|Stanmore Golf Course, including Montrose Walk||Harrow|
Stanmore Golf Course was laid out on part of the former parkland of Stanmore Park, formerly an extensive estate with an C18th Palladian mansion that was demolished in 1938 when RAF Stanmore was established. Now surrounded by C20th housing, remnants of parkland planting include a few oak standards and belts, now blurred by golf course trees. Bellmount, a mound erected as a 'point de vue' from the neighbouring mansion at Canons on the estate of the Duke of Chandos, and Temple Pond north of Gordon Avenue, are other remnants of the earlier landscaping. Within the golf course is a fragment of the Duke's Grand Avenue of ancient oaks to the top of Bellmount, currently used as a green keeper's maintenance track. North of the golf course is Montrose Walk, a linear woodland park running from Gordon Avenue to Wolverton Road that may have been a former estate lane.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/01/2012
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Stanmore Golf Course was laid out on part of the former parkland of Stanmore Park, one of the large estates in the parish of Great Stanmore, which included Bentley Priory (q.v.) to the north, and Canons (q.v.) to the east. The Manor of Great Stanmore stretched from the hilltop of Stanmore Common (q.v.) in the north to Stanmore Marsh (q.v.) in the south-east. Between the mid-C18th and mid-C19th a number of substantial houses were built near the village as wealthy people moved to the area but there was little change to its rural aspect until the early C20th when housing development began in earnest. In 1888 William Morris described Stanmore in a letter as 'pretty after a fashion, very well wooded . . . But much beset with "gentlemen's houses". Nothing but grass fields everywhere'.
What became the Stanmore Park estate, which at its greatest extent covered land north and south of Uxbridge Road between Kenton Lane to the west and Old Church Lane to the east, was largely developed in the C18th by the Drummond family. Part of the estate was land within the Canons estate owned from the C17th by Sir Thomas Lake, Secretary of State (Chancellor of the Exchequer) to James I. In 1696 it became part of the dowry of Lake's great grand-daughter Mary on her marriage to James Brydges, later Duke of Chandos, who subsequently developed the estate, undertaking numerous works in the landscape. Among these works was the heightening of a pre-existing mound to 105 metres in order to create a 'point de vue' from his mansion. 'Bell Mount' is shown on John Rocque's map of 1745, but it is not known whether this refers to its shape or whether it derives from the Norman 'bel mont' meaning 'fine hill'. Belmont or Bellmont was later part of the Stanmore Park estate. The estate only came to be called Stanmore Park in the C19th, and at one time was known as Belmont. The hill is now within the golf course.
Andrew Drummond had arrived in London from Scotland some time between 1707 and 1712 and founded Drummond's Bank at Charing Cross. By 1729 he was able to purchase a country house called 'Hodgkins' in the parish of Great Stanmore, although the exact location of that house is not known. First recorded in 1670, this property had gardens and orchards as well as various buildings. Drummond lived here with his family, members of whom were buried in the parish churchyard of St John the Evangelist (q.v.), including his wife (d.1731) and later himself (d.1769). He continued to enlarge his estate up until his death, for example in 1745 purchasing 14 acres of meadowland and in 1749 land known as Buggs that was one of the head tenements of the manor, whose lands had been divided earlier. In 1760 he acquired considerable holdings belonging to Joseph Taylor when the latter died. In 1741 Drummond had also been granted licence by the Duke of Chandos to a strip of land to the east of an avenue of trees, one of a number planted by the Duke on his estate. In 1763 Drummond had a Palladian mansion built on his estate designed by architect John Vardy (1718-65), probably on the site of an earlier building. It was completed by William Chambers (1723-96) after Vardy's death and later altered by Henry Holland in 1786/7. Facing north, it was situated south of what is now Uxbridge Road, at that time called Collier's Lane. In c.1800 the Drummonds purchased additional land and had the road diverted into the current curving configuration. C19th gate piers remain on Uxbridge Road, with another pair in Gordon Avenue. The C18th parkland was reputedly laid out for Andrew Drummond by 'Capability' Brown, and was regarded by Humphry Repton, who subsequently worked here, as one of Brown's finest works.
Members of the Drummond family continued to live at Stanmore into the C19th, the last being George Harley Drummond, who attended Harrow School, but who subsequently returned to Scotland. Later owners included Lady Aylesford in 1815 and Lord Castlereagh. In 1840 the estate was purchased by the Marquis of Abercorn, all of whose property was sold in 1848 at which time Stanmore Park comprised some 1,400 acres, '1270 acres being within a ring fence', and 'the home or park farm (400 acres) is one of the most spacious in the county' (document quoted in Druett). It was purchased by George Carr Glyn who became the first Lord Wolverton in 1869, a banker, MP and Chairman of the London and North-Western Railway. He was succeeded by his son in 1873, George Grenfell Glyn, also a banker and MP, and a friend of William Gladstone. In the late 1880s Herbert Kemball Cook's preparatory school was transferred from Brighton to Stanmore Park, which was described as ‘a large mansion with extensive grounds off Uxbridge Road, Stanmore’. The headmaster from 1901-1929 was former Lancashire and England cricketer Revd. Vernon Royle. During the period as a school an earlier fish pond became a swimming pool. The school remained here until Christmas 1937 when it moved ‘to a park near Hertford’ following which Stanmore Park was once again on the market.
The site was purchased by the Air Ministry and the mansion was demolished in May 1938 to make way for RAF Stanmore. Druett, writing in 1938, gives a vivid account of this: 'The house was demolished by traction engine, cables and grappling irons, and many magnificent trees, including oaks, elms, birch and the very rare willow-leaved oak, upwards of 200 years old, were uprooted for the purpose of a balloon barrage unit and the erection of hutments. Harrow Urban District Council which, with its predecessor the Hendon Rural Council, had spent thousands of pounds in preserving the amenities of the district and adding to its open spaces, was not consulted, and anyone who cares can see the dreadful change which has been made in a pleasant rural area.' RAF Stanmore continued to occupy the site until 1997 following which it was developed for housing in 2002, the streets named after former occupiers of the house.
When the estate was sold off in 1884, auction documents list the lake, cascade, boundary belts, kitchen gardens and an ice house. Stanmore Golf Club was established in 1893. Remnants of the former landscaping are found on the golf course where parkland planting includes a few oak standards and belts, now blurred by golf course trees. Another remnant of the C18th landscape is the mound at Bellmount and in the surrounding area north of the golf course are other C18th remnants, including Temple Pond north of Gordon Avenue. The private golf course is crossed by a public footpath and from Bellmount there are views towards Harrow on the Hill to the south and Harrow Weald Ridge to the north.
.Montrose Walk (LB Harrow) runs east-west north of the clubhouse, and trees include yews, Scots pine, oaks, and later horse chestnuts. The linear woodland park was created in the 1970s through Planning Gain and runs alongside the Stanburn Stream that flows southwards to Temple Pond. The profusion of butcher's broom along the path suggests that it was once one of the former estate lanes.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed), p294; John Phibbs, 'The Assassination of Capability Brown' (unpublished working paper, 1995); W S Gilpin, 'Practical hints upon landscape gardening: with some remarks on domestic architecture as connected with scenery' (1832); Isobel Thompson 'Andrew Drummond and Stanmore Park: Where was Hodgkins?' in 'The Salubrious Air, People and Places of Stanmore and Harrow' (The Stanmore and Harrow Historical Society); Walter W Druett, 'The Stanmores and Harrow Weald Through the Ages' (Hillingdon Press, 1938; 'Great Stanmore: Introduction', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5: Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham (1976), pp88-96; Roger Turner, ‘Capability Brown and the Eighteenth-Century English Landscape’ (1985).