St John the Divine, Richmond, Surrey, by Lewis Vulliamy

St John the Divine, Richmond, Surrey, by Lewis Vulliamy. Drawing by Thomas Allom. Engraving. Publishers: Rook & Co. London, 21 January 1862.

Richmond-Upon-Thames, a fashionable town famed for its "pleasant riverside setting" and historic royal associations, expanded rapidly during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The arrival of steam in 1816 made the area much more accessible, and the number of new residents steadily rose (Cloake, Richmond Past, 69). By the 1820s, the original Parish church situated in the heart of the town, the historic St. Mary Magdalene, was hard-pressed to accommodate an ever-growing congregation (Cloake, "Richmond Parish Church"). This was eventually recognised by the Vestry as necessitating the building of a new chapel. Eminent local resident and landowner, William Selwyn Q.C. (1775-1855), generously offered a site from his sizeable estate for the proposed new church. The design was formally underway by 1831, and the new chapel became a reality as the Church of St. John the Divine (Cloake, Richmond Past, 92). In 1838, this became the Parish Church due to the town's new status as a separate parish (Velluet 3). This new chapel, although certainly relieving the pressure on the historic St. Mary Magdalene, did not prove a lasting solution. [See "St.Matthias' Church and the Medievalism of Sir George Gilbert Scott".]

Source of image: Local Studies Library collection, Richmond). Scan and text by Ingrid Brown. Formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image, and (2) link your document to this URL or cite the Victorian Web in a print document.


Cloake, J. "Richmond Parish Church: Richmond Retrospect." Richmond and Twickenham Times. 7 August 1987.

_____. Richmond Past. A Visual History of Richmond, Kew, Petersham and Ham. Historical Productions Ltd, 1991.

Velluet, P. RIBA, IHBC. St Matthias’ Church, Richmond. A Guide and History. The Friends of St. Matthias, 2008.

Last modified 24 July 2012