Belair Park

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Belair Park is a park located in the West Dulwich part of the London Borough of Southwark, southeast London, England. The park grounds once belonged to Belair House, a country villa built in Adam style that is now a Grade II listed building.[1] There are also two other Grade II listed structures within the park: the lodge and entrance gate, [2] and an old stable building.[3]


1785-1818: The original estate consisted of two farms until it was leased to John Willes in 1785. Willes, a maize farmer of Whitechapel, erected a house, possibly with help from Robert Adam. This house was named College Place and the lake, mentioned by Willes when he first leased the land from Dulwich College, would indicate that the original boundary of the estate but the lake was beyond that point.

1818-1859: After John Willes' death in 1818 there was a new owner, Charles Ranken, a solicitor, who renamed the house Belair.

1859–1893: Charles Hutton, a wool merchant and sheriff of London and Middlesex, purchased the remainder of the lease. It would seem that the majority of structural changes occurred during his ownership. North and South wings, together with conservatories and numerous outbuildings were constructed and added on. Eventually, Belair had 47 rooms, which is much bigger than it is today. He lived there with his wife, their eleven children, and ten live-in servants. However, the house fell into disrepair when Hutton's Berlin wool business started to lose money.

1893–1938: Sir Evan Spicer of Spicer's the paper merchants was granted a lease. In his time the house still had a farm with cows, pigs, chickens, ducks and horses including a grey carthorse called Dobbin. In the coach house by the Gallery Road entrance, there was a coach and horses to take Sir Evan and his family across Dulwich Park to Emmanuel Church in Barry Road on Sundays. The original pump outside the coach house, which was used to water the horses, is still there. Sir Evan Spicer was the last private owner of the Belair Estate.

1938–1946: Belair was sold by auction after Spicer's death. With the onset of World War II, it again fell into a state of ruin. It was used first as a store, then as premises for the military.

1946–1980: Southwark Council purchased the lease. As the main building was in such a poor state it had to be rebuilt from ground level, retaining only the original staircase. These renovations, completed in 1964, restored the house as Willes had built it without the extra wings and conservatories.

1980–1995: Still under council ownership, Belair served a similar purpose to that of a village hall. Many people remember the times when they would use the facilities for ballet lessons or as changing rooms.[citation needed] The only maintenance during this time was the painting of the exterior.

1996–2002: Gary Cady took over the running of Belair House and oversaw a complete refurbishment of the entire building, turning it into a restaurant and bar.

2002–2004: Sam Hajaj took over Belair House for two years until November 2002. No major work was carried out in this period.

2004-2013: Ibi Issolah became proprietor and took over Belair House, renaming it Beauberry House. Major refurbishment was done creating two new al fresco diners, an outside bar terrace with a 2am licence (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) and an al fresco terrace diner. The 1st floor was made into a private dining room and bar.

The refurbished house reopened on St Valentine's Day, 2006.

2013-present: Good friends Alan Dugard and local resident Arron Curtis took the reins at Beauberry House and restored it back to its original name, Belair House. With extensive interior refurbishing the house has been restored to its Georgian heritage. Belair House now boasts a warm cocktail bar, sumptuous dining room, craft ale house and multipurpose event space. The official opening took place during the festive season of 2013.

The park[edit]

The park, which is 10.6 hectares (26 acres) in area,[4] is bordered by the South Circular Road and Gallery Road. It has recently been refurbished with the tennis courts being upgraded and a skate board facility built. London Borough of Southwark has further plans for the park to make it more widely accessible.

The distance around the park using the paved paths within the park, starting and ending at the playground, is approx. 750m.

The lake is the only substantial stretch of the ancient River Effra remaining above ground.[5]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°26′35″N 0°05′24″W / 51.443°N 0.090°W / 51.443; -0.090