile Elm, the site of a 500 year-old elm that was removed in 1951 as it was dangerous and a new tree planted.

Sources consulted:

T Sampson 'All Change'

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ179706 (517869,170682)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
RB Kingston
Site management:
Grounds maintenance contractor: Quadron Services Ltd
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Metropolitan Importance (riverside)
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Thames Policy Area
Other LA designation:
Strategic Area of Special Character

Thames Path (Kingston)

Thames Path, near site of Bank Grove, June 2002. Photograph Sally Williams

Site of The Half Mile Tree, Thames Path, June 2002. Photograph Sally Williams

Click a photo to enlarge.

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.