Its long high street has goods stores, convenience services, offices, restaurants, cafés, pubs and suburban supermarkets and is also the economic hub for Mortlake of which East Sheen was once a manor. This commercial thoroughfare, well served by public transport, is the Upper Richmond Road West which connects Richmond to Putney. Central to this street is The Triangle, a traffic island with a war memorial and an old milestone dating from 1751, marking the 10-mile (20 km) distance to Cornhill in the City of London.
The earliest recorded use of the name is c. 950 as Sceon and means shed or shelters. The area was designated separately from Sheen (an earlier name for Richmond) from the 13th century, as the southern manor of Mortlake.
Every four years, residents elect three councillors to Richmond upon Thames Council. East Sheen has traditionally been seen as a safe Conservative ward, but in the 2018 elections, one Liberal Democrat and two Conservatives were elected.
East-Sheen is a pleasant hamlet in this parish, situated on a rising ground considerably above the level of the river. It contains about ninety houses. Here are several handsome villas; the vicinity to Richmond-park, and the beauty of the surrounding country, making it a desirable situation.
Earliest references specifically to the present area of land, rather than references to parts of Mortlake, emerge in the 13th century, generally under its early name of Westhall. Originally one carucate, it was sold in 1473 by Michael Gaynsford and Margaret his wife in the right of Margaret to William Welbeck, citizen and haberdasher, of London. The Welbecks held it until selling in 1587. Later owners of what remained, the Whitfields, Juxons and Taylors were equally not titled, as with Mortlake's manorial owners, nor had an above average size or lavish manor house.
Development of the Temple Grove, Palmerston country estate
The southern estate of Temple Grove, East Sheen, first belonged to Sir Abraham Cullen, who was created a baronet in 1661. He died in 1668, and his first son Sir John in 1677. His second son Sir Rushout Cullen seems to have sold the estate shortly afterwards to Sir John Temple, attorney-general of Ireland, brother to Sir William Temple, diplomat and author, who was earlier of adjoining West Sheen, giving the home his name. It belonged to the Temples until Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, who later would serve as Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, sold it soon after coming of age in 1805. It was bought by Sir Thomas Bernard, who rebuilt the Jacobean style front of the house shown in a drawing hung in the house of 1611. Sir Thomas sold it about 1811 to Rev. William Pearson who founded the Temple Grove Preparatory School for boys. The school moved in 1907 to Eastbourne and the estate was given over to house and apartment builders.
East Sheen concentrates its commercial area to the main through street: its long high street has transport/furniture/hardware stores, convenience services, offices, restaurants, cafés and pubs and suburban supermarkets and is also the economic hub for Mortlake of which East Sheen was once a manor. This wide-footpath street is the Upper Richmond Road West which connects Richmond to Putney. Central to this street is The Triangle, a tree-lined traffic island with a war memorial and an old milestone at the intersection of Upper Richmond Road West with Sheen Lane. The main railway station serving the area, Mortlake, is centred 300m north of this.
East Sheen lies in the ecclesiastical parish of Mortlake with East Sheen. In addition to the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin the district has two daughter churches: Christ Church, and All Saints. Christ Church, situated near the crossroads of Christchurch Road and West Temple Sheen, was built by Arthur Blomfield on land formerly part of a farm at the entrance to Sheen Common in the 1860s. It was originally planned to be opened in April 1863; however, the tower collapsed shortly before completion and had to be rebuilt. The church was finally completed and consecrated nine months later, on 13 January 1864.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee (born 1955), computer scientist and inventor of the World Wide Web, grew up in East Sheen and attended Sheen Mount Primary School. A mosaic by Sue Edkins was placed at Sheen Lane Centre in June 2013 to commemorate his association with Sheen
Don Lawrence (1928-2003), comic book artist and author, was born in East Sheen
Marc Bolan (1947-1977), musician, who died at what is now the site of Bolan's Rock Shrine, a few miles from his home at 142 Upper Richmond Road West in East Sheen
Schools in the area include: Richmond Park Academy; Tower House Boys' Preparatory School, a small independent prep-school for boys aged 4-13; East Sheen Primary School, a state school on Upper Richmond Road West; Sheen Mount School, a state primary school on West Temple; and Thomson House School, located on Vernon Road.
The Triangle in East Sheen is the subject of a painting, The Triangle, Sheen Lane, East Sheen, Surrey by James Isaiah Lewis (1861-1934), which is in the Richmond upon Thames Borough Art Collection and is held at Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham.