Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park

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Coordinates: 51°26′33″N 0°17′40″W / 51.44250°N 0.29444°W / 51.44250; -0.29444

Pembroke Lodge

Pembroke Lodge is a Grade II listed[1] 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 building is of historical interest, having been the residence of the British Prime Minister Lord John (later, Earl) Russell and the childhood home of his grandson, the philosopher Bertrand Russell. It was also the regimental headquarters of the Phantom Squad during the Second World War. It is owned by the Crown Estate and is currently privately run as a catering facility and a conference and wedding venue on a long lease from The Royal Parks. It also houses a heritage charity, The Hearsum Collection.


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.[2] After the Countess of Pembroke's death the Lodge was occupied by William Hay, 17th Earl of Erroll.[2]

In 1847, Queen Victoria granted the Lodge to Lord John Russell,[3] 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."

Pembroke Lodge in the 1880s

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."[4]

From 1903, until her death there in February 1929,[5] 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.[6] 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)[7] and actors – including David Niven, who remarked in a letter, "these were wonderful days which I would not have missed for anything."[8]

After World War II Pembroke Lodge became a government-run tea room.

Current use[edit]

Now in private hands and restored to its former architectural glory,[9] Pembroke Lodge is open to the public for refreshments, weddings and conferences.

Pembroke Lodge is also the home of The Hearsum Collection, a registered charity[10] that collects and preserves the heritage of Richmond Park and is seeking to build a new purpose-built heritage centre to provide full public access to its holdings.[11][12][13][14]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Pembroke Lodge, Richmond upon Thames". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Malden, H. E., ed. (1911). A History of the County of Surrey 3. Victoria County History. pp. 533–546. 
  3. ^ Fletcher Jones, Pamela (1972). Richmond Park: Portrait of a Royal Playground. Phillimore & Co Ltd. p. 41. ISBN 0850334977. 
  4. ^ Russell, Bertrand (1967). The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell 1872–1914. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. p. 19. 
  5. ^ "Death of Georgina, Lady Dudley: A Great Lady of the Victorian Age". Glasgow Herald. 9 February 1929. 
  6. ^ Guide to Richmond Park. London: Friends of Richmond Park. 2011. p. 91. 
  7. ^ Campbell, Duncan (1 October 2010). "Sir Robert Mark obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Day, Martyn. "The Phantom in Richmond Park". St Margarets community website. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  9. ^ McDonnell, Colleen (28 October 2005). "Philosophy behind ambitious restoration". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Hearsum Collection". Open Charities. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014.  Charity registration number 1153010
  11. ^ The Heritage Pavilion (Video). Richmond Park, London: The Hearsum Collection. 11 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Our vision for the future". The Hearsum Collection. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Conserving Our Parks' Heritage". The Royal Parks Guild. Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  14. ^ Wood, Robert (Autumn 2014). "Consultation on new heritage centre". Friends of Richmond Park newsletter: 13. 

External links[edit]