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Victorian villas in Putney

Written by previous Chestertons historian, Melanie Backe-Hansen

I have recently been researching a number of homes in the London suburb of Putney and thought these would be ideal to blog about. Some may think that a relatively small community within inner London wouldn’t have much history…but Putney is a prime example of a seemingly ‘ordinary’ area that is bursting with history!

I have researched a number of houses in the area, but I’m going to focus firstly on a home on Upper Richmond Road, known locally as a ‘captains house’ along with its nearby neighbours, all built around the same time in the 1860s.

A Nelson house

Upper Richmond Road - a Nelson House

However, despite being known as a ‘captains house’ I discovered that this was another case of history corrupting over time, as the houses were in fact first known as ‘Nelson houses’. The reason for the name was attributed to the former landowner who developed the land, who married Francis Bolton, daughter of Thomas Nelson, 2nd Earl Nelson and also great neice of Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson.

Check out – The history of No.340 Upper Richmond Road, a Nelson house

The second of my Putney homes is actually closer to Roehampton, on Alton Road. It was built in the late 1860s on the former grounds of Parkstead (later known as ‘Manresa’). From very early in its history, the house became a lodging house known as ‘Petronilla Villa’.

Alton Road

Alton Road - Roehampton

This house on Alton Road later became known as ‘The Briars’ and was the home of a Frederick Rose, an highly commended engineer who worked in India and China. During the 1930s the house was also home to Charles Durst, an award winning meteorologist who was particularly noted for his work in aviation and navigation.

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