Celebrating 40 years of The Petersham
We are delighted this year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Petersham and its family ownership, and what an experience it has been! Rich in history, the hotel has had its fair share of change over the years before eventually being acquired by the Dare family in 1978.
First built around 1650 as a cottage, the building was then reconstructed as a substantial house in the 1770s. The name of ‘Nightingale Cottage’ was given as reference from the nightingales on Richmond Hill, famous for their beautiful singing.
In 1863, Nightingale Cottage (which by then had been renamed Ashburnham Lodge) was acquired by the Richmond Hill Hotel Company and further constructed by British architect John Giles, the style at the time described as ‘florid Italian gothic’. The building was completed in 1865, hence our much-loved tagline ‘The best view in Richmond since 1865’ – in reference to our famous panoramic views from our restaurant across the River Thames and the Petersham Meadows.
Following a change of ownership, in 1877 the hotel was renamed ‘The Mansion’ and then consequently in 1889, there was another small name change to ‘The Mansion Hotel’.
Once the ‘Star & Garter’ on the hill above was replaced as the Royal Star and Garter Home for disabled servicemen in 1922, The Mansion Hotel was consequently renamed New Star and Garter Hotel.
A few years later, the ‘new’ was dropped and the hotel continued as Star and Garter until 1945, when the Bank of England bought it for use as a staff hostel under the new name of ‘Nightingale Hall’. Six years later in 1951, Nightingale Hall was sold and reopened as The Star and Garter Hotel.
The Dare Family
In 1959, Colin Dare married Merla English and the couple settled in Richmond in 1965. In 1968 Colin purchased The Richmond Gate Hotel adjacent to Richmond Park Gates at the top of the hill, only a brief 2-minute stroll away from the then ‘The Star and Garter Hotel’, which became renowned throughout the 70s as a popular meeting spot for Richmond residents.
Finally, in 1978, the hotel was purchased by the Dare family and it was renamed to ‘The Petersham’ that we all know and love.
In 2001, the Dare family supported the acquisition and funding of Elvetham Hall in North Hampshire, now
The Petersham’s renamed sister hotel – The Elvetham. Today, it is still owned and managed by the Dare Family and specialises as a luxury wedding and events venue.
Following Colin Dare’s arrival in Richmond 45 years ago he became very involved in Richmond as an enthusiastic benefactor and local supporter. Amongst many of Richmond’s good causes and initiatives the one closest to his heart were the protection, maintenance and heritage of the common land and the famous belted Galloway cows in the Petersham Meadows below the hotel.
Colin’s son, Greville Dare has been responsible for the ongoing development of The Petersham since 1987. By 1989, Greville had become fully involved with the family business, redeveloping and repositioning both The Petersham and The Elvetham’s two hotel operations in France.
Since 1998, Greville has focused on restructuring the family company and strengthening the operational management team to provide the backbone for further UK expansions alongside a two year £800,000 redevelopment of The Petersham and refurbishment programme, which completed in 2000.
Today, Greville is Director of The Petersham Hotel Limited and Chairman & Director of Richmond & Hampshire Limited (The Elvetham Hotel). Living with his wife Emma and three daughters, Greville resides in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire near to The Elvetham.
Special celebration offers
In celebration of this very special milestone anniversary and the success and growth of the family business over the years, we would like to thank you for all your support with some very special offers to help celebrate with us – as without you, we wouldn’t still be here!
Join us on selected dates in 2018 for our very best rates, as well as a complimentary glass of Champagne.
Join us on selected Sundays in 2018 and stay for just £40 per person.