Southwood Park is a private development of luxury flats built in 1963-65, with communal gardens to the rear. It was previously the site of two earlier houses and their grounds, Southwood and Southwood Court, together with some additional land. Southwood's known history dates from 1707 and it had a number of illustrious owners and fine grounds. Southwood Court was built by 1882 on land purchased from the estate, again with a fine garden. In 1921 it was purchased by Julius Salter Elias who in 1932 purchased Southwood, which he demolished. In 1962 the last private owner sold the remainder of the estate to developers who demolished Southwood Court in 1965 to build the two blocks of flats that comprise Southwood Park. The communal gardens have lawns, a number of fine trees including a mature horse chestnut, a relic of the C18th gardens of Southwood.
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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.
Southwood Park is a development of 75 luxury flats built in 1963/65 by Douglas Stephen & Partners on the corner of Southwood Lane and Southwood Lawn Road, described by Nikolaus Pevsner as 'two bold brutalist blocks'. The land was previously the site of two earlier houses and their grounds, Southwood and Southwood Court, together with some additional garden ground. The gardens of Southwood Park cover an irregular site that slopes down to the south-east and consists of lawns, some fine trees including late C19th/early C20th conifers and a very large horse chestnut, a relic of the C18th gardens of Southwood, with areas of shrubs.
Southwood's known history begins in 1707 when the copyhold was held by John Raymond, whose brother Sir Jonathan Raymond was an alderman and brewer of London who had married into 'a great estate', part of which was in Hornsey. It remained in the Raymond family until 1749, when it was purchased by John Mount, who re-sold it in 1752 to Abraham Langford (d.1774), a friend of William Hogarth, whose work he owned. After his death his widow, and then his younger son, also Abraham, inherited the property. The Langfords were a wealthy family and expanded their property holdings in the area over the following decades. By 1815 the estate totalled nearly 14 acres, and contained gardens and pleasure grounds that extended behind the gardens of The Limes, which Abraham Langford had bought before he died in 1817. The Limes became the site of Southwood Hospital from 1951-91, which in 2004 was redeveloped as private housing and named Southwood Court (q.v.).
The Langford family retained Southwood with its gardens and pleasure grounds until 1849 when the property was sold to Mark Beauchamp Peacock, solicitor to the Post Office from 1825-1862; his name is recalled in Peacock Walk. At the time it was described as a 'capital messuage', with a hothouse, greenhouse, coach-house, stable, other outbuildings and gardens, with a plot of about 1.25 acres. Peacock improved both house and grounds and by 1864 the latter measured about 4 acres, had been planted with trees and was famed for its views. From the 1860s to 1893-4 the house had various occupants and was completely altered, possibly rebuilt. George Kent, who lived at Southwood between 1883 and 1890, was the inventor of various labour-saving implements including a knife-cleaning machine. Around 1929 it became vacant and in 1932 it was purchased and pulled down by the owner of Southwood Court, Julius Salter Elias. Elias was a newspaper proprietor and publisher who was created Baron Southwood in 1937 and later Viscount Southwood in1946; he served as whip in the House of Lords during WWII.
Southwood Court had been built by July 1882 on the field to the north of Southwood for John Grove Johnson, managing director of Messrs. Johnson and Sons, assayers to the Bank of England, who had acquired an 80 year lease in 1875 from the Peacocks. His house was 'neo-Tudor' in style, 'surrounded by an acre of grounds enclosed in a bosky crescent. The gardens included a knoll planted with firs, elms and planes and rock, sunk and rose gardens' (Ralph Pugh). The lease was acquired by Julius Salter Elias in 1921, who not only bought Southwood in 1932 but also leased part of the garden of The Limes (see OS maps) thus enabling him to enlarge and improve his garden, his wife's passionate interest. The 'beautified' garden boasted terraces descending from the house, large trees, pools, arbours, seats, stone bridges, fountains, rose gardens, pergolas, pavilions and a lawn tennis court.
After the deaths of Lord and then Lady Southwood (in 1946 and 1949 respectively) the lease was acquired by Betty Bohener, already living on the site. In 1954 she sold a small portion of the estate in the south to Mr Platt who built a bungalow and then in 1962 she sold the remainder of the estate to developers Ross Hammond Investments Ltd. who demolished Southwood Court in 1965 to build the two blocks of flats that comprise Southwood Park. Ross Hammond purchased not only Southwood Court, and the site of Southwood but also the land leased by Lord Southwood from The Limes estate, the north part of which has become a swimming pool, garden and playground.
The open gardens at the back of the flats have well-kept lawns, shrubberies and fine trees, including the very old horse chestnut.
Ralph B Pugh, 'The Site of Southwood Park' (Hornsey Historical Society Bulletin, no. 12, December1976) pp 1-13; Richardson 1983 pp135-6