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Wimbledon Park House

wimbledon park houseGeorge, second Earl Spencer (1758-1834) had this fourth mansion built by Henry Holland between 1798 and 1801. George had been born in the third Marlborough manor house built by his grandmother and destroyed by fire in 1785. After this time the Spencer family had stayed in the old servants’ quarters to the north-east of the mansion.

By the end of the century, renovations at Althorp were complete and Holland was able to set about building the new home around the servants’ quarters. It was not as impressive as the Cecil or Marlborough houses, but had a fine colonnade on the south front providing splendid views from the portico and drawing room across to the North Downs.

George and Lavinia enjoyed life here until the 1820s by which time Lavinia was in poor health and the Earl in some debt. In 1826 the Spencer family left Wimbledon and let the manor house for £800 a year to their friends, the Duke and Duchess of Somerset. They lived here with their large family until the Duke died in 1855 and in the following year the home was sold by the fourth Earl to John Augustus Beaumont, who started to develop the land for large middle-class homes. Beaumont sold the house in 1872, and in 1914 most of Wimbledon Park was sold to the Council for use as a public park. Wimbledon Park house remained in private hands, but the years had taken their toll and it had fallen into serious decay. Unable to fund the necessary repairs, its final owners, Prince and Princess Wiasemski sold the house to the Council in 1948, and, on finding it riddled with dry rot, the Council demolished the property in 1949. Park House Middle School was built over the site in 1972.

wimbledon park house