As a lifelong resident of Richmond I have been surrounded by the remnants of a lost palace, hidden in almost plain sight, but like most others never given it more than a passing thought.
Since starting work at The National Archive ten weeks ago I have found myself drawn to the history of Richmond Palace and its importance over the last 900 years: where did this palace go and what happened there?
My aim in this blog is to follow Richmond Palace from its creation to its eventual destruction, and its modern resurrection, using the resources and veritable treasure trove of documents that chart its turbulent history. I’m attempting to help bring this palace back into the forethought of the public memory, in the hope others will look into this fascinating building.
Utilising the archive’s extensive materials and records on crown lands and property to follow the palace throughout the years allowed me to build an understanding that shows more then a simple history book version of the palace. It became not simply a building, but a hub of activity and often contentious action that helps to show the last 900 years in a very personal way.
The records held in the archive provide anecdotes and notes which humanise history in a way that cannot help but to make you laugh and connect with the past in a closer way. It is a reassuring thought that though the years may separate us we are not so different from our venerable (or not so) ancestors.
There are three things that will strike you about Richmond palace should you choose to look at its varied history – and believe me, it is well worth it to do so. Continue reading »