TQ1649 : Cotmandene

taken 5 years ago, near to Dorking, Surrey, Great Britain

This is 1 of 10 images, with title Cotmandene in this square
Common land south of Dorking town centre. The wall was once part of the surrounds of the large kitchen garden of Deepdene House, retained when the garden itself was developed for housing.

In the background is Box Hill.
The Deepdene and Chart Park :: TQ1749

A large estate southeast of Dorking situated on the slopes of the Lower Greensand ridge that runs across the whole of the area south of the town. A large house was built here in the mid 1600s by the Hon. Charles Howard who had acquired the estate (“Dibden”). Howard also laid out the gardens, including using the “dene”, a natural hollow in the hillside after which the site was named, to good effect. The garden was praised by diarist and gardener John Evelyn and writer John Aubrey.

The estate passed through the Howard family for three generations, with Charles’s grandson, another Charles, replacing the house with a late Palladian style house, largely completed by 1775.

In 1777 Charles became the 10th Duke of Norfolk, inheriting the title from his second cousin, the 9th Duke. Following his death in 1786, his son, the 11th Duke, inherited the estate, but sold it in 1790. The purchaser was Sir Willian Burrell, Bart.

Sir William died in 1796 but his widow stayed on until her death in 1802, and a few years later, in 1807, the estate was put up for sale. In 1808 it was bought by Thomas Hope, a merchant banker, author, philosopher and art collector, and one of Britain’s wealthiest men. With the architect William Atkinson, Hope extended the house to add a library, a new dining room, two orangeries and a conservatory, as well as a gallery to house his sculpture and other antiquities from around the world. He also extended the estate and developed it to include new driveways and lodges. In 1833, Deepdene was described by J C Loudon as the finest example of Italianate architecture in the country.

In around 1813, Thomas Hope’s brother, Henry, purchased nearby Chart Park, which had been owned by Henry Talbot who had acquired his wealth from The East India Company. Henry Hope then presented this additional land to Thomas, the generosity of which was commemorated in a temple he built on Deepdene Terrace.

On Thomas Hope’s death in 1831 his remains were put in a mausoleum in the grounds which already held the body of his son Charles. Another son, Henry, took over the estate, and continued to develop the house with work by the architect Alexander Roos in 1836-41 turning it into a Renaissance style palazzo. Henry also added to the estate until it extended over Box Hill to the north and towards Brockham to the east. The latter involved the purchase in 1834 of Betchworth Castle which he proceeded to partially demolish in order to use the materials elsewhere, leaving the remains as a folly.

Towards the end of the 19th Century the Deepdene estate passed to the Duke of Newcastle who had married into the Hope family. He let it to Lily, dowager Duchess of Marlborough and her nephew, Winston Churchill, often visited her there. However after that the decline started, with the estate passing into receivership in 1917.

Over time, the estate was broken up. Local entrepreneur and property developer, Maurice Chance, developed some of the grounds for housing, building the Deepdene Park Estate in the area north and east of the house from 1921 and Deepdene Vale north of the current A25 from 1926. The house was turned into a hotel and a bypass for Dorking (now the A24 Deepdene Avenue) was controversially built through the gardens in front of the house in 1931-4. This understandably affected the hotel and it closed in 1936. With the onset of the Second World War it was purchased by the Southern Railway in 1939 as their wartime headquarters. It remained in railway use after the war, serving as the offices of British Railways Southern Region until it was vacated in 1966. It was demolished in 1969.

In 1971 a replacement office block was completed, designed by the architect E C Percy. For many years it has served as the UK headquarters of the travel company Kuoni Travel Ltd, going by the name Kuoni House. Adjacent to it is a sister building, Deepdene Lodge. In 2016 the site was purchased by a developer, Stonegate Homes, and preliminary planning permission is in place for its conversion to residential use once the current lease of Kuoni Travel Ltd expires.

Of the rest of the estate, both the former Betchworth Castle estate and Chart Park are now golf courses, with the latter retaining many specimen trees. Deepdene Terrace and part of the gardens were saved from development after a campaign headed by the composer and local resident Ralph Vaughan Williams with the Dorking and Leith Hill Preservation Society securing it for the public in 1943. However the temple suffered from vandalism and was demolished in 1955.

The mausoleum, further south, also suffered from vandalism and in 1957 it was bricked up and later buried to protect it. Much of the rest of the gardens became overgrown, with Rhododendron bushes thriving in particular. However following a heritage lottery fund grant and (in the case of the Mausoleum) support from the Mausolea and Monuments Trust, the remains of the gardens, the Deepdene Terrace and Mausoleum have undergone restoration, with a themed route called the Deepdene Trail officially opened on 10 September 2016. Betchworth Castle is also currently undergoing restoration.

The former gardens, the site of Kuoni House and much of Chart Park are designated as a grade II* park and garden by Historic England – see LinkExternal link.

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Grid Square
TQ1649, 726 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Sunday, 11 September, 2016   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 20 September, 2016
Geographical Context
Farm, Fishery, Market Gardening  Housing, Dwellings  Suburb, Urban fringe 
Place (from Tags)
Dorking  Deepdene  Cotmandene  Box Hill 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TQ 169 493 [100m precision]
WGS84: 51:13.8970N 0:19.5510W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TQ 169 493
View Direction
North-northeast (about 22 degrees)
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Other Tags
Walled Garden 

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Image Type (about): geograph 
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