The Wick on Richmond Hill
|Location||Richmond upon Thames, London, England|
|Structural system||Brick and stone|
|Design and construction|
|Awards and prizes||Listed as Grade I by English Heritage|
The Wick is a house in Richmond, Greater London, located at the corner of Nightingale Lane and Richmond Hill in Surrey. The house was at one time owned by actor Sir John Mills who used it as his family home for many years. Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones bought the house from Mills in June 1971. The house is currently owned by Pete Townshend, principal songwriter and musician of The Who.
The Georgian-style house, built of plum brick and stone, overlooks the River Thames and is near Richmond Park, the largest urban park in the United Kingdom. It was designed by architect Robert Mylne in 1775 on the site of the Bull's Head Tavern for Lady St. Aubyn, and includes oval dining and drawing rooms, three storeys and a basement with modillion cornice and balustrading above. The porch is built with entablature and Tower of the Winds piers with a fanlight above, and a line of medallions embellishes the front of the house. It faces Richmond Hill and features a garden wall that borders Nightingale Lane, with a coach house in the garden. The back of the house features bow windows that overlook the river.
Richmond Hill was part of the Royal Manor of Richmond since Domesday. Richmond Park was enclosed by King Charles I around 1635. The countryside was mostly agricultural land in the early 18th century, but Terrace Walk was laid out at the top of Richmond Hill in the later 18th century, followed by construction of a number of fine homes including The Wick on the hill.
The sound of the wind around the house reportedly inspired Mary Hayley Bell, actress, writer and wife of Sir John Mills, to write the novel Whistle Down The Wind which was made into both a film and an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
The guitarist of the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards, reportedly lived in the coach house for several months during 1973-1974 when Ronnie Wood owned the home. When Wood first bought the house, his fellow Faces bandmate Ronnie Lane lived there right up until his departure from that group in June 1973. Wood recorded his first two solo albums, I've Got My Own Album to Do and Now Look, released in 1974 and 1975, respectively, in a studio he built in the basement of the house. The Rolling Stones song, "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)," also released in 1974, was written at the house, emerging out of a jam between Ronnie Wood, David Bowie, and Mick Jagger, who, along with Keith Richards, appeared on Wood's album. Pete Townshend bought the house in 1996. Writer and musician Nikki Sudden was working on a history of The Wick, until he died suddenly in 2006.