The Borough of Richmond upon Thames on the west side of London is the only borough to span both sides of the river. It also shares its borders with the boroughs of Kingston, Wandsworth and Hounslow. The borough was formed in 1965 with the merger of the former Middlesex borough of Twickenham and the former Surrey boroughs of Richmond Upon Thames and Barnes.

Population change:

1966 180,000 people
1998 183,800 people

Richmond has been a residential suburb of London since the 17th century. Its development owes much to the existence of royal palaces in the district. Wealthy merchants and aristocrats built fashionable villas and country houses nearby. Richmond's historic buildings include Marble Hill House, Strawberry Hill and Orleans House. The royal connection also left a legacy of green spaces. Richmond Park covers an area of 2,358 acres and is ten miles in circumference. King Charles I enclosed the park in 1637. The grounds of Kew Palace now form the Royal Botanic Gardens.

An important 20th-century building is Bushy House, which since 1900 has been the home of the National Physical Laboratory. The laboratory was the first in Britain to be government funded, and much important research has taken place here. Some of the most important work took place during the Second World War. Barnes Wallis (the inventor of the Dambusters Bomb) worked here and developments were also made on the Mulberry Floating Harbour used in the D-Day landings.

The borough has a strong sporting history. Twickenham is the home of English Rugby Union. Twickenham stadium is Britain's largest sporting venue and has a capacity of 75,000. The land for the stadium was bought in 1907 and building began immediately. Since it had previously been used to grow cabbages, the stadium is often referred to as the 'Cabbage patch'.

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