Plan a Tour of Lutyens Buildings
An area-by-area guide to planning tours of Lutyens buildings in Britain and abroad.
The common legacy (or at least some of it) follows, without reference to private houses that cannot be seen from a public road or path, unless they are open at least occasionally for charity. Buildings, etc., are grouped geographically (except that a list of churches and chapels has been added). This is essentially a ‘starter kit’ and further references should be made, especially to the county volumes of the Buildings of England series.
In south-west Surrey, Thursley, the village of Lutyens’s childhood, would still be recognizable to him. He lived in the Georgian house in the centre of the village, west of the road Junction: it was, unbelievably (for a family of fourteen), smaller in his day. The Corner, north of Thursley Street, was where he did his first additions for Mr Edmund Gray. Half-way down the lane south-wards is the Institute he built for the Revd Gooch, the vicar and a family friend (now Prospect Cottage, etc.), and this lane leads to the church, St Michael’s. In the churchyard are Lutyen’s memorials to his mother (1906) and to Derek Lutyens (1918).
Milford House, the home of Robert and Barbara Webb, has remained a sad ruin, beside the road northwards out of the village towards Godalming, since the fire in 1981. There are constant schemes for restoration, but the Wren-like details that so inspired the young Lutyens are gone for ever. There are cottages by Lutyens to the west, in the centre of the village on the road to the church – which has some curious old Webb family tombs.
The small bronze tablet Lutyens designed in memory of Barbara Webb is on the chancel wall of All Saints, Witley, on the A283 south from Milford. The village school opposite is Lutyensesque – and note the White Hart as typical of the Surrey picturesque that inspired Helen Allingham, Randolph Caldecott and Ned Lutyens. Farther south on the A283, over the railway and east of the road, is Wood End (1897), and farther on, at the turning to Hambledon, is Tigbourne Court, the exciting and beautifully crafted house of 1899 built by Sir Edgar Horne M.P. for his daughter.
By travelling east from Milford to Milford Station (where Lutyens often travelled with ‘Angelina’ in the guard’s van), following Station Lane east to Hyde-style crossroads and turning left and north into Hambledon Road, you will climb through a definitive Jekyll-style hollow lane, where she loved to drive her pony and trap, fast! At the top of the hill, on the right, are some of the cottages built for Jekyll family retainers, and a turn right, a little further on into Homefarm Road will bring you face to face with Gertrude Jekyll’s Hut (1894), once secluded in the garden of Munstead Wood, but now right on the Brighton Road. Across the Brighton Road, Munstead Heath Road passes, on the right, Munstead House (private) built for Mrs Julia Jekyll by J. J. Stevenson and later the home of Sir Herbert and Lady Jekyll. On the left, glimpsed via Heath Lane, Munstead Wood (private), where the garden is open occasionally for the National Gardens Scheme. By walking down Heath Lane, Lutyens’s Thunder House on the wall, Miss Jekyll’s former stables and gardener’s cottage (Munstead Orchard), may be glimpsed. The lane meets the main road at St John’s Church, Busbridge. The war memorial is a Lutyens Cross; in the church there is a beautiful chancel screen for the Mellersh and Graham families, friends of the Jekylls and Webbs, and immediately outside the east end of the church, the Jekyll family tomb and the Julia Jekyll and Francis McLaren graves.
In Godalming High Street, the museum has Lutyens and Jekyll exhibits. At Compton take Down Lane (leading to the Watts Gallery and Mortuary Chapel), and a footpath westwards follows the Pilgrim’s Way (passing Limnerslease, Watts’s house by Sir Ernest George) to Lutyens’s Pilgrim’s Way Bridge (1931) for the original Godalming bypass. In Shalford off King’s Road, the B2128, there is a car-park for the Chinthurst Hill open space, where part of the land which Maggie Guthrie acquired so mysteriously now offers walkers her view, one of the finest views in this countryside of fine views. Her Lutyens house is in the trees on the south slope and private, but the lodges can be seen in Chinthurst Lane, Wonersh. Follow the Dorking road, the A248, eastwards through Chilworth and Albury the Tillingbourne valley road that Lutyens so often travelled. In Shere, where the Bray family are still lords of the manor, are Lutyens’s cottages, last but one on the left before East Lodge with its prominent green gable. In the Street, Summers’ Barber’s Shop still has its sign (1894), and the lynch gate at St James Church is well worth close examination.
Continue east along the Abinger Hammer and turn right for Abinger Common: here is another Lutyens War Cross and, to the west of the path, next to the wall, there are the tombs of Sir Frederick and Lady Mirrielees, the builders of Goddards. Directly outside the east end of the church are John Arthur and Emily Gibbs ‘of Goddards’. The house itself is clearly visible on the west side of the green with the Victorian well on it, south of the Church. In Pixham Lane, Dorking, is a marvellous small church by Lutyens of 1903, to serve the expanding community and paid for by Miss Mayo, who lived in Pixham Lane.
Back in west Surrey, at Tilford the Institute or Village Hall cum cricket pavilion (1896) is on the green and still the backdrop for famous matches. It will be remembered that Gerard Streatfeild of Fulbrook was a supporter of the Tilford team for many years, and so was J. M. Barrie – whose Black Lake Cottage is just outside the village. David Rayner Allen’s ‘Peter Pan and Cricket’ is recommended reading. In Farnham’s South Street, next to Sainsbury’s car-park, is the Liberal Club (1894), built under the patronage of Arthur Chapman of Crooksbury by a local builder, Mr Patrick, who stood much of the cost himself. It originally included a library, reading-room, billiard-room (the best in town) and meeting-rooms.
The Basing House ruins are well signed and worth a visit. The bricks of this marvellous ruin, in which Inigo Jones was a prisoner of Cromwell’s siege, are a peculiar rich orange. These details inspired Lutyens to build Daneshill House (c. 1903) for Walter Hoare – it can be seen prominent on its ridge to the north of Swing Swang Lane, all now in the town’s industrial estate. At Daneshill Round-about turn north to find the Daneshill Brick and Tile Works office by Lutyens, now restored as the estate office, in Bilton Road on the Kingsland Business Park.
Alfred Lyttelton’s Wittersham House, ‘suavely neo-Georgian’, with pantiles, can be seen in the village, the war memorial may be by Lutyens. At Rolvenden there are Tennant memorials in the church, and down Rolvenden Layne, first on the right, white clapboard cottages (miniature of Goddards) for Great Maytham, which is further on the right – splendid gatehouse and avenue approach. Great Maytham’s (The Sunley Group) garden is occasionally open, and house and garden may be seen upon written request. At Northiam, Great Dixter and Christopher Lloyd’s marvellous garden in its Lutyens and Nathaniel Lloyd framework are open every day except Mondays (but Bank Holiday Mondays) from April till October. Plaxtol churchyard extension has magnificent Dalison tombs at the end of the central path.
London & Environs
The London buildings are best appreciated on foot, and are grouped for convenient walks: Reginald McKenna’s London house, is beside St John’s church, at the corner of Dean Trench Street; it has been completely altered inside. The houses by Lutyens for Francis McLaren and his sister Lady Norman are both in Great Peter Street, though they are actually the Corner House, Cowley Street and 8 Little College Street. In Tufton Street is the building which began as St john’s Institute, built for Archdeacon Wilberforce through the McKenna connection; it is now partly the Church Union Faith House bookshop and partly Watts & Company. Further south, via Marsham Street, are the Page Street flats, famous for their chequerboard patterned walls. Also shop pavilions and entry details – built 1929-30 for Westminster Council, Lutyens only public housing.
From Westminster, walk up Whitehall, passing the Cenotaph to Trafalgar Square: the fountains, similar to those in New Delhi, and the paving, are the memorial to Admirals Jellicoe and Beatty. Their busts are by Sir William Reid Dick. (The lions are, of course, by Lutyens’s godfather, Sir Edwin Landseer.) In Pall Mall Nos. 67-68 has a facade by Lutyens for Victor Behar (1928); there was originally a banking hall below with flats above – note that the windows of each floor are different. No. 120 was for Crane Bennett & Company. North, in St James’s Square, No. 7, on the corner of Duke of York Street, was the town house of Gaspard and Henry Farrer. The mews behind, Apple Tree Yard, was where Lutyens had Delhi office and William Nicholson his studio – nothing of either remains, all the character engulfed in soulless offices. Across Jermyn Street walk through St James’s Church to get the feeling of Wren before Lutyens’s Midland Bank, 196a Piccadilly, comes into view; the banking hall is well preserved. Farther west, in Park Lane, Lutyens did the facade of Grosvenor House Hotel (1926) and in Victoria of Terminal House (1927), Grosvenor Gardens.
Note: Almost all of Lutyens’s London commissions of the 1920s and 30s were for exteriors only (often with entrance halls and directors’ offices), but interiors, for banking or offices, were a specialized, cost-controlled job for bread-and-butter architects, and have usually been endlessIy refurbished. Conversely, the private houses, many in Mayfair, where Lutyens worked show no signs of his attentions on their outsides.
A second clutch of London buildings will be found in the West Central area. Lord Cheylesmore’s Memorial is in Embankment Gardens. Nos 2-10 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, was the original Country Life office of 1904 for Edward Hudson; 42 Kingsway was for ‘The Garden’ (1906) for Hudson and William Robinson. In Great Russell Street, the Bedford Square end, is Lutyens’s YWCA building (1928) which has an interesting history, good stairways, Queen Mary Hall and small library surviving. Most of these rooms are let for various uses, and can most likely be seen upon inquiry. In Tavistock Square is the memorial to Dame Louisa Blake (the corner of Endsleigh Place), and via Tavistock Place and Cartwright Gardens is Lutyens’s Burton Street facade of the original Theosophical Society building for Mrs Annie Besant (1911). The building was never finished for the TS, it was bought by the British Medical Association and completed by C. Wontner Smith.
A City group begins in Fleet Street, with Lutyens and Wren together again, with Reuters, 85 Fleet Street, for Sir Roderick Jones (1935), cheek by jowl with St Bride’s Church. There was originally the Cogers public house (now the photographic library) for the journalists. In St Paul’s, besides Lutyen’s pupil, Curtis Green’s, plaque in the crypt, is Lutyens’s tomb for Admiral Beatty and the gold flagon, chalice and paten and silver-gilt vases as a memorial to Baron Stevenson who died in 1926. Outside, the west front lamp standards are by Lutyens.
The Midland Bank headquarters building (now closed, awaiting refurbishment) has facades on Poultry and Princes Street, next to the Bank of England. The banking hall is in splendid Lutyens grand style. In Finsbury Circus is the large headquarters building, for Anglo-Persian Oil, later BP and now back in the same company ownership after an interval as let offices and various refurbishments. Lutyens did the entrance hall, lifts and stairs to the directors’ suite, as he did at the Midland Bank. Moorgate Station is by Lutyens, part of the office building development. Also the City branch of the Midland, 140-144 Leadenhall Street (now a bar).
On Tower Hill is the Mercantile Marine Memorial, 1926-8, added to by Sir Edward Maufe after the Second World War.
At Greenwich, in the Maritime Museum, memorial to Sir James Caird. The Royal Naval Division Memorial is at the Horseguards Parade.
To the west of London, Hampton Court Bridge pays another tribute to Wren’s Palace building; the corner pavilions were never built and the bridge was altered for traffic reasons after the Second World War. At Hampton Court Palace the Chapel Royal has the splendid large altar cross in brass designed for Charlotte Dalison (Beresford Peirse) in memory of her husband (see Dalison tombs, above).
At Runnymede the road (A308) layout and bridge over the Thames were designed in connection with the gift of Runnymede to the nation, but have been altered for traffic reasons (the M25 now uses the bridge). The memorial to Urban Hanlon Broughton (d. 1929) who gave Runnymede, consists of the kiosks, piers and lodges at the Windsor end. The Broughtons (Cara Broughton became Lady Fairhaven) lived at Park Close – opposite them Mrs Julia Clark lived at Parkwood – and Mrs Clark’s tomb, and that of her parents, Lord and Lady Baillieu, are probably two of Lutyens’s finest. They are in the churchyard of St John’s, Windlesham.
In Windsor the Doll’s House is at the Castle; Lutyens designed the tomb for King George V and Queen Mary in St George’s Chapel, and his memorial to King George V is at the corner of Datchet Road. In Eton, beside the College playing fields, is the bridge erected in memory of Denys Finch-Hatton, killed in a flying accident in Africa in 1933 – his story is told by Karen Blixen in ‘Out of Africa’.
At Wargrave, the war memorial and Hannen Columbarium are by Lutyens. Deanery Garden, the first house for Edward Hudson, is prominent in the centre of Sonning, with chauffeur’s etc. cottages opposite. The white, cliff-like Nashdom, for Princess Alexis Dolgorouki, is beside the Bourne End road from Taplow to Cliveden. Folly Farm, at Sulhamstead, opens the garden for charity (see National Gardens scheme Annual booklet
Campion Hall in Brewer Street, Oxford. Ashby St Ledgers near Daventry rewards a quiet walk-around: the Manor can be clearly seen from the village and from the churchyard of St Leodegarius and the Virgin Mary, which contains Lutyens’s memorial to Lord Wimborne and the tomb of Lord and Lady Wimborne – here lies Alice. In the village is a long row of cottages, dated 1908, with Ivor Guests initials and, on the road to Long Buckby, the former lodge to the Ashby Lodge Estate which Lutyens converted into a golf pavilion for Lord Wimbourne. The adjoining golf course, made after the First World War, has reverted to farmland.
Victoria Park, Leicester, the War Memorial and Gate
The tomb of F E Smith, Lord Birkenhead in Charlton churchyard , Northants. At Stowe by Chartley in Staffordshire, in the lovely Norman church of St John the Baptist, are Lutyens tablets to General Sir Walter Congreve VC and his eldest son, William ‘Billy’ Congreve VC who was killed in the Battle of the Somme. Edward Hudson had intended to leave Lindisfarne Castle to him.
The North of England
Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King: the Crypt was built to Lutyens’s design before the Second World War and gives an overwhelming impression of what the whole might have been. If his cathedral had been built, neither his reputation nor his legacy would ever have been questioned.
Abbey House is now a prominent hotel on the road into town; it was built as a guest house for visitors to the Vickers shipyards, 1913. Rosneath, Dumbartonshire: the Ferry Inn. All that remains of Lutyens’s great hopes of the royal patronage of H.R.H. Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne, are the truncated remains of his wings.
Gullane, East Lothian
Grey Walls, originally built for Alfred Lyttelton, then owned by William and Edward James, and then sold to Lt.-Col Sir James Horlick and still owned by his family. After the Second World War, his daughter, Ursula Weaver, had the bright and necessary idea of using her inherited house as a hotel and it remains marvellously so. In Berwick on Tweed church there is a very early Lutyens chancel screen which may be connected with his father’s client Sir William Miller at Manderston nearby.
Whalton Manor, near Newcastle, in the village street.
Lindisfarne Castle, on Holy island, belongs to the National Trust.
Heathcote can be seen from the Kings Road Ilkley, and from below in Grove Road. Head office of N G Bailey & Company, to whom requests to visit may be made.
Knebworth House in Hertfordshire (open to the public): much of Lutyens’s work for his sister-in-law, the Countess of Lytton, can be seen, in the entrance hall, picture gallery, library and white drawing-room; the formal layout of the garden was entirely done by Lutyens and the Countess (with at least one visit from Miss Jekyll). In the park, the old church overflows with the sense that, at the last, Lutyens ministered to the sad and untimely ends of his patrons – in the church are the memorials to the Lyttons’ sons, John and Antony, the former killed at El Alamein in 1942, the latter killed flying in 1933. The churchyard, south side and south-east corners, has the distinctive Lutyens tombstones for the Lytton family, the Lafones (Pamela Lytton’s sister Beryl), the Buchanans and the family nannies.
In new Knebworth is St Martin’s church, pantiled and rather alarming, but with definite Lutyens style inside; it was completed by Professor Albert Richardson. In the old village there are many Lutyens cottages alongside the earlier building patronage of the Lyttons, and evidence, in Deards End Lane, of the houses and golf clubhouse, part of a development Lord Lytton planned with Alfred Lyttelton’s help before the First World War. The holly edges were part of Lutyens’s plan.
East Wretham, off the Thetford-East Dereham road, just north of Thetford, has the beautiful memorial to Marc Noble in the little church set in an unchanged countryside remoteness. Belton House, Lincolnshire, has a curious cross on the outside wall of the east end, next to Lord Brownlow’s tomb (an unidentified detail but similar to Aubrey Herbert’s chapel at Brushford).
On the north Norfolk coast a walk around Overstrand (for which there is a leaflet to guide you) will reveal all the towers, gateways and quirks of Lord Battersea’s building at the Pleasaunce, plus another curious Lutyens chapel, with pantiles and tiled decoration.
The West of England
At Mells a leaflet describes the interesting buildings – Lutyens’s memorial to Mark Horner is opposite the village shop, the war memorial to Hedward Horner (Sir Alfred Munnings’s equestrian statue) and Raymond Asquith and various gifts from Lady Horner, who was a skilled embroideress. The churchyard, on the south-east, has the Horner tombs (and, not by Lutyens, those of Mgr Ronald Knox and Siegfried Sassoon) and the McKenna graves; the yew avenue was Lutyens’s idea and the manor can be seen from the churchyard.
Near Stroud, in Gloucestershire, Misarden Park, Miserden, the garden where Lutyens worked for the Wills family, is opened midweek throughout the summer (and also for the National Gardens Scheme). Farther north, at Stow-on-the-Wold, Nether Swell village green has the war memorial and bus shelter paid for by Mark Fenwick: Abbotswood garden is open for the National Gardens Scheme.
Back South, Hestercombe near Taunton in Somerset is open every day from May to September. Castle Drogo, National Trust, is opened as advertised by the Trust. In south Devon, the coastal footpath along the Erme estuary, approached via Mothecombe (the house Lutyens altered for the Mildmays), will not reveal any Lutyens work in detail but follows the former Barings’ Membland estate road and explains why they loved this part of the world – the path westwards leads to Stoke Point (now a caravan site) and the church of St Peter the Poor Fisherman, on the beach, from which the Revelstoke title was taken. Mothecombe House garden is occasionally open (National Gardens Scheme).
Republic of Ireland
The gardens of Howth Castle are open to the public. The large and eminently sad Irish National War Memorial is next to the rowing club at Islandbridge, Dublin, on the other side of the river from Phoenix Park. Much more cheerful but not dissimilar in style is Heywood House garden, the Salesian Fathers’ Community School at Ballinakill in Port Laoise, which is open to visitors under Irish government ownership.
Les Bois des Moutiers at Varengeville, Lutyens’s house for the Mallet family is open throughout the summer and makes a convenient prelude to the roads south to the war memorials. The major Lutyens works are:
Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas-de-Calais, and Hersin Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas-de-Calais; also Berlin CCE and the memorial to the missing and cemetery, Faubourg d’Amiens, Arras; the memorial to the missing at St Quentin, Nord; Etaples Military Cemetery; the memorial to the missing of the Somme at Thiepval; the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Somme; and the Australian National War Memorial.
In Washington, DC, the British Embassy is in Massachusetts Avenue, just west of Dupont Circle.
The President’s House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi can be visited. For more information see http://presidentofindia.nic.in/rbvisit.html. The garden is usually open to all in February and March.
Note on Churches
There is still a Betjemanesque legacy that favours architects who worked on churches. Edwin Lutyens longed to do churches to emulate Wren, but he was never associated with any church establishment. His churches came via private clients and are as follows: The Cathedral of Christ the King, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool (crypt only built, but marvellously impressive). The Great Model for the Cathedral is in the Walker Art Gallery. Hampstead Garden Suburb: St Jude’s Church and the Free Church in Central Square, Hampstead. St Martin’s, Knebworth, Herts (completed by Sir Albert Richardson). Church in Pixham Lane, Dorking, for St Mary’s, Dorking, for Miss Mayo. Campion Hall, Oxford, chapel. Hon. Aubrey Herbert Memorial Chapel, Brushford, Somerset. Methodist Chapel, Cliff Road, Overstrand, Norfolk.
Taken from ‘Lutyens and the Edwardians, an English architect and his clients’ by Jane Brown (with minor corrections in the light of new information). Published by Viking 1996.
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