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Tuesday 15th November – 41st meeting of 2016

We arrived at Kews Gardens station and went into the adjoining cafe to have coffee and await others in our group who had been delayed. After they arrived and had their coffees we were ready to set off on the walk. It had been wet during the previous 24 hours but was now bright and dry so ideal.

We walked along Kew Gardens Road up to Kew Road where we could see the wall of the Royal Botanic Gardens – walking past the Newens Tea Rooms (they made famous the Maid of Honor Tarts) which were very cosy and old-fashioned but extremely busy.

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We walked past the old village green with its C18th church, pond and cricket path and overlooked by some elegant Georgian houses. These houses were mostly built for the Royal Court courtiers and officials who spent the summer months at Kew in various Royal Palaces, which except for Kew Palace, have been superseded by the Royal Botanic Gardens which were handed to the nation by Queen Victoria in 1841. Kew Palace was bought by George 111 in 1770 and is now a museum.

St. Anne’s church has the graves of two local famous artists: Johann Zoffany (died 1810) and Thomas Ganisborough (died 1788). Nearby is the original entrance of the Botanic Gardens but this has bow been moved further along and we walked past the large black and gilt gates and then on past the Herbarium which houses all the dried specimens of all the world’s plants.

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We went along and then crossed over Kew Bridge admiring the view over the river using the tower of the water works which is now Kew Bridge Steam museum as a marker.

Crossing over the bridge and down the steps we followed the footpath between the river to Strand-on-the-Green.  This was until the Royal Court arrived a small fishing village.

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We passed the City Barge pub which possibly dates  and also the C17th Bull’s Head pub and tiny almshouses built in 1724. These were all very quaint and in very good condition.  What we all noted was how all of the houses and pubs had the Hood Gates in place and the doors and windows protected – unfortunately it is an area that gets flooded with rain and high tides and it is wet underfoot.  Access in places was made difficult by these barriers but very necessary to protect these old buildings.  We then walked along Grove Park Road where more modern houses had been built in the grounds of Grove House which was a C18th mansion and remained there until 1928.  There was a mix of styles in the new houses with some quite large plots – it was interesting to see the different buildings.  Even these nearest to the river had their flood defences up although they had been built away from the river banks.

We walked past the church – St Pauls’s and across Grove Park Bridge and headed for Chiswick Station to catch the train back.  It was a lovely walk and we were lucky it had turned out clear and dry. The walk was half of a longer walk from the London Walks book that one of our ladies has. We have completed and enjoyed many of the walks in this book now. Luckily some of the longer ones can be split so I’m sure we will eventually complete every one!

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