Surrey – Addington Place

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Around 4 miles east of Croydon, Surrey.

Location – Google Map

The second on the list of locations associated with Brown, and yet again one that appears difficult to read; at least as far as 18th Century landscaping goes. Immediately evident is the fact that golf reigns supreme across much of the landscape, and whilst this could be said to have erased traces of any Brown landscape, some may argue it could also have preserved it.

It would be all too easy to write this off as a lost landscape, but all may not be lost. Addington Place the mansion, largely as we see it today was constructed by 1778 by the architect Robert Mylne, and Capability Brown’s involvement appears to have followed in the late 1770s to early 80s. House ownership changed hands after the century turned, becoming the home for a series of Canterbury’s Arch Bishops, and at this point Addington changed from Place, to Palace.

The closing years of the 19th Century saw the mansion change hands again, to Frederick Alexander English, who enlisted the help of architect Richard Norman Shaw to make improvements, enlarging the main building in the process. English died in 1909, and for a few years the house and estate held an uncertain future, settling finally after the war to the Addiscombe Garden Estate. Much of the landscape became Addington Golf Club, opening in 1922. Later in the 1920s more of the landscape was converted to golf, becoming the Addington Palace Golf Club, some land also sold for building. It was at this point that the palace began its life as a hotel, which continues again today in an altered form.

Around 1930 the Croydon Corporation bought a southern section of the estate for use as a public park, and twenty years later again they also acquired the house and more parkland, the latter parkland continuing the golfing theme. The future of the mansion once again became more secure, as for the next forty years it became the Royal School for Church Music.

Today, the aerial views show a landscape heavily converted to golf, which itself has built a solid and relevant history with continued use. Without a visit to go by, I’m assuming (hoping) some early landscape trees exist within the golf course shelter belts, but either way, a green and pleasant oasis Addington continues to be. Websites associated with the golf speak of high quality, well designed courses, with views from certain points towards the London city skyline.

In my brief research I was drawn to the new use of the mansion as a hire venue, and the interior appears very well appointed and respected. It has featured on television numerous times, at one point as the venue for a Girls Aloud video, and more recently forming the advert venue for celebrities taking part in the 2012 Strictly Come Dancing series – I’ll let you decide which, if any you’d like to click on for a video highlight!

 Girls Aloud – Jump

Strictly Come Dancing

Addington Palace is on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England Grade II. Although the manicured golf courses across the wider landscape have lost their clarity as a Brown landscape, they appear to have taken on an equally impressive form. The house, as mentioned is running as a functions venue under the title of Addington Palace, and could therefore be considered relatively secure. (Open days during the year allow access to the main building, and information is available on their website.) Additionally, Addington Park at the southern end of the estate appears to be more easily accessible.

Reading for this post and further information available at:

Parks & Gardens Information – Addington

Addington Palace Open Days

Croydon Online Addington Palace History

As always, if you have any more information or photos that could help in people’s understanding and appreciation of Capability Brown’s Addington, then please do get in touch, and i’ll be happy to add/adjust the post.

Please contact using the comments form or via email: CapabilityBrown2016@gmail.com

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About Lancelot Capability Brown

Hello and Welcome to my Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown blog! I thrive on the richness and diversity found within our historic gardens and landscapes and I hope through this blog to paint a picture of Lancelot Brown’s 18th Century world, his landscapes and life. I’d like this blog to spread the Brownian word far and wide, so please join in, suggest post subjects, send in potential articles or links to anything and everything with 'Capability'. I’ll also be looking forward to the Capability Brown Tercentenary Celebration of his birth in 2016, and look forward to an incredible year where the work of Brown can receive more praise and recognition than ever before. I've also launched a Twitter account under the title of @Brown2016 where for the next few years I plan to help spread the word and at the very least play my part in the build-up to a special year for all who enjoy landscape gardening in its true form. All views are my own and do not represent those of any organisation.
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