Three candidates for being the one the school and the road are named after
The Hotham School sign with shop in the logo. Picture: Hugh Thompson
Most people in Putney know that Hotham Road and school are named after Admiral Hotham. The school is so proud that it has a Nelson ship of the line in its crest. But which of the three related Admiral Hothams, one uncle and two nephews/cousins, all of Nelson’s generation is being honoured? Confusingly two named William.
All served with our Hero, Horatio Nelson. The elder Hotham (1736-1813) started off well under Rodney in the American War of Independence and bravely acquitted himself as a junior officer. Eventually he rose to be Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean fleet in 1794. It was his level of incompetence. Nelson called his actions off Genoa “miserable”. There was not much he did right, frankly he didn’t have it ,and was more worried about not losing actions than having the energy to win decisively. Relieved after a year and as is the way of the world rewarded with an Irish title.
His nephew (1772-1848) went from strength to strength, his was one of the few ships in the Channel fleet not involved in the 1797 Spithead Mutiny, served with honour at Camperdown, was with Nelson at Toulon and Bastia and in charge of the blockade of Boulogne where in 1808 ill health meant he had to stand down. Buckets of honours and the Navy eventually named two ships after him. We hope it is this Admiral who lived in Putney and not his less reputable uncle. Confusingly an Admiral Sir William Hotham lived in Hotham House in Richmond in 1810. He died in Windsor.
But Hotham school which proudly boasts a tall ship in its crest might have been named after his cousin Admiral Sir Henry Hotham (1777-1833). He joined as a midshipman aged 13 and was a captain aged 18. He was with Nelson in the Med and saw continuous action against the French until he had a very successful War of 1812 against the Americans. He claimed to have captured, burnt or destroyed 82 Yankee vessels . He was promoted to the Board of Admiralty, made an Admiral in 1825 and died and was buried in Malta. Two of his sons went onto to be vicars.
Having checked Thorne’s “Environs of London” and he Lysons, Victoria and Walford’s Histories of Putney one is no more the wiser, which Admiral Hotham? Something to ponder in the week of Trafalgar Day, Thursday, 21 October.
Like Reading Articles Like This? Help Us Produce More
This site remains committed to providing local community news and public interest journalism.
Articles such as the one above are integral to what we do. We aim to feature as much as possible on local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, community-based initiatives and even helping people find missing pets.
We've always done that and won't be changing, in fact we'd like to do more.
However, the readership that these stories generates is often below that needed to cover the cost of producing them. Our financial resources are limited and the local media environment is intensely competitive so there is a constraint on what we can do.
We are therefore asking our readers to consider offering financial support to these efforts. Any money given will help support community and public interest news and the expansion of our coverage in this area.
A suggested monthly payment is £8 but we would be grateful for any amount for instance if you think this site offers the equivalent value of a subscription to a daily printed newspaper you may wish to consider £20 per month. If neither of these amounts is suitable for you then contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up an alternative. All payments are made through a secure web site.
One-off donations are also appreciated. Choose The Amount You Wish To Contribute.
If you do support us in this way we'd be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.
For businesses we offer the chance to be a corporate sponsor of community content on the site. For £30 plus VAT per month you will be the designated sponsor of at least one article a month with your logo appearing if supplied. If there is a specific community group or initiative you'd like to support we can make sure your sponsorship is featured on related content for a one off payment of £50 plus VAT. All payments are made through a secure web site.
October 18, 2021