It’s official: Richmond’s the best place on earth. Well, according to the newspapers that spent the past week reporting David Attenborough saying so in last week’s Time Out, that is. So we thought we’d do some digging on this wondrous borough. Here are ten facts you didn’t know about Richmond.
1. Living there is ridiculously good for you
According to a 2009 survey by the Communities and Local Government department, 92.4 percent of residents were chuffed to live in Richmond, making it the UK’s happiest borough. Plus, a couple of weeks ago the Office of National Statistics declared its residents the longest UK living citizens (70.3 years for men and 72.1 years for women). Although we wonder if it has any link to the fact that…
2. Most Richmond residents are porn fiends
In the sex survey of more than 10,000 Londoners we conducted in February, more than 85 percent of Richmondtonians (go with it: we’re hoping it’ll catch on) admitted to streaming gigabytes of grot.
3. There’s a secret ballet museum
The borough’s grubby hard-drives aren’t the only repositories for malnourished ladies contorting themselves into unspeakable positions. White Lodge in Richmond Park is home to The Royal Ballet School. Inside, a tiny museum contains ballet costumes of the great and the good, and is only accessible if you ask permission.
4. Its poohy aroma ruined Brangelina’s Jubilee Weekend
Brad and Angelina were forced to move out of their £10-million Richmond house after it was choked by stinky blocked drains during Her Maj’s 2012 celebrations. Odd. They made ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’. You’d think they’d be used to stinkers.
5. Richmond sausages aren’t from Richmond
They’re actually manufactured by Kerry Foods: an Irish company. Given that Which? recently outed them as containing the same amount of meat as Sainsbury’s Basics bangers despite costing £1.60 more, this is probably to the area’s credit.
6. Jimi Hendrix filled the borough with copulating parakeets
Since the ’90s, Twickenham has become inexplicably over-run with bright-green, tropical parakeets. The most notorious theory for this phenomenon? They came from a single pair that Jimi Hendrix released in a fit of psychedelic pique.
7. Richmond may have killed Virginia Woolf
Well, according to acclaimed film ‘The Hours’, at least. Modernist writer Woolf really did retreat to the borough, due to her husband thinking it might improve her mental health, but as far as we’re aware, it’s only Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of the novelist that’s actually laid the blame at Richmond’s door. ‘If it is a choice between Richmond and death, I choose death.’
8. You can hear Phil Collins sailing through the air at night
Well, that may not be strictly true, but everyone’s favourite tub-thumping slap-head is president of the local yacht club. In fact, it was hear that he started out playing drums – every weekend in a family band when he was a wee lad. Alas, ‘Another Day in Paradise’ isn’t about Richmond.
9. Even the pets are famous
Being the rather spiffing place that it is, Richmond is and always has been home to a great swathe of society’s best, brightest and most photogenic. And the star status even extends to their furry friends. We are, of course, referring to Fenton, the bad boy labrador which became the Psy of the animal world in 2011 when a video of him charging after deer in Richmond Park went viral.
10. It’s got a killer view
From King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park you can enjoy a protected view of St Paul’s Cathedral, more than 10miles away in the heart of the City. After reading this, you’ll also be able to enjoy knowing that the view is protected because of a grisly execution: it was from here that Henry VIII watched for a sign from St Paul’s that Anne Boleyn had been beheaded, making him free to marry Jane Seymour. Alexi Duggins
Find fun stuff to do in Richmond.