Richmond Athanaeum

Scope and Content

The Richmond Athaeneum Collection consists of thirteen volumes and twelve folders, which contain a variety of different records such as letters, financial documents (cheques, receipts, payments), programmes of the organisation, or books about lectures.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Richmond Athenaeum was formed in 1881 for the study, consideration and discussion of scientific matters, religion, political issues, and economy, art and social life. Mr. Edward King, first editor and owner of the Richmond and Twickenham Times, was its first president and who organised the first meeting which was held in the Masonic Hall of the Greyhound Hotel on Tuesday 1st November. The idea of creating a high class debating club was agreed by some residents of Richmond, and it was decided that members should have intellectual merit and respectable behaviour. Although the original scheme was the reading of a lecture on a subject by a famous person in the field of that topic and often accompanied with a magic lantern, an early type of image projector, followed by a debate. However, the debate aspect soon diminished. During the early and last years, the Athenaeum carried outspring and summer, the Athenaeum carried out excursions to interesting places, many of them belonging to The National Trust. However, due to internal problems, this activity was only done during the first and the last years. As well as these activities, the organisation had weekly and annual meetings in order to discuss different issues, accept new members or organise events. Although the society kept its routine during the First World War, it was impossible with the Second Wold War. It ceased its activities at the beginning of the war, and the society was wound up on 9th of May of 1951 by the last members and the solicitor Calvert Smith who organised the last meeting and took charge of carrying out the last agreements made during this meeting.


The Richmond Athaeneum Collection is arranged in five series:

  • DC11/1 Minute books, 1881-1951
  • DC11/2 Records of members, 1893-1938
  • DC11/3 Letters, 1884-c1942
  • DC11/4 Programmes, 1882-1932
  • DC11/5 Financial records, 1905-1951

Access Information

This collection is open for access and can be viewed at Richmond upon Thames Local Studies Library and Archive.
The opening times and address for Richmond upon Thames Local Studies Library and Archive can be found online at:
If you would like further information about accessing this collection or have any other queries, please contact Richmond upon Thames Local Studies Library and Archive through any of the contact methods listed at:

Other Finding Aids

A more detailed catalogue of this collection can be found online at

Personal Names