|Sulivan Court Estate||Hammersmith & Fulham|
Sulivan Court Estate is post-war housing built in 1949-56 for Fulham Borough Council on the site of the Hurlingham Club's No. 2 Polo Field. It is named for the Sulivan family, who were C19th local benefactors living at Broom House. Between the L-shaped blocks are many trees of a variety of species planted in extensive areas of grass. A road runs across the estate and the perimeter wall is of older bricks that may be the much reduced original wall. Sulivan School, to the north, also has a number of trees, and a nature garden.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2011
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Sulivan Court Estate was built by the Fulham Borough Council's Housing Department under J Pritchard Lovell in 1949-56 on the site of the No. 2 Polo Field on the Hurlingham Club Grounds (q.v.), formerly that of Broom House. The estate has been described by Nikolaus Pevsner as 'progressively designed' and provided 432 flats disposed in L-shaped blocks of mainly 3- to 5-storeys set in a spacious, informal landscape that characterised the better post-war council-housing, owing much to prevalent ideas derived from architects like Le Corbusier. 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.). 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, who refers to it 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 Mr 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 Golden 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 with the purchase of Mulgrave House, subsequently demolished in 1927, and its grounds including its lake. Another riverside villa, Broom House, and its 9 acres of grounds were acquired by the Club in 1912 and No. 2 Polo Ground was established on the site now occupied by Sulivan Court Estate. Broomhouse had been a medieval and possibly Saxon settlement. In 1906 the Club had undertaken further improvements to the house and grounds with Sir Edwin Lutyens engaged as architect. A pair of his 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 and during the war 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 house 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 in order to provide Hurlingham Park (q.v.) for public recreation, and Fulham Borough Council purchased what had been No. 2 Polo Ground for Sulivan School and the housing at Sulivan Court Estate. The name derives from the Sulivan family who from 1823 had owned Broom House, later acquired by the Hurlingham Club, and who were local benefactors. Laurence Sulivan, whose grandfather was chairman of the East India Company, endowed the Elizabethan Ragged School in Broomhouse Lane, an elaborate Tudor-Gothic building that later became a school for tubercular children run by the LCC and then a youth club. It was named after Sulivan's wife Elizabeth, who was the younger sister of the Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, who visited them at Broom House. Another member of the family, Miss Charlotte Sulivan, donated the site for St Matthew's Church in 1893.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed) p244; Barbara Denny, ''Fulham Past', Historical Publications, 1997 (also see references for Hurlingham Club Grounds).