Strand-on-the-Green is located immediately to the east of Kew Bridge, along the north bank of the river Thames. The name is shared by the first part of the road east of Kew Bridge, its continuation on the riverside path, and the area itself. The area is renowned as a particularly picturesque part of London. A footpath runs along the bank of the river, overlooked by numerous imposing 18th-century houses and local pubs, and, being a low part of the Tideway which has been narrowed with embankments on both banks, is flooded at spring tides; property flooding is rare but has occurred to basements and other storeys before the construction of the Thames Barrier.
The District line and London Overground both cross the river on the railway bridge erected in 1869 between the City Barge and Bull’s Head pubs.
Over 100 human skulls were reportedly found in the river Thames opposite Strand-on-the-Green during the 19th century, and although they have since disappeared, dating of other similar river skulls suggests they may have dated from c.600 BC. Pottery dating from Roman times has also been found in Strand-on-the-Green.
Strand-on-the-Green is first recorded as "Stronde" in 1353 (‘strand’ probably means ‘shore’). It was called ‘Strand Green’ in 1593 and ‘Strand under Green’ in 1760. Almshouses, first built in 1658, still remain, though they were replaced by new buildings in 1721-24. It was one of the four villages (Chiswick, Little Sutton, Turnham Green and Strand-on-the-Green) that merged to form the present-day Chiswick.
The opening of Kew Bridge in 1759 (which replaced a ferry on the same spot) and the royal palace at Kew increased the importance and popularity of the area, prompting the building of large houses and the development of small industries along the waterfront. These industries included malt-houses, repair yards, barge-builders and wharves. By 1860, Strand-on-the-Green also housed one of the largest laundries in London, the Pier House Laundry, whose brick facade is still visible to the left of Cafe Rouge. The laundry eventually closed in 1973.
The area began a slow decline in the 19th century when the Grand Junction Canal diverted freight traffic to Brentford, and the Royal Family moved from Kew to Windsor. Strand-on-the-Green has now become a residential area once again, and was described in 1932 as "London’s last remaining village". During World War II, 41 houses in Thames Road and Magnolia Road were destroyed and a further 60 were severely damaged when a parachute mine landed on 21 September 1941. Scenes from the Beatles’ 1965 film Help! were shot in the City Barge pub and around Strand-on-the-Green. In the small hours of 17 January 2016, a fire badly damaged offices (located in the old Pier House Laundry building) belonging to James Grant Group, representatives of Ant and Dec and Tom Daley, which happened to be empty at the time.
Oliver’s Island is a small eyot in the river Thames opposite Strand-on-the-Green. It acquired its name after rumours that Oliver Cromwell used the island as a hideout and held military councils at the Bull’s Head pub during the English Civil War, but there is no hard evidence to support these rumours. The City of London’s Navigation Committee erected buildings on the island after 1777, and barges were also stationed here for the collection of tolls.