London's Arcadia

About

It’s an exciting time for Richmond upon Thames. 122 projects have been identified as part of the Arcadia project that will take 4 years to complete, cost £3.3million and complete a true renaissance of London’s Arcadia to honour the vision of those who saved the famous view from Richmond Hill in 1902 from developers

What does arcadia mean?

The term Arcadia is derived from the Greek Arcadia mountain district in the Peloponnese, and taken to mean an “idyllic pastoral landscape” a symbol of man and nature co-existing in harmony

Creating Arcadia along the thames

During the 18th century, an Arcadia was re-created along the Thames below Richmond Hill. Magnificent Royal and aristocratic palaces were constructed along with gardens and parks and linked by a series of avenues, set within a framework of meadow and woodland.

A Landscape of inspiration

Arcadia is recognised as the cradle of the English Landscape movement and has inspired poets, painters, writers and artists to the present day including James Thomson (poet), Horace Walpole, Daniel Defoe (author), J M Turner (artist), Charles Dickens (author), Benjamin Britten (composer) and the Rolling Stones

The people's landscape

Through the process of purchase with public funds, legislation and access agreements the privileged landscape of the 18th century was opened up for the enjoyment of the public. By the late Victorian age, this stretch of the Thames has become a ‘Playground’ for Londoners. Arcadia had become accessible to all

Indignation and the fight to save the view

A century ago the view from Richmond Hill was threatened by development. Glover’s island, Marble Hill and even Petersham Meadows were potential sites for development as suburbia crept relentlessly up the Thames. Local people felt the view to be so special that they organised a campaign (indignation as it was known then!) to ensure that it was protected. Against all odds the Richmond, Ham and Petersham Open spaces Act of 1902 was enacted and the land on and below Richmond Hill was saved and the view preserved. The public outcry is still seen as one of the earliest and most successful environmental campaigns in history and the view is still the only one in the UK protected by an Act of Parliament.

A true countryside in the city

The Arcadia view sweeps over a stretch of the Thames that offers unrivalled recreational opportunities to escape the hustle and bustle of modern city life. With more listed buildings, conservation areas and historic parks than found in any other comparable location, you will find a true rural paradise only 7 miles from the centre of Europe’s largest metropolis.