Inventory Site Record

Westerley Ware

Westerley Ware (Richmond)

Brief Description

Westerley Ware is former meadowland that was part of Kew Commonable Lands, whereby since 1824 inhabitants of Kew were granted common rights of pasture. Administration was overseen by a Kew Commonable Rights Committee elected annually by Kew Vestry, the freehold remaining with the Crown. Kew War Memorial Recreation Ground was laid out here after WWI and had tennis courts, netball court, children's playground, lawns and flower gardens. By March 1939 the Committee could no longer afford to maintain it and applied to Richmond Corporation to take over its control and management, which was approved by the Commissioner of Crown lands in September. The name Westerley Ware comes from netting weirs or 'wares' used to catch fish.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Kew Commonable Lands; Kew War Memorial Recreation Ground
Site location:
Waterloo Place, Kew Green
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
Mon - Sat: 7.30am - dusk/Sun & Bank Hols: 9am - dusk
Special conditions:
Playground, tennis courts
Public transport:
Rail: Kew Bridge. Bus: 65, 237, 267, 391.

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

The name comes from netting weirs or wares to catch fish. Small recreation ground/gardens adjacent to Kew Bridge on former meadowland, part of Kew Commonable Lands, which were awarded under the 1824 Enclosure Act whereby inhabitants of Kew were granted common rights of pasture here. The administration of these lands was overseen by the Kew Commonable Rights Committee, a group of trustees elected annually by Kew Vestry, while the freehold remained with the Crown. The Commonable Lands included 25 allotments on Short Lots, as well as just over 4 acres at Westerley Ware. In 1914 Kew United Football Club was refused permission by the Trustees to play here 'because they were desirous of doing something to improve the condition of the Meadow' (Minutes of 10/2/1915). A plan of c.1917 shows a rectangular green space surrounded by trees.

The Kew War Memorial Recreation Ground was laid out after WWI and the Minutes of 21/12/1925 record that the Clerk was instructed to ask Messrs. Hill and Smith to submit designs for a memorial scroll to fix over the gates to the Recreation Ground at a cost not to exceed £25, and these were recorded as having been received in August 1926. By March 1939 the Committee could no longer afford to maintain the ground and rather than close it they passed a resolution to apply to Richmond Corporation to take over control and management of the recreation ground, which by that time had '6 en-tout-cas tennis courts, a tarmaced netball court, children's playground, lawns and flower gardens'. A report by Richmond Parks Superintendent on 24 March 1939 remarked on the ornamental gardens that 'it is obvious that owing to lack of labour this section has been shelved somewhat. The gravel paths are not in a state to encourage people to use these gardens which I think is a pity'. In September 1939 the Commissioner of Crown Lands agreed to assignment of the recreation ground to Richmond Corporation.

Today the small park is hedged on 3 sides with some mature planes on the east with a beech hedge in front of the attractive terrace of Willow Cottages. Kew War Memorial Garden is at foot of Richmond Bridge, with the name over the entrance gates into the garden. It is laid out with grass, trees and shrubs, and surrounded by a hedge. It leads into to the rectangular recreation ground that is in a slight dip and has steps leading up to a seat at the same level as the adjacent Thames Path although there is no access to the riverside path at that point. The park has seating and some recent planting of shrubs and trees along the south and some rose beds near the gate and tennis courts. There has been restoration in the garden undertaken by Westerley Ware Association with funding from the MPGA. The original stone piers are at the corner of Willow Cottages and halfway along towards War Memorial Garden gates.

Sources consulted:

LB Richmond Parks booklet; Local History Archives - minute books and papers of Kew Commonable Lands Committee.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Crown Estate Commissioner (part). Remainder registered under Land Registration Acts 1925 & 1936
Site management:
LB Richmond, Environment Planning & Review, Parks and Open Spaces
early C20th
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Yes: Common (CL68)
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:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Thames Policy Area
Other LA designation:

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