The St Margaret’s Estate Residents’ Association was founded in December 1970 to combat unwelcome multi-occupational and commercial development. It aims to encourage the preservation and improvement of the Estate in keeping with its pleasantly residential character of single family dwellings.
The reason for the name and the boundaries is historical. The district was once largely parkland and formed the grounds of a few great houses. St Margaret’s House, destroyed during the last war, stood on the Thames to the north of the Estate. It belonged in the first half of the 19th century to Lord Cassilis, Marquis of Ailsa, and later to the Earl of Kilmorey – names that are now reflected in the names of roads on the Estate. In 1854 the St Margaret’s Estate was laid out for building and was divided into plots for family houses with a covenant limiting density, but with plots sufficiently large to ensure that house owners were entitled to vote. It became in effect the first garden suburb in this country.
In 1900 the postal address of all the houses on the Estate was still St Margaret’s Estate. However the railway had already been sited and named to serve these residents and eventually the name St Margaret’s was adopted for the whole of East Twickenham served by the station. The area of the original Estate is still in existence, still protected by the covenants and it is now a designated Conservation Area, with many buildings having additional protection.
The St Margaret’s Estate Residents Association (known colloquially as SMERA) is non-political and is recognised and consulted by the London Borough of Richmond, Central Government, local members of Parliament and representatives of the EU.