Latchmere House

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Latchmere House
A smartly railed, pale-painted house, with very tall grasses on the main communal garden meadow in front (to south and east), with projecting curved bay and two half-hexagonal bays, and large traditional windows, with a stock-brick three-storey terrace with sash windows and a gable-end fronted house.
The house, with some of the new homes, forming Barrons Chase, alongside
General information
Status(Conversion) apartments; and new homes in most of former grounds
Architectural styleVictorian
AddressChurch Road, Ham Common, Ham, Richmond, TW10 5HH
Town or cityHam, London
Coordinates51°25′43″N 0°17′46″W / 51.4287°N 0.2960°W / 51.4287; -0.2960Coordinates: 51°25′43″N 0°17′46″W / 51.4287°N 0.2960°W / 51.4287; -0.2960
Elevation27 feet (8.2 m)
ClientIndividual buyers
LandlordFlat owner-shared freehold company; many homes sold as freehold
ArchitecturalGeorgian, English farmhouse-inspired and original, lightly crenulated Gothic Revival architecture
RoofSlate or flat
Technical details
Floor count3
Design and construction
Main contractorBerkeley Homes
DesignationsBuilding of Townscape Merit
HMP Latchmere House
Security classMale Cat. D
ClosedSeptember 2011

Latchmere House is a building and grounds south-east of Ham Common in Ham, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, in south west London, England. The southern part of the site lies in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

Originally built during the Victorian era as a private dwelling, the large house was later acquired by the War Office and had various uses until after World War II, when it was transferred to Her Majesty's Prison Service; it served as a detention centre and prison until it was closed in September 2011. In 2013 the site was sold to Berkeley Homes who have converted the house into seven apartments and built further homes in the grounds.


Built in the mid-19th century by Joshua Field, a British civil and mechanical engineer, as a large, ornate country house with large grounds. During the First World War (1914–1918) the estate was used by the War Office as a hospital for treating officers suffering from "shell shock".[2]

During the Second World War it was a detention and interrogation centre (known as Camp 020) for enemy agents captured by MI5. Many members of the British Union of Fascists (BUF) were held here during this period. They included the environmental pioneer Jorian Jenks. During August and September 1940 the local leaders – held without trial – were interrogated by military intelligence, including solitary confinement, mock executions, food deprivation and psychological torture. This ended when BUF leader Sir Oswald Mosley launched legal proceedings.[3]

Britain sometimes used unusual methods of obtaining information from German prisoners of war. Across the estate 30 rooms were small cells with hidden microphones.[4]

Latchmere House Prison

Latchmere House was transferred to Her Majesty's Prison Service in 1948. It was used as a Young Offenders Institution (Ian Brady was detained there in the 1950s), remand centre, and finally a deportees' detention centre before becoming a Category D men's re-settlement prison in 1992.

In December 2003 Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons praised this for its rehabilitation centre, employment opportunities for inmates, and the good relationships between staff and prisoners, but found that the prison could have done more to prepare prisoners for release.[1] By the next summer the average prisoner spent 57.6 hours per week in Purposeful Activity, which made the prison "best in the country at providing useful work for its inmates."[5] The prison also did well in diversity and in education, with less success in resettlement and drug use. All prisoners could find jobs nearby, with a return curfew of 11pm or earlier according to the type of employment.

In September 2011 the Ministry of Justice closed the prison on economic grounds.[6]

Post-2013 redevelopment

Latchmere House was sold to Berkeley Homes in 2013. The land adjoins Ham Common, and was considered prime real estate.[7]

While English Heritage refused Richmond Borough Council's application for the main Victorian wing to be listed (statutorily recognised and protected for architecture or heritage),[8][9] the planning authority has designated the house as a Building of Townscape Merit. Both Richmond and Kingston councils published a planning brief for the site, and conversion began in 2014. The house and its surrounds are in the Ham Common Conservation Area, and the planning brief sought to retain the house and related outbuildings and enhance the setting.[10]

Permission was granted in July 2015 to redevelop the site by demolishing cellblocks and build 73 new homes, including 13 affordable ones,[11][12] with a new road named Barrons Chase. All homes had been sold by late 2020.[13]


  1. ^ a b Adlam, James (12 December 2003). "Report reveals the good and the bad at Latchmere prison". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  2. ^ Rankin, Nicholas (2009). Churchill's Wizards: The British Genius for Deception, 1914–1945. Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0571221967.
  3. ^ Thurlow, Richard (1998). Fascism in Britain. A History: 1918-1945. I.B Tauris. ISBN 1-86064-337-X.
  4. ^ Cobain, Ian (2012). Cruel Britannia. Portobello Books.
  5. ^ "Prison keeps inmates occupied". Richmond and Twickenham Times. 13 August 2004. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Two prisons to shut in efficiency bid, MoJ says". BBC News. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  7. ^ Warrell, Helen (27 October 2011). "UK prison numbers to hit new high". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  8. ^ Fleming, Christine (3 September 2011). "Latchmere House prison 'should be a listed building'". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  9. ^ "HM Resettlement Prison, Latchmere House, Church Road, Ham, Richmond". Historic England.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "Latchmere House Community Meeting: Frequently Asked Questions, 17 October 2012" (PDF). Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames. Retrieved 26 January 2013.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Proto, Laura (4 November 2014). "Halloween tour of Latchmere Prison reveals soon-to-be-gone secrets". Surrey Comet. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Home – Latchmere House". Berkeley Homes. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Richmond Chase". Berkeley Homes. Archived from the original on 17 March 2021. Retrieved 5 December 2015.

Further reading

External links

Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - Latchmere House