Langdon Down boathouse to be protected by conservation area

Boathouse: Now protected

Boathouse: Now protected

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A cherished and historical boathouse built by the doctor who discovered Down’s syndrome has been earmarked for protection under a conservation order.

The Velma Boathouse, which sits on the west bank of the Thames between Teddington Lock and Kingston Bridge, is in line to become part of a conservation area and protected.

Richmond Council said the whole river frontage between Kingston Bridge and Broom Road recreation ground is to be part of the Hampton Wick Conservation Area pending final approval.

Plans by developers to alter the site and move the boathouse back from the river drove campaigners to action in November last year.

Campaigner Anumita Sharma said: “It is absolutely brilliant. It is such a beautiful building and is actually in a really beautiful condition.

“I know that English Heritage is planning on listing the building, but we were worried that it might be demolished while the listing takes place.

“There is some really nice work on its roof and a lot of people enjoy it while out on the river and we decided it must be saved.”

The unique two-floor Victorian boathouse was built by Doctor Langdon-Down, who lived in Broom Close, Teddington, and first discovered and developed treatments for Down’s syndrome.

English Heritage will decide if the boathouse should be added to the list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest.

Councillor Tony Arbour, who represents the Hampton Wick ward, said: “We are fortunate to represent a village community which knows how to protect itself.

“It is a pity that Kingston residents have not been so successful, those who live in their riverside skyscrapers have the joy of views over Hampton Wick, but the villagers have to look at Manhattan on Thames.”

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