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Richmond is a suburban town in southwest London, England and part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It is located 8.2 miles (13.2 km) west-southwest of Charing Cross and is one of thirty five major centres identified in the London Plan. The formation and naming of the town is due to the building of Richmond Palace in the 16th century and the development of Richmond as a London suburb began with the opening of the railway station in 1846. The civil parish of Richmond became a municipal borough in 1890 and was enlarged in 1933; it has formed part of Greater London since 1965. Located on a meander of the River Thames, Richmond now forms a significant local commercial centre with a number of parks and open spaces and has a developed retail and night time economy.

The area now known as Richmond was formerly part of Shene until about five centuries ago, but Shene was not listed in the Domesday Book, although it is depicted on the map as Sceon, which was its Saxon spelling in 950AD. Henry I lived briefly in the King's house in Sheanes (or Shene or Sheen). In 1299 Edward I "Hammer of the Scots", took his whole court to the manor-house at Sheen, a little east of the bridge and on the riverside, and it thus became a royal residence. William Wallace ("Braveheart") was executed in London in 1305, and it was in Sheen that the Commissioners from Scotland went down on their knees before Edward.

Edward II did not fare as well as his father. Following his defeat at the hands of the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, he founded a monastery for Carmelites at Sheen. When the boy-king Edward III came to the throne in 1327 he gave the manor to his mother Isabella. Edward then spent over two thousand pounds on improvements. In the middle of the work Edward III himself died at the manor, in 1377. Richard II was the first English king to make Sheen his main residence, which he did in 1383. Twelve years later Richard was so distraught at the death of his wife Anne of Bohemia at the age of 28, that he, according to Holinshed, "caused it [the manor] to be thrown down and defaced; whereas the former kings of this land, being wearie of the citie, used customarily thither to resort as to a place of pleasure, and serving highly to their recreation." It was rebuilt between 1414 & 1422, but destroyed by fire 1497.

Following the fire Henry VII had a palace built there and in 1501 he named it Richmond Palace in recognition of his earldom and the ancestral home of Richmond Castle in Yorkshire. The town that developed nearby took the same name as the palace, and there are unconfirmed beliefs that Shakespeare may have performed some plays there. The image shown above right is dated 1765 and is based on earlier drawings. The palace was no longer in residential use after 1649, but in 1688 James II ordered partial reconstruction of the palace: this time as a royal nursery. The bulk of the palace had decayed by 1779; but surviving structures include the Wardrobe, Trumpeter's House (built aroun 1700), and the Gate House, built in 1501. This has five bedrooms and was made available on a 65 year lease by the Crown Estate Commissioners in 1986.

Richmond forms part of the Richmond Park UK Parliament constituency and the South West London Assembly constituency. For elections to the European Parliament it is part of the London constituency.

Richmond, earlier known as Sheen, was part of the large ancient parish of Kingston upon Thames in the Kingston hundred of Surrey. Split off from Kingston upon Thames from an early time, the parish of Richmond St Mary Magdalene formed the Municipal Borough of Richmond from 1890. The municipal borough was expanded in 1892 by the addition of Kew, Mortlake and Petersham and in 1933 Ham was added to the borough. In 1965 the parish and municipal borough were abolished by the London Government Act 1963 and the area transferred to Greater London, to form part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. This current borough extends from and includes Barnes in the north-east to Hampton Court in the south-west, embracing Richmond, Twickenham and Teddington.

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