Last of the grand 18C mansions which once fronted this part of the river, with magnificent interiors and extensive grounds.
The Hurlingham Club at 11am, 3pm (Max 90 per tour) Meet 10:45 at main gate.
Dr William Cadogan,
History of the Club
The only survivor of the many late Georgian mansions that once fringed this part of the river, Hurlingham House (since 1869 the home of the Hurlingham Club) dates back to 1760 when Dr. William Cadogan, a fashionable physician, acquired a 9 acre site from the then Bishop of London’s Fulham Palace estate and built a plain three bay, three storey house in brown brick which is still recognisable as the core of the present building.
Dr. Cadogan’s successor was one John Ellis, brother of the head of London’s West Indian sugar interest. In 1797 Ellis incorporated Cadogan’s villa into a new, much larger neo-classical style mansion, with extra side wings and long two storey service wings at right angles to the rear forming a new entrance court. His architect was the competent, but little known, George Byfield (1757-1813), a former pupil of Sir Robert Taylor and John Plaw and from 1803 onwards, Surveyor to the estates of Westminster Abbey. (A versatile man, he was also a specialist in the building of County Gaols).
The new house’s dominant feature is the stucco faced garden facade in the new grand "John Nash" style of the period, complete with a giant pedimented Corinthian portico with flanking Corinthian pilasters. Inside Byfield created a matching suite of ample "grand manner" style reception rooms (drawing room and dining room) linked by an oval ante room retained from the earlier house (and which, against all the rules of classical decorum, projects into the central portico). The interiors – where they survive later reworking - all have good, crisp, delicately detailed cornices, door surrounds and fireplaces.
Later work included a conservatory to the left of the garden front (demolished after war damage), a major remodelling of the entrance front by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1906-12, and more recent extensions to the North and West.
After Ellis, Hurlingham had several well known occupiers including a "mad" Archbishop of Dublin, the Duke of Wellington’s brother and various City bankers. After becoming the Hurlingham Club (originally dedicated to the sport of pigeon shooting) in 1869, it later became the national centre for polo on grounds subsequently acquired by the local council after the war. Forty acres remain (part of the original beautifully landscaped Humphrey Repton Park)."for the use and enjoyment of the (6,000) members and their families and friends".