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Sundridge Park * Bromley
   
Summary: * on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

Sundridge Park was a country estate surrounded on 3 sides by woodland. In 1793 the then owner Edward George Lind sought the advice of Humphry Repton, who recommended re-siting the house and forming the surrounding farmland into a park. His advice was followed by the subsequent owner Claude Scott, who also appointed John Nash to build his new mansion. Although little of the earlier landscaping survives, there are remains of the C18th ha-ha that separated the pleasure grounds and park. Scott's son Samuel inherited the estate in 1830; a keen horticulturalist, he instigated various changes including building an elaborate conservatory, and the creation of Pulhamite rockwork features (now gone). The estate was eventually sold in the early C20th and what remains of the former land is now in divided ownership. Part of the parkland became a private golf club in 1901, and the mansion and immediate grounds were converted as a hotel, and later as a management training centre in the 1950s. The terrace garden by the house was redesigned by Rosemary Verey in 1992.
Previous / Other name: Sundridge Park Golf Club; Sundridge Park Manor
Site location: Willoughby Lane off Plaistow Lane, Bromley; Golf Club: Garden Road
Postcode: BR1 3FZ > Google Map
Type of site: Private Open Land
Date(s): C17th onwards
Designer(s): 1790s Humphry Repton; 1992: Rosemary Verey. Golf course 1901/3: John Randall
Listed structures: LBI: Sundridge Park mansion. LBII* stables and coach house north-west of mansion. LBII: early C19th icehouse
Borough: Bromley
Site ownership: Divided ownership - Sundridge Park Golf Club; Cathedral Group (Sundridge Park Manor)
Site management:
Open to public? Partially
Opening times: open to members / guests. Visits by appointment
Special conditions:
Facilities: Hotel has facilities for conferences/meetings, weddings/events, training & development
Events:
Public transport: Rail: Sundridge Park, Bromley South
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2007
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.sundridgepark.com; www.spgc.co.uk

Fuller information:

Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

In 1679 Thomas Washers of Lincoln's Inn acquired Sundridge Estate as his country seat, which became known locally as 'Washers in the Woods'; it remained in his family for over a century. John Rocque's map of 1746 shows it as a house set in open parkland surrounded on 3 sides by woods. The estate was sold by Washers' great grandson to Edward George Lind who brought in Humphry Repton to advise him on the landscaping in 1793. Repton recommended re-siting the house and converting the surrounding farmland into a park (see Red Book for Sundridge, 1793). In 1797 Lind sold the property to wealthy corn merchant Claude Scott, who was later created Baron Scott of Lychett Manor in 1821. He accepted Repton's recommendations and appointed John Nash to build a new mansion; Nash was later replaced as architect by Samuel Wyatt. Scott died in 1830 and his son Samuel, who was already living at Sundridge, inherited the title and the Sundridge estate of 238 hectares (see Tithe map of 1841). Sir Samuel was a keen member of the Horticultural Society of London and in the 1820s he had had a large conservatory built by Henry Ormson of Chelsea, 100ft long with cast-iron frame and elaborate curved glass roof, heated by the latest hot-water system. Between 1873 and 1874 James Pulham and Son made a Chasm, Fernery, Alpinery and Cliff in the grounds.

In 1880 Sundridge was inherited by the 5th Baron, Sir Edward Henry Scott who made extensive alterations to the house, introduced pheasant-rearing to the estate and organised shooting parties. A magistrate and High Sheriff of Kent, Scott was influential in the area and when Bromley District Railway was built between Bromley North and Grove Park he had Sundridge Park Station built at the entrance to his estate. The 6th Baron, Sir Samuel Edward Scott was last of the family to live at Sundridge; he tried to sell the estate on a number of occasions and at the turn of the century sold the farmland to the south-east and south-west for building plots. In 1901 the park was leased to a group of Bromley men for a golf club. The mansion was unsuccessfully put up for auction in 1904 and then leased as a hotel to a company who eventually purchased the freehold in 1920. Highly successful before WWII, for the duration of which it was closed, the hotel then struggled post-war and the company eventually went into voluntary liquidation.

The contents of the house were sold and the house itself remained empty for 2 years until it was bought by Ernest Butten, together with c.6.5 hectares of surrounding parkland, to be run as a management training centre, running its first residential course in 1956. Since then new buildings have been added and the grounds near the house adapted for a conference centre. The site remains in divided ownership.

To the north-east of the site is ancient woodland of Elmstead Wood, which rises behind Sundridge Park Mansion, a large building with 3 large porticoes in white stucco. The main portion of the building is by Nash, who exhibited his designs in 1799. The interiors were largely completed by Samuel Wyatt, who also designed the stables and coach house. At the entrance on Plaistow Lane is a C19th brick lodge, a tree-lined drive, once a public roadway known as Wood Lane, then curves through parkland to reach the Mansion and stables. The pleasure grounds constituted c.9 hectares mainly to the south, east and north of the Mansion. A gravel path round the house to the south leads to a grassed terrace with herbaceous beds, which extends south-east and is divided into two, the slightly smaller area to the west enclosed by gravel paths. South of the terrace is a C19th brick, stone-capped wall beyond which grass planted with ornamental trees slopes down to where the remains of an C18th ha-ha separates the pleasure grounds from the park. The north-east side of the lawn is bordered by a brick wall, which supports a second grassed terrace beyond which are wooded slopes of High Grove, so-named on the OS of 1870. Repton's design for the pleasure grounds included a formal garden on the levelled plateau to the east of the Mansion although the line of the stone-capped terrace wall is not recorded until 1898 in the OS 2nd edition map. The terrace garden was redesigned by Rosemary Verey in 1992 when the brick walls were removed, grass re-laid and herbaceous beds put in. At the east end of the lower terrace an informal grass path leads east towards Botany Bay, a strip of land so-called on the OS 2nd edition map of 1898; it may have been in this area that one of the Pulhamite features was made. On the boundary of High Grove and the parkland to the north is a small pond surviving from at least 1841, shown on the Tithe map. The path from High Grove continues west round the back of the stables to the late C20th buildings housing facilities for the training centre. The main building of the Management Centre was built in 1970 on the site of the C19th conservatory, to the south of which C19th stone steps provide access up to the formal terraces fronting the conservatory, since laid to grass. In 2005 Cathedral Group purchased Sundridge Park and refurbished the house as a hotel, now known as Sundridge Park Manor.

The c.110 hectare park is now made over to 2 golf courses, the first laid out by John Randall and opened in 1903 by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon A J Balfour. The idea for the golf club had arisen from local Bromley men who formed a committee having had the offer of a lease on 125 acres at Sundridge Park Estate by Sir Samuel Scott. Jack Randall was appointed Club Professional and Willie Park engaged and paid a small fee to set out the new course; construction then proceeded under the supervision of James Braid and Jack Randall. The first meeting of the Club took place on 4 December 1901, and at that point there was no Clubhouse, members storing their clubs in converted stables. The Kid Brook runs across the parkland south of the Mansion. Repton had converted an existing pond, made from damming the River Quaggy, to an ornamental lake but by 1910 this had disappeared. In the early 1990s there were plans to reinstate the lake but after consideration it was decided to reinstate the stream. Against the south boundary of the park is an early C19th brick icehouse, an unusually large domed subterranean structure with barrel-vaulted approach passage.

Sources consulted:

EH Register Listing and bibliography: H Repton, Red Book for Sundridge, 1793; Angus, Seats of the Nobility and Gentry.. 1797, pl. 56; J Pulham & Sons, Picturesque Ferneries and Rock-Garden Scenery, in Waterfalls, Rocky Streams .. Brochure, 1877; D Stroud, Humphry Repton, 1982, pp.98, 105; G Carter et al, Humphry Repton, 1982, p156; B Cherry & N Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 2: South' (1983, reprint 1999); K Wilson, Sundridge Park Words and Drawings, Sundridge Park Management Centre (nd); Alan Bellinger, The First Hundred Years: 1901-2001 [history of the golf club]
Grid ref: TQ417707
Size in hectares: c.120 (Hotel: 2.43)
   
On EH National Register : Yes
EH grade: Grade II
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
No
 
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: Not known
Nature Conservation Area: Yes - Borough Importance I
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: Yes
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
   

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