Lovelace gardens and Lovelace road

19 years ago...

Hello again,

Just to clarify a small point and give more interesting reading, No.21 Lovelace Gardens used to form part of No.8 which is now "Hursley Court". The whole property was known as "Hursley" and one can imagine how large it was.

The garden immediately to the rear of the house had brick terraces at the rear and raised brick flower beds. A path ran all around and enclosed a sculptured terraced lawn in the middle of which was a raised pond, about thirty feet in diameter, surrounded by lavender bushes and with a fountain in the middle which in turn was set in a raised bowel supported by three storks.

These storks, which may have been flamingoes, were a main feature of the house which had stained glass in the upper part of the main ground floor windows and which depicted more of the birds in tropical swamp settings. Set in the centre of the house was a huge stained glass window with similar scenes and allowing light from the northerly aspect to penetrate the main split level staircase area in the hall which had a sculpured ceiling some twenty feet in height.

The west end of the house had a huge conservatory with tiled floor on to which was tacked an aviary. Roses grew everywhere and in particular a small, pink, and very fragrant variety covered a long rose arch which led to a summer house at the bottom of the garden.This was round and covered in ivy with two little windows. Inside there was a tapestry with a kind of old Dutch scene.

To the west of the rose arch were two more lawns divided by a raised terrace with fruit trees and with a roundle at each end, in the middle of which a certain kind of tree had been trained to grow downwards around the sides, totally enclosing one in a pleasant shaded area in which to sit.

The southerly lawn was the tennis lawn and the northerly lawn down a bank from the terrace was the croquet lawn. In spring that bank was bathed in daffodils.
To the north of the croquet lawn was another raised fruit tree terrace bordering Lovelace Gardens. In spring and summer it was like being in a flower shop and in autumn the whole garden smelt of ripe fruit. There was simply too much to bottle and I used to eat my way around the place. The pears were particularly nice and the wasps thought so too.

To the west again was No. 21, The Lodge or "Old Coach House" with two greenhouses and the kitchen garden where goosberries, blackcurrants, and blackberries grew. This was the first part to be sold off by my parents in about 1950 to help clear some of the cost of buying the whole property for £5000!

I have tried to paint a scene of what it was like in these two roads back then. These huge and prestigious residences stretched from the railway line, south and up towards Langley Avenue. Many of the better off and well known business people of 1950s Surbiton chose them as their private residences. It pleases me to know that a halt was brought to their further destruction beyond Lovelace Road and that some remain, even if they are divided into flats.Only the most wealthy of people could afford to keep them as wholly private residences today.

Perhaps if there had not been two world wars and the intervening depression we may have seen them continuing as such, but then life in England generally would have been very different to what it is now.I would very much like to know who originally owned "Hursley" which I believe was built around 1902. Perhaps a visit to the local records office will supply the answers unless somebody can tell me on .By the looks of things I may have to wait a while. :lol:


Well said Kevin, People moan but cannot be bothered to do anything about problem situations so they persist and often grow worse. It's the same everywhere.


People may well be afraid to go out at night, but it's such a falicy that surbiton is over run with yobs and is unsafe.
Peoples perception of crime bears no relationship with actual levels of crime.
I walk the dog every night, and yes might come across a few drunken students, but thats about it!
There is only one way for us to beat crime and thats for the masses to stand up and be counted! If the residents of Surbiton don't like the way the area is being run why don't they vote! I did voted during the last council/mayor/Europe elections, but was ashamed to see only a few others in my postcode area crossed off the list.
If the population are unhappy with things then they can only blame themselves......

Thanks for replying Kevin, I thought I was alone.

"Yobs" in my old dictionary include all races and colours and does not refer to any one type other than people who go around often under the cover of darkness in gangs and cause havoc in one form or another. They often do wear baseball caps and hooded jackets to avoid recognition and they are everywhere.

Yes Surbiton is still a good place to be. But when one gets the wider picture from the residents it would seem that many are afraid to go out at night. Now why do you suppose that is the case?


Hello Peter, I just thought I would leave you a message to reasure you that Surbiton is still a great place to live. Yes we do have residents parking, and wardens everywhere, but they are at least allowing the people of Surbiton to park close to thier homes, not a mile away due to comuters!
The YMCA does exist but contary to popular belief causes very few problems, in fact its facilities enhance the comunity.
Please don't belive the biggots in our community who seem to think we have been over run by yobs (this I think is code for people with a less than white skin, a not too healthy bank balance and being under the age of 30).
The streets of Surbiton still have a great comunity feeling, you only have to spend the day in london then get back of the train, have look around, this still is one of the most deirable places to live within the M25.
As for this forum, it is a crying shame it's not being used to it's full advantage, but maybe we can change that...

I missed this post first time around. It is really interesting to hear stories from the area from a few years ago.

It also shows how quickly things changes. Lots of Lovelace Road has now been built over with purpose built flats and the road has changed beyond recognition. At the same time, modern versions of these huge mansions are being built just down the road in Esher and Cobham for footballers and bankers.

It would be interesting to see what has happened in another 100 years. Will most of the grand houses in Esher be converted to flats or demolished, meaning the large houses will move even further out?

I lived at number 23 between 1950 and 1961. It was an Edwardian house on three storeys divided into three flats and owned by the CEGB. Mr and Mrs Suren lived at 25 in the main part if a large house. The Marshalls and then the Hughes-Hunts lived at 25a which was the smaller self contained part. My memory of 21 was that it was indeed big and had a mulberry tree in the garden. I can't remember the name of the elderly couple living there but their son had drums in the back of his cream Austin van.

Hello. I am researching a friend family tree and would like to know about a 'Mansion' where a Lady Grosvenor from Cheshire stayed in about 1900. Would interested if anyone knows something or which mansion it might have been.

Please let me know by e-mail
S Hawley

Ridiculous story there. What occurred after? Thanks!

Have recommenced research on 8 Lovelace Gardens circa 1900. Some connection with Lady Grosvenor first wife of very well off the 2nd Duke of Westminster. Please text me if you can.

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