Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park
Pembroke Lodge is a Grade II listed Georgian mansion in Richmond Park, London. It is located on high ground with views across the Thames valley to Windsor and Surrey. It has eleven acres (45,000 m²) of beautifully landscaped grounds, including King Henry's Mound.
The Lodge began life, sometime prior to 1754, as a cottage of one room, occupied by a molecatcher whose sole duty was to reduce the peril presented to huntsmen by moles. This cottage was enlarged to form a dwelling with four principal rooms and renamed Hill Lodge.
The Lodge was granted to the Countess of Pembroke, a "close friend" of King George III, at her request in 1787. Between 1788 and 1796 she extended the building to form the entire Georgian wing and part of the north wing. She died, aged 93, at Pembroke Lodge in 1831. After the Countess of Pembroke's death the Lodge was occupied by the Earl of Errol.
In 1847, Queen Victoria granted the Lodge to Lord John Russell, then Prime Minister, who conducted much government business there and entertained Queen Victoria, foreign royalty, aristocrats, writers (Dickens, Thackeray, Longfellow, Tennyson) and other notables of the time, including Garibaldi. Lord John was much taken with the Lodge – "an asset that could hardly be equalled, certainly not surpassed in England." Earl Russell (as he had become) died there on 28 May 1878; Fanny, his second wife, in 1898. Their daughter Lady Agatha Russell left a memorial, still standing in the rose garden: "Pembroke Lodge 1847–1902 — In loving memory of my Father and Mother, Lord and Lady Russell and of our supremely happy home at Pembroke Lodge."
Lord John Russell's grandson, Bertrand Russell, the philosopher and mathematician, grew up there between 1876 and 1894. At Pembroke Lodge, he wrote, "I grew accustomed to wide horizons and to an unimpeded view of the sunset."
From 1903, until her death there in February 1929, Pembroke Lodge was tenanted by Georgina Ward, Countess of Dudley. During World War II, the GHQ Liaison Regiment (also known as Phantom) established its regimental headquarters at Pembroke Lodge. Some of the members of the squad went on to become privy councillors, law lords, judges, MPs, a commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (Sir Robert Mark) and actors – including David Niven, who remarked in a letter, "these were wonderful days which I would not have missed for anything."
After the Second World War Pembroke Lodge became a government-run tea room. Now in private hands and restored to its former architectural glory, Pembroke Lodge is open to the public for refreshments, weddings and conferences.
- "Pembroke Lodge, Richmond upon Thames". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
- H. E. Malden (editor) (1911). A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Victoria County History. pp. 533–546.
- Pamela Fletcher Jones (1972). Richmond Park: Portrait of a Royal Playground. Phillimore & Co Ltd. p. 41. ISBN 0850334977.
- Bertrand Russell (1967). The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell 1872–1914. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. p. 19.
- "Death of Georgina, Lady Dudley: A Great Lady of the Victorian Age". Glasgow Herald. 9 February 1929.
- Guide to Richmond Park. London: Friends of Richmond Park. 2011. p. 91.
- Duncan Campbell (1 October 2010). "Sir Robert Mark obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Martyn Day (3 March 2011). "The Phantom in Richmond Park". St Margarets community website. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Colleen McDonnell (28 October 2005). "Philosophy behind ambitious restoration". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 15 June 2013.