Latest News

New Statue Proposed for Richmond Riverside

A mock up of the proposed statue of Woolf seated on a bench.
The seated lady in Konstanz.

June 2021.   Almost £38,000 has been raised for a statue of the famous author, Virginia Woolf to be installed in a prestigious location on Richmond riverside. Woolf lived in Richmond from 1914-24, during which time she founded the Hogarth Press. It is hoped that the proposed interactive statue of Woolf, seated on a bench, will cement Richmond’s place on the British literary map.

Comparisons have already been drawn with the seated lady on the balcony of the art nouveau apartments overlooking the Bodensee in Konstanz.

For further information please click on the following link:

Virginia Woolf statue

Brentford Promoted to the Premier League

29th May 2021. Richmond’s local football club, which is called “Brentford” was promoted to the Premier League after defeating Swansea 2-0 at Wembley. Brentford’s brand new home stadium is about 100 metres from the Richmond border.

For a full report please click on the following link.

Europe Day 2021

L-R. The mayor of Richmond, Geoff Acton, Clare Head, Bernd Steinlechner, Nicki Urquhart & Alan Mockford
L-R. Mayor’s consort, Eileen McManus, Paul Douglas, the mayor, Clare Head, Alan Mockford, Nicki Urquhart & Bernd Steinlechner.

9th May 2021. The mayor of Richmond, councillor Geoff Acton, officially unveiled one of the 7 new, cast iron town twinning signs in Mill Hill Road, Barnes to celebrate Europe Day, which marks this year the 71st anniversary of the Schuman declaration, which ended centuries of conflict in Europe & provided the foundation of what was to become the European Union.

This brings the total number of town twinning signs to 22. The mayor was joined for the ceremony, under Covid 19 restrictions, by REA chairman, Alan Mockford, former chairman, Bernd Steinlechner, vice chairman, Clare Head & Nicki Urquhart of the Barnes Community Association. Clare & Nicki are both also former mayors of Richmond.

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony filled the air & interested passers-by were provided with information about the twinnings.

The other new signs have been installed in Queens Ride, Barnes, London Road, Twickenham, Rugby Road & Hounslow Road in Whitton, Oak Avenue & Lower Sunbury Road in Hampton.

Richmond has been twinned with Fontainebleau since 1977, Richmond Virginia since 1980 & Konstanz since 1983.

A new fingerpost sign, pointing to Richmond’s twin towns & indicating their respective distances, has been commissioned by REA & will be installed outside the civic centre later this year.

The naked ladies cascade.

26th April 2021. The naked ladies cascade in the gardens of York House, Twickenham, has been restored to working order & looks absolutely delightful. It’s well worth a visit if you are in the area & a welcome addition to the attractions of the town hall, especially when we entertain our friends from Fontainebleau & Konstanz.

For more information about the statues, their refurbishment & the York House Society please click on the following link:

York House Society

A True European

Prince Philip at Gordonstoun

9th April 2021.  Prince Philip of Greece died at  Windsor Castle at the age of 99.

Of English, Danish & German descent Prince Philip was born on the island of Corfu in 1921. His family fled from Greece to Paris when he was a baby. Prince Philip subsequently was sent to the Schule Schloss Salem, which is near Konstanz in Germany. When the Nazis came to power in 1933 the Jewish head of the school, Kurt Hahn, fled to Scotland where he founded Gordonstoun School. Prince Philip followed him.

Philip subsequently joined the Royal Navy & served with distinction during the Second World War. In 1947, prior to his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, Philip adopted his maternal grandparents’ family name of Battenberg, which had been anglicised to Mountbatten & he became a British citizen. The King created his son-in-law Duke of Edinburgh.

Die Schule Schloss Salem. Konstanz lies on the other side of the lake & the Alps can be seen in the distance.

REA launches its own YouTube channel

2nd April 2021.  REA launched its own YouTube channel. The first films to be posted were the recent lectures by David King, of the Alliance française, on Napoleon III in England & the Twickenham connections of the family of Louis Philippe I.

Napoleon III

To access the channel please click on the following link:

REA YouTube Channel

Konstanz Close, East Sheen

The entrance to Konstanz Close

March 2021.  A new road in Richmond has been named after our twin town of Konstanz. The properties in Konstanz Close are “eco-houses,” which are especially designed to have the smallest possible carbon footprint. In Germany they are called Passivhäuser. Given its green credentials Konstanz seems a most appropriate name.

River Thames Freezes

Birds walking on the River Thames by Teddington lock

12th February 2021. The River Thames at Teddington froze for the first time in almost 60 years.

58th Anniversary of the Élysée Treaty

Charles de Gaulle & Konrad Adenauer signed the treaty in the Élysée Palace on 22nd January 1963

22nd January 2021. The mayors of Fontainebleau & Konstanz exchanged online greetings on the 58th anniversary of the signing of the Élysée Treaty, which was a treaty of friendship & reconciliation between France & West Germany after a century of conflict. The treaty also called upon the two countries to pursue close co-operation with the USA & for Britain’s eventual admission to the Common Market. Britain subsequently joined what was to become the EU in 1973. Please click on the following link to see the mayors.

Messages from the mayors of Fontainebleau & Konstanz

Ho Narro Dehom!

Bernd proudly wearing his bronze award

The traditional greeting in Konstanz during Fasnacht is “Ho Narro” (Hallo Fool), but this year it is “Ho Narro dehom” (Hallo Fool at Home).

Former REA chairman, Bernd Steinlechner, adores Fasnacht & has been a member of the Blätzlebuebezunft for 20 years, in recognition of which he has just received this bronze award.

Das Schnetztor

The Zunft has 1500 members & has its headquarters in the atmospheric Schnetztor which has guarded the town for 700 years. The town council had proposed to demolish it when it became dilapidated, but the Blätzlebuebezunft offered to restore it at their own expense if they could use it, so it survives.



 A New Patron for REA

geoff acton
Geoff with his consort, Eileen McManus, in the garden of York House.

Geoff Acton, the new mayor of Richmond, has accepted an invitation to become one of the three patrons of REA, along with Frédéric Valletoux, the mayor of Fontainebleau & Uli Burchardt, the Oberbürgermeister of Konstanz. Geoff has been a member of REA for over 12 years. He has already been to Konstanz for Fasnacht in 2009 & has spent holidays in Fontainebleau.  

Geoff says he supports twinning because, “It promotes connection with European neighbours & provides many cultural, sport, art & business opportunities as well as friendship & goodwill.”

The charities which the mayor will be supporting during his year of office are the South West London Environment Network & A Dose of Nature, both of which seem particularly appropriate given the environmental theme for the reaffirmation of the partnerships with Fontainebleau & Konstanz, which is due to take place in Richmond next year.

For further information please click on the following links.

South West London Environment Network website

A Dose of Nature website

Konstanz aus der Vogelperspektive

Konstanz_Hoernle © Achim Mende_7335
Konstanz from above. The old town lies to the left of the Rhine. The university overlooks the garden island of Mainau on the right. The island of Reichenau can be seen in the background.  Photo: Achim Mende

Our chairman came across this stunning bird’s eye view of Konstanz during his recent visit. Permission was sought from the photographer, Achim Mende, to use the photograph on the two new information boards which are being installed in Richmond to celebrate the reaffirmation. 

A Royal Visit to York House

duke & Duchess of York
The Duke & Duchess of York with their daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth II, in 1926.

REA committee member, Anthony Bailey, recently drew our attention to archive footage of the Queen’s parents, the future King George VI & Queen Elizabeth, visiting the town hall in Twickenham in 1926. They are accompanied by King Manuel II of Portugal who was living in exile in Twickenham.

A one minute film of the visit.

For more information about King Manuel’s links with Twickenham and The Portuguese Appeal, a new local charity fostering Richmond’s ties with Portugal, please click on the following link.

King Manuel