The Origins of Totally Richmond

Time flies by. It seems only yesterday that the very first version of TotallyRichmond.co.uk landed on the internet. But in fact it was June 2006, and it started life as a dotcom not a dotcodotuk. The .co.uk just felt more local, more personal.

Looking back, I started the site simply for a few reasons:

  • to get to know the area better
  • to share the little knowledge I already had
  • to get to grips with the internet in a more hands-on way

But also because there really wasn’t anything out there that collected all the information I needed. A directory of the borough of Richmond upon Thames. Today there are many more sites around, although most focus on specific towns like Teddington, Barnes or Twickenham.

The earliest image I can find is this “work in progress” screenshot – when it was just a page on a computer and not on the web.

the starting point

I don’t seem to have a copy of those earliest days, but I did find a copy of the site banner from early 2007. It’s actually not so different from the one we have today on the home page, just a slightly different angle. So maybe not much has changed – although i do remember our first brand colours were a strange green and burgundy combination – yikes.

I can remember wandering around Richmond the morning after I published the very very basic ‘day one’ site, realising that I needed to get some photos of the area. The bridge has always been the most iconic image of the area, so it seemed a good focus for the home page banner. However, getting the best shot was trickier than I imagined, trying get the best angle and not fall in the River. I nearly did.

One of the first pages I created was about Recycling in Richmond, because I thought that would be popular, and because I knew little about it myself. It turned out to be one of the least popular pages on the site for about 18 months, and then suddenly recycling fever hit the borough and the traffic soared (well relatively). These days you can’t walk down any street in the Borough without falling over those blue and black recycling boxes, showing the world how many bottles of wine are drink a week, the magazines thrown away, and every type of margarine.

Over the years the content has grown, the functionality improved and the layout enhanced. The forum and the events calendar became quite popular… and then became overloaded with spam, and eventually it became time to add a blog. So… finally… here it is.