The Elms St Margarets

The first indication of a villa on the site of the present building named The Elms is shown on Samuel Leigh’s 1829 panorama of the River Thames.

The artist sketched this view from mid river at the time Twickenham Park Mansion was being built for Joseph Todd.

This 1829 view appears to show the western half of Todd’s Mansion, with another building to its immediate right. This other building has various similarities to The Elms but is one storey lower.

On left Leigh’s 1829 panorama of the Thames – On right The Elms present day.

The sight line on the map above shows that from a viewpoint mid Thames the two buildings would appear side by side although in reality they were several hundred yards apart.
The aerial photo shows the same view of the two buildlngs just before demolition of the mansion in 1929.

We can find no trace of The Elms being recorded on any official census between 1841 and 1871 which is odd if this is the basis of the building in Leigh’s 1829 sketch.

It is possible that this smaller version of The Elms was an integral part of the mansion estate and was used as accommodation for the domestic staff.

1878 extension to The Elms

A new owner extended the property by adding an extra floor.

The date 1878 with the initials RRS are present on upper levels of the property. (see photo below).

The RRS refers to Robert Reeves Storks a retired wealthy surgeon from London. He had inherited his father’s estate in 1867 (see below).

Robert Reeves Storks married Josefa Tomasa Alba in 1869 in London and they appear to have returned to Paris where Storks had lived prior to the marriage. Kellys 1878 directory for Middlesex lists him living at The Elms Twickenham Park which is an incorrect address as he was living at The Elms St Margarets.

The date 1878 however is correct as this is the date shown on the extention to the house which Storks presumably organised upon buying the property.

Robert Reeves Storks is listed with his Spanish wife Josefa on the 1881 census at The Elms. Also listed in the household are five servants.

Robert Reeves Storks is shown above in the 1890 Kellys directory of Middlesex. The census below dates from 1891 and lists only domestic staff at The Elms. The Storks were presumably abroad at this time.

Robert Reeves Storks is still absent when the next census was taken in 1901 only servants are shown in residence.

Robert Reeves Storks died in 1903 and The Elms was auctioned as part of his estate together with his antique household effects which were auctioned separately. It has not been possible to trace what happened to his wife Josefa.

The Elms was auctioned initially in 1903 and relisted in 1904.

By 1911 The Elms had become the home of the Austin Family.

We believe the Austins bought the property at auction when they moved to St Margarets from their Teignmouth Devon home.

Mrs Helen Wood Austin ran The Elms as a boarding house until the death of her husband Samuel Alfred Austin in November 1920.

Mrs Helen Wood Austin continued living and running the boarding house until her death in March 1954. The Elms remained in the Austin family until 1976. The property is now residential flats.