Eastwick Park


Location   Great Bookham
Year demolished   1958-60  
Reason   Replaced by a school  
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Text written by, and copyright of, Nicholas Kingsley - many thanks

Eastwick Park at Great Bookham (Surrey) was the manor house of the manor of Eastwick, and it is thought that there was already a house of some consequence here in the early 17th century, when it was the property of John Browne of Esher. His heirs sold the estate to Sir Francis Howard (d. 1651), who already owned the main manor of Great Bookham, but who made Eastwick his seat. Nothing is known of the appearance of the house at this time.

On the death of Thomas Howard, 6th Baron Howard of Effingham, in 1725, the estate passed to his widow for life, and she and her second husband, Sir Conyers D'Arcy of Aske Hall, seem at once to have employed the French Huguenot architect, Nicholas Dubois (c.1665-1735) to design a new house for the estate (one wonders if Dubois might also have been the architect employed by D'Arcy at Aske Hall for his alterations there in 1727-28). He was a retired military engineer who turned to architecture, and is known chiefly as the translator of Palladio into English, although his preface to that work does not suggest that he was a committed advocate of the Palladian movement. The new Eastwick was a two storey house of red brick, apparently seven bays by seven, although since no illustration has been found showing it in its original form it is hard to be sure how closely it originally conformed to the Palladian canon. The house descended in the Howard family to the 4th Earl of Effingham, who in 1801 sold it to John Laurell. He is said to have altered the house and refaced it with stucco, and the earliest record of the building shows in this form. To judge by this view (drawn by John Hassell for Robert Barclay), the external alterations may not have been extensive, although the Diocletian windows in the pediments were probably his work.

In 1833 the house was sold to David Barclay, who at once undertook further alterations and additions. It seems very possible that his architect was Decimus Burton, who worked at Bury Hill for his brother Charles Barclay, and whose Italianate classicism is exactly the style of the changes to Eastwick. The house grew a large service wing with a belvedere tower, and the rear elevation sprouted a full-height bow window; a glazed porte-cochere was added to the entrance front. Inside, the house seems to have been largely remodelled in the 19th century, although it is hard to judge what was done when. Only the severely plain top-lit staircase seems certainly to have survived unaltered from the original house (although even here the walls were given a new, more architectural treatment), while the neo-classical decor of the dining room may represent the taste of John Laurell in the 1800s. A tripartite saloon, divided by columns of porphyry scagliola with heavy Corinthian capitals, was created along the south-east front of the house. The elaborate ceilings here were in the style of the early 18th century, but inconsistency in their modelling suggests that they were wholly 19th century work. Such decoration seems unlikely for the 1830s or 1840s, and it was perhaps later work, as was the ceiling of the entrance hall, which was given a frankly Victorian treatment. Two smaller rooms had Etruscan style ceilings, which are more credible for the 1830s, but are perhaps also more likely to be later.

In 1882, Hedworth Trelawny Barclay (1859-1944) sold the estate and moved to Gaddesby Hall (Leics), which offered better hunting. The house was bought by William Keswick (1834-1912), one of the directors of the Jardine Matheson trading empire. His widow sold it in 1918 to Hipplyte Louis Wiehe du Coudray Souchon. He was the last private occupier, for in 1922 Eastwick was sold to a property developer, who sold of much of the estate for house-building. Bookham Common was bought by local residents to preserve its amenities, and the house and grounds were sold to H.R. Fussell, who transferred Southey Hall Prep School here from its original home in Worthing (Sussex). The house was requisitioned for Canadian troops during the Second World War, but the school returned afterwards and occupied the building until the increasing cost of repairs and maintenance caused it to close in 1955. The house then stood empty for a number of years before being acquired by Surrey County Council as the site for a new junior school. It was demolished between 1958 and 1960.