Grove House Estate and Downshire House (Roehampton University)

Grove House Estate and Downshire House (Roehampton University)
(Photo: Unversity of Roehampton)
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Roehampton Great House originally stood on this site, built in 1625 for the Lord High Treasurer of England under Charles I. Some of the foundations are still visible in the cellar of Grove House. James Wyatt built the present house in 1792 for Sir Joshua Vanneck.

Now part of Roehampton University, the beautiful listed grounds of Grove House were first laid out in the 18th century.

The formal gardens, lily pond with fountain and limestone terrace were added in the 19th century, as well as the grotto (it is said, to deaden the noise from the adjacent convent!) There is also a lake, a sham bridge and a mausoleum.

The icehouse was only discovered in 1998, when exploratory work on the grotto revealed a bricked-up door.

Downshire House was built around 1770. The owner from 1912 to 1920 was Sir Stephen Herbert Gatty. In his time, extensive formal gardens were laid out, of which a small part survives to the north: brick walls, stone balustrades with pineapples and a hipped-roof summerhouse with paired columns, by Oswald P. Milne.

In 1949 Downshire House was the last of the Roehampton villas to be used as a private residence. In 1963, when it was Garnet College, the LCC installed a Lynn Chadwick sculpture The Watchers in the grounds. In 2006 part of the sculpture was stolen and the rest was removed to safe storage. In a collaborative project with Chadwick's estate, the sculpture was returned to the grounds in early 2016.

Capital Growth garden: 26

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