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This is part of a local history note on Cholmondeley Walk

Until the 1760's Cholmondeley House had been separated from its southern neighbours by Friars Lane, the opposite corner of the lane being occupied by the palace barge house which survived till after 1700 when it was replaced by a row of cottages. At this time the land was owned by John Darrel.

From the evidence of the rate books it seems that these cottages, including a house and shop occupied by Henry Edmead, were pulled down in about 1760 when the line of Friars Lane was changed. Edmead's new house, immediately adjacent to Cholmondeley House, seems to have been a right-angled structure with a plain façade. Sometime between 1765 and 1767, General Fitzwilliam became the occupant of the adjoining house, a much larger one than Edmead's with a double bay.

In 1773, when the rental survey of the manor was compiled, these properties were leased to John and Henry Andrews with the smaller house occupied by Mrs Edmead and the larger one still by General Fitzwilliam. By 1783, the Andrews had sold their lease to Crofton Ross (Edmead's) and Captain Reynolds (Fitzwilliam's). General the Hon. John Fitzwilliam was the brother of the 6th Viscount and uncle of Richard, the 7th Earl and founder of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and whose residence was on the north-west side of Richmond Green. Horace Walpole wrote to the Countess of Upper Ossary on 4th August 1789:

"General Fitzwilliam is dead after a dreadful series of sufferings! He is worth a hundred thousand pounds - five hundred a year he leaves to his nephew the Viscount. Five hundred apiece to Lord Dover, Lord Frederick Cavendish, General Conway and the two Darrels, gentlemen of Richmond, his neighbours: near three hundred a year to his wife's woman, a very meritorious servant. All the rest as residuary legatee to his own gentleman who has no less merit - yet forty-five thousand pounds the lowest computation of the bequest, is a prodigious recompense."

According to George Selwyn, the manservant, Thomas Jones, also inherited a great collection of works of art that he begged Lord Fitzwilliam to take.

The 1780 rate book indicates that Fitzwilliam had vacated the Cholmondeley Walk house by the prefix "late General Fitzwilliam", but this would seem to be misleading as possibly he had surrendered his tenancy briefly and resumed it later. Both houses were acquired by the Duke of Queensberry and in 1833 they formed Lot 1, part of the estate that was put up for sale by the Crown.

The rate books for the next few years are not clear as the listing changed its order, but by 1838 James Piggott is being rated for both properties. A local auctioneer, he was responsible for the redevelopment of a number of properties in Richmond.

Since the 1850s, the residents have included four exceptionally distinguished artists, Philip Connard and Sir William Hutchison at number 1 (Cholmondeley Lodge) and Richard Hilditch and William MacMillan at number 3.

The Hilditch family, silk merchants of Ludgate Hill, are remembered for their paintings and photographs of Richmond. The father, George Hilditch, lived in Twickenham and placed his sons under the tuition of T.C. Hofland, then resident in Twickenham but later moved to Richmond. The eldest son, George (1803 to 1857), was not a resident of Richmond but painted and photographed many local views. The younger son, Richard, worked for the family silk business and also established himself as a noted landscape artist. From 1824 to 1844 he used 13 Ludgate Hill as his address and then from 1849 gave Cholmondeley Cottage. Richard exhibited fifty works at the Royal Society of British artists and forty-four at the Royal Academy.

Between them, the brothers exhibited forty-seven paintings of views of Richmond upon Thames at the Academy. On George's death in 1857, both careers seem to have ended, for although Richard lived for another sixteen years he showed only two works at the Academy after that date.

On Richard's death in 1873, Cholmondeley Cottage came into the possession of George's son , James. On his election as Mayor of Richmond in 1899, the Richmond and Twickenham Times wrote:

"… he is an artist of repute and a very skilled photographer. As a partner in the firm of and Hilditch he was one of the first to carry an overhead telegraph line through London. The firm paid a great deal of attention to light draught boats, invented the steam plough and patented some steam road carriages He left this undertaking in order to carry on, with his brother, their late father’s silk business in Cheapside. In Richmond he has been connected with public life since 1884…"

William McMillan, CVO, RA. 1887-1977 lived at no.3 Cholmondeley Walk from 1848 to 1970. He was an eminent Scottish sculptor who during the 1920s helped to lead sculpture away from marble to other stone and different woods. He is best remembered for his statues of King George VI in Carlton Gardens, London, of Alcock and Brown at Heathrow and of Thomas Coram and Sir Walter Raleigh on the Victoria Embankment. The Times newspaper carried a long obituary of him on 28th September 1977.

Philip Connard, CVO, RA. 1875-1958 was resident at number 1 Cholmondeley Walk from 1932 until his death in 1958. Keeper of the Royal Academy 1945-1949, Connard was born in humble circumstances in Southport, but with the aid of scholarships studied painting in London and Paris before taking up a teaching appointment at the Lambeth School of Art. He was elected ARA in 1918 and RA in 1925. His earlier works were mainly landscapes in oils, but later he turned to decorative art including panels for the liner "Queen Mary" and to watercolour painting. He painted a number of local views, which are now in the ownership of the Borough. His second wife, whom he married in 1933, was Georgina Yorke of Twickenham. She figured in many of his later interior paintings.

Sir William Oliphant Hutchison, PRSA. 1889-1970 lived at number 1 Cholmondeley Walk from 1959 to 1968. He was vice-president of the Royal society of Portrait Painters and President of the Royal Scottish Academy form 1950 to 1959. He was well known both as a landscape and portrait painter and his portraits of the queen hang in the premises of the Edinburgh Merchant Company and Bramshill Police College. Like his predecessor in the house, some of his last works were landscapes of Richmond.

Updated: 10 February 2020

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