Inventory Site Record

Garrick's Lawn *

Garrick's Lawn * (Richmond)

Brief Description

* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

Garrick's Lawn is one of a number of riverside gardens between Hampton Court Road and the Thames. Actor/manager David Garrick purchased Hampton House in 1754, later called Garrick's Villa. 'Capability' Brown advised him on the layout of the grounds including the narrow river frontage, recommending the linking grotto-like tunnel under the road. Garrick built the octagonal Shakespeare Temple on the riverside lawn, where he entertained friends. During the C19th later owners permitted the grounds to be used for recreational activities, and it survived threat of demolition in 1899. In the C20th the riverside garden became rundown until the local council purchased the land for a public recreation ground. In 1996 The Temple Trust began a scheme to restore the garden and Temple to their C18th appearance, the scheme completed by 1999. The tunnel under the road has been restored and is privately owned and the house is now private flats.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Hampton House; River Thames Gardens
Site location:
Hampton Court Road
TW12 2EN
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Open to public?
Opening times:
gardens: Mon - Sat: 7.30am - dusk/Sun & Bank Hols: 9am - dusk. Temple: April-September, Sundays 2-5pm; plus special visits can be arranged
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: Hampton/Hampton Court then bus. Bus: R68, 111, 216, 416, 726.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/11/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see

Actor/manager David Garrick (1717-1779) purchased Hampton House in 1754 from its then owner Lacey Primatt; Hampton was at the time a small village outside London. The C17th house was altered for Garrick in c.1756 and again in 1775 by Robert Adam, to become ‘the visible symbol of his rise to fame and fortune’ and the grounds adjoined Bushy Park to the north and the Thames to the south. An east wing was added in 1864 and internal alterations were made in the C20th. The orangery, probably by Adam dated 1758, was converted into residential accommodation in 1922. The northern area of the grounds around the house was developed in C20th with additional housing, and the current layout is not as it was in the C18th, having lawns, trees and shrubs.

The house was in Garrick's time, as it is now, separated from the southern riverside part of the grounds. The famous landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, who was a friend of Garrick and lived nearby, advised him on the layout of the grounds including the narrow river frontage, which he recommended be linked by a grotto-like tunnel under the road which divided the house from the river. The irregular planting and gently curving paths followed the 'line of beauty' advocated by William Hogarth, also a friend of Garrick, who had moved to Chiswick. In 1755/6 on this riverside lawn Garrick built an octagonal Shakespeare Temple, where he entertained friends; it may have been modelled on the Temple at Lord Burlington's Chiswick House (q.v.), which Garrick knew well. He commissioned Louis Francois Roubiliac to make a life-size stature of Shakespeare to be placed inside, which was bequeathed to the nation upon Garrick's death in 1779 and is in the British Museum, with a replica now re-instated here. Other Shakespearean memorabilia was installed including the chair carved to Hogarth's design in 1762 from wood of the mulberry tree supposedly planted by Shakespeare himself in his garden at Stratford upon Avon, which had been felled in 1756.

Hampton House was renamed 'Garrick’s Villa' by Mrs Garrick's solicitor Thomas Carr, who bought Hampton House in 1822 after her death, 43 years after that of her husband; both David and Mrs Garrick are buried at Westminster Abbey. Carr lived here until he died in 1839, after which it was bought by a London merchant, Silvanus Phillips, and then by Edward Grove, a successful London restaurateur. After Grove's death in 1875 his widow lived here until it was purchased by the London United Tramway Company at the end of the century. During the C19th the owners permitted the grounds to be used for various recreational activities, including the first Flower Show of the Hampton and New Hampton Horticultural and Cottage Garden Society in July 1881; tennis courts in the grounds were used by the exclusive Garrick Lawn Tennis Club, founded in 1883. Regattas were held between Hampton and Molesey, including the Hampton Watermen's Regatta first held in 1835, and the Molesey Regatta, and spectators watched from in front of the Villa beside Garrick's Temple.

When the Villa changed hands in 1899 it was threatened with demolition as it was purchased along with other properties to enable the widening of the road for the London United Tramway Company's tracks. Fortunately, the house was spared because the General Manager of the Company, Sir Clifton Robinson, liked the house and instead of demolishing it, had a siding made in the wall to take his private tram.

In the C20th the riverside garden became run down, and partially built over but the local council purchased the land and converted the lawn into a public recreation ground. In 1996 The Temple Trust began a scheme to restore this garden site to its C18th appearance following original drawings, nursery lists and contemporary paintings and to restore the Temple. This was completed by 1999, costing £133,000 and funded in part by a Heritage Lottery Grant and numerous donations from individuals and organisations. The gardens are open to the public, with serpentine path favoured by designers of the day and most of the trees, shrubs and flowers chosen to reflect those that would have been present in Garrick's time. These are a mixture of native species (viburnum, holly and primrose), old garden species (roses, philadelphus, lilac and lavender) and plants collected from overseas particularly America (rhus, Virginia creeper). The inauguration of the landscape restoration took place on 12 May 1998 when the Mayor of Richmond planted a mulberry tree. The Temple houses an exhibition on the life of Garrick and is open to the public on certain days. The tunnel under the road has been restored and is privately owned and the house is now private flats.

Sources consulted:

EH Register listing: Country Life, 9/12/1922 p792, 27/7/1961 p201; J Harris, 'The Artist and the Country House' 1979 p280; D Stroud 'Capability Brown' 1975 p81-2; M Symes 'David Garrick and Landscape Gardening' in Journal of Garden History, 1986 VI 1 p34-39; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999. Helen Smith 'The Story of Garrick and his life at Hampton', 1998 (The Temple Trust); LB Richmond leaflet 'Garrick's Temple and Lawn'; G D Heath 'Hampton in the Nineteenth Century', 1973 (Twickenham Local History Society); Susannah Fleming ‘David Garrick;His Garden at Hampton and the ‘Cult of Shakespeare’ in The London Gardener, volume 8, 2002-03, pp.51-71.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ141694 (514195,169419)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Richmond, Environment Planning & Review, Parks and Open Spaces
Site management:
Garrick's Temple to Shakespeare Partnership Project (LB Richmond, The Temple Trust, Thames Landscape Strategy, Hampton Riverside Trust)
Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown
Listed structures:
LBI: Hampton House (Garrick's Villa). LBII: Orangery, Garrick's Temple, tunnel
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

NHLE grade:
Grade II
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:
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Thames Policy Area
Other LA designation:

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