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Hurlingham Club Grounds Hammersmith & Fulham


The Hurlingham Club Grounds are on land that was part of the manor of the Bishops of London, from whom in 1760 Dr William Cadogan leased 9 acres and built Hurlingham House. The riverside house and estate were enlarged over the years and had a number of private owners. In 1867 it was first used for pigeon shooting displays and in 1869 the Hurlingham Club was founded here. From 1874 until WWII the Club was famous for polo. After the war the polo grounds were compulsorily purchased for a public park. The Club continues as a private members' club with sports and leisure facilities set in fine landscaped grounds, that retain features of the earlier landscape.

Basic Details

Site location:
Ranelagh Gardens, Fulham

SW6 3PR ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Private Open Land

C18th onwards

Garden: Humphry Repton. House: George Byfield 1797-98, Sir Edwin Lutyens 1906-1912

Listed structures:
LBII*: Hurlingham House (Chestnut Cottage and Red House, pavilion and swimming pool complex included within curtilage)

Hammersmith & Fulham

Site ownership:
Hurlingham Club

Site management:
Hurlingham Club

Open to public?

Opening times:
has opened for Open House. Otherwise private, Hurlingham Club Members only.

Special conditions:



Public transport:
Tube: Putney Bridge (District). Bus: 14, 22, 39, 74, 85, 93, 220, 265, 270, 424

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:

On EH National Register :

EH grade:

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Local Authority Data

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:

Conservation Area name:
Hurlingham CA4

Tree Preservation Order:

Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance I

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:
Yes - Thames Policy Area

Other LA designation:
Open Space of Borough-wide Importance

Fuller information

The land was once known as Hurlingham Field following the arrival of Saxon settlers in c.500 AD who began farming here. From the C8th it was part of the manor of the Bishops of London whose summer residence was Fulham Palace (q.v.). There may have been a plague pit dating from the 1665 Great Plague on the site and there was an isolation hospital until 1736. An Act of William and Mary in 1693 enabled the Bishops to lease their land and by the C18th there were a few riverside villas as well as meadows and nursery gardens. Hurlingham House was built in 1760 for Dr William Cadogan (1711-97), who leased 9 acres from the Bishop of London. After his death the property was leased to John Ellis (1757-1832) for whom the riverside house was enlarged into a Neo-classical white stucco-faced mansion by George Byfield in 1797-8. In 1800 Ellis purchased the freehold and an additional 11 acres of land for £3,150. He sought the advice of Humphry Repton on the landscaping, to which there is a reference in his 'Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening' of 1803. A frequent visitor was George Canning, later Prime Minister. In 1807 the Hurlingham estate was sold to George O'Brien Wyndham (1751-1837), 3rd Earl of Egrement, who in 1820 sold it to John Horsley Palmer (1779-1858) for £12,000. Palmer, who was later Governor of the Bank of England, enlarged the estate to the north by a further 16 acres and in the mid-1830s he let it to Richard, Marquess Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington's brother. Other notable occupants included Euseby Cleaver, the 'mad' Archbishop of Dublin.

After Palmer's death, the Hurlingham estate was sold in 1860 to Richard Naylor (1814-99), who in 1867 gave permission to Frank Heathcote (1811-79) to use the grounds for pigeon shooting matches. The Gun Club of London had been founded in 1861 and had been seeking a suitable venue for pigeon shooting during the London Season. Hurlingham became a popular and fashionable venue, and here Heathcote founded the Hurlingham Club as a country resort. The Club leased the Hurlingham estate in 1869 and in 1874 bought the freehold for £27,500; Hurlingham House remains the core of the Clubhouse today. The Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, was Honorary Member of the Club and pigeon shooting continued here until 1905 by which time the main activity was polo, a sport that had originated in Persia before being played in India, coming to England in 1869. The first polo match was played here in 1874, watched by the Prince and Princess of Wales, and Hurlingham went on to become the game's headquarters for the British Empire. Tennis began to be played in 1877 and a lawn racquet ground was provided at Hurlingham in the 1880s, and croquet was introduced in c.1900. Celebrations for Queen Victoria's Gold and Diamond Jubilees took place in 1887 and 1897, and in 1903 other events such as concerts and plays were added to the entertainment.

The estate had been enlarged in 1879 when the adjacent Mulgrave House was leased with 15 acres of its grounds, which included the lake that remains in the Club grounds. Mulgrave House, subsequently demolished in 1927, was adjacent to the C18th Ranelagh House, and at one time both houses were owned by the 6th Viscount Ranelagh, whose eldest son the 7th Viscount inherited the estate in 1820 later living in Mulgrave House. It was subsequently leased by Charles Louis de Bourbon, Duke of Normandy and Pretender to the French throne. In the mid-C19th Ranelagh House was leased to Reginald Herbert who ran it as a country club, Ranelagh Club, until 1884 after which it moved to Barn Elms. In 1906 The Hurlingham Club had undertaken further improvements to the house and grounds with Sir Edwin Lutyens engaged as architect. A pair of pavilions remain from c.1906-12, as does the half-timbered lodge by Broomhouse Lane. By the outbreak of WWI much of the surrounding area had been built over with housing. In WWI Hurlingham became the base for Yeomanry and an RNAS balloon detachment. In the 1930s an outdoor swimming pool, squash courts and bowling facilities were added and a 9-hole golf course was provided for winter use. In WWII Hurlingham was used as quarters for the Army and Air Force and an anti-aircraft battery and balloon barrage unit were based here, with the main polo ground turned over to allotments. The Club was badly bombed with 27 bombs and a landmine falling in the grounds. The Clubhouse was largely saved although the eastern end was badly damaged including the loss of its crystal dome.

After the war, the LCC compulsorily purchased the Club's polo grounds, which were converted into a public recreation ground, Hurlingham Park (q.v.), a school and housing at Sulivan Court Estate (q.v.). The Hurlingham Club retained c.42 acres of the estate and croquet and tennis became well established, the Croquet Association having its headquarters here from 1959-2002. The first International Lawn Tennis Club Reception held on the eve of Wimbledon Tournament took place in 1946. In 1951 the former pony exercise track became the cricket field. 30 years after the end of WWII a masterplan had been established to restore the Club, which included enlargement of the terrace room, rebuilding the conservatory, a new fitness centre and the east wing was been entirely with a new palm court and orangery. In 1992 a new indoor pool was built within the fitness centre.

Hurlingham remains as a private club, offering its members facilities that include tennis, croquet, bowls, cricket, swimming and children's play facilities, set in well-kept gardens with herbaceous borders, lawns and mature trees. The London plane trees along the Thames riverfront may date from the C18th, and there is also a mature copper beech. The lake is thought to have originated in the 1740s as a natural creek of the river. Within the grounds are a number of notable architectural structures including the old shooting pavilion of 1869, and the 1933 outdoor swimming pool and changing rooms built by J. Mowlem. In the east part of the grounds is a C19th garden shelter known as the 'stone house' and a timber jetty giving views over the Thames.

Sources consulted:

Colvin, H. A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, London 1978 p177; Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed) p 243; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993) ?p413; John Archer, Daniel Keech 'Nature Conservation in Hammersmith & Fulham', Ecology Handbook 25, London Ecology Unit, 1993 p48; Barbara Denny, 'Fulham Past', Historical Publications, 1997; LB Hammersmith & Fulham Hurlingham Conservation Area Character Profile, 1999

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