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St. Lawrence Hall and Admiral Lord Jellicoe

 

 

 

 

There are so many grand houses in The Ventnor area, the holiday homes of well—to—do Victorians and Edwardians. One of these was St. Lawrence Hall Estate in what is now Inglewood Park. Set in over 86 acres, the house was built for a Captain Fisher by Henry Ingram and Sons of Ventnor in 1886. It was described as a ‘picturesque residence’ with five large well—appointed living—rooms on the ground floor, as well as ‘domestic offices’ kitchen, servants’ hall, housekeeper’s room, scullery, walk—in pantry all centrally heated with fireplaces. There was a range of out—buildings, stables, garages, and cottages. There were 13 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and a ‘servants ‘wing’ with 4 bedrooms. The gardener’s cottage alone had 4 bedrooms plus two living—rooms while the butler also had his own two—bedroom cottage.

 

 

 

Surrounding the house were the ‘pleasure grounds’ including a hard tennis—court and Pelham Woods. The estate also included Home Farm and Home Farm Cottage, Haven—Under—Hill, Home Cottage (total rental for the latter two being £45.4s.6d.per annum in 1925) and 8 other cottages in the village. The rest of the estate was mostly grassland and woods, it must have been a grand place to live. To this estate came Admiral Lord Jellicoe in 1924 on his retirement as Governor—General of New Zealand which he had taken up 1920.

 

 

During the first World War he was Commander—in—Chief and First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy, hero of the strategic battle of Jutland in 1916. The ‘Admiral’s Fireplace’ in the dining—room was presented to Lord Jellicoe in memory of H.M.S. New Zealand one of the battle—cruisers of the Grand Fleet that participated in naval conflicts as well as Jutland. This is the ship that took the Admiral on a 33,000 mile world cruise in 1919, prior to its break—up in 1922.

 

 

 

Sir Charles Cayzer Bt. was the father of Dowager Lady Jellicoe and lived at the Hall in the early 19OO’s. Throughout the early 2Oth.century there were several visits by King George V, Queen Mary and the then Prince of Wales and Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria and Governor of the Island. Other dignitaries visited the Admiral until his death in 1935. There were also many fetes, parades and public events that took place in the grounds.

 

 

 

In his autobiography Anthony Quayle, late director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, tells an amusing story of a visit to the Hall as a very junior member of the Shakespeare company. They performed ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ outside on the lawn to an audience of the ‘great and good’ including Princess Beatrice and her retinue. Due to a very high wind through the trees and the elderly Admiral’s deafness he scarcely heard a word of the performance or who was there.

 

 

 

 

By that time most of the estate had been sold by auction, in 1925, with about 10 acres remaining. During the war the house was empty until Mr. and Mrs. Poynter converted it to an hotel which was maintained until the demolition by fire in 1951. At that time the hotel was owned by Mr.P.Scott—Jackson who, after the fire, presented plans to the Council for development of the site for housing. After many years and several revisions to the plans the 1970's Inglewood Park development was built on the site.

 

 

Thanks to Vera Scott-Jackson for the loan of the very intersting Photos and the Original 1925 Auction Catalogue