Then and now - Richmond riverside

Tower House 1970

Tower House last year

First published in News by

A very shabby and derelict looking Tower House viewed from the riverfront with steps leading up to Richmond bridge behind.

Garth Groombridge’s photograph was taken in about August 1970 for his 2008 book, The Changing Face of Richmond, Petersham & Ham.

Part of what was still the Palm Court Hotel in the 1960s and which dated from the 1850s, can be seen to the left of the picture. Almost all of the old riverfront from Tower House to the Castle Ballroom was swept away and redeveloped between 1984 and 1988.

Although Tower House was still residential in the 20th century, by the 1930s it had become Nuthall’s Restaurant.

Garth was told that the cashier’s kiosk was situated by the entrance which was located in the base of the tower, at the top of the steps leading down from the bridge to the river front, while the then owner of Nuthall’s had his flat on the upper floors of the tower.

Although some renovation to Tower House was undertaken in 1971, it was after almost another 15 years of neglect, decay and indecision that the Richmond riverfront was finally reconstructed by the architectural classicist Quinlan Terry in a mix of 17th to 19th century predominantly neo-classical styles that incorporated the two listed buildings.

Tower House is again a pub/restaurant, the Pitcher & Piano. The rebuilt Palm Court is narrower but the facade remains.

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