Tottenham House


This weekend, I spent my saturday afternoon creeping through the undergrowth of the derelict stately pile pictured above. Called Tottenham House, it was built by the Marquess of Ailesbury in the 1820's, before becoming a prep school, Hawtreys, after the war. The school abandoned the vast and crumbling building in the 1990's and it has stood empty ever since, save for a caretaker couple who live in a handful of the more than one hundred rooms.

It was certainly a very spooky place to be walking around as the evening sun dimmed over Savernake Forest. The only sound as we crept through the dark tangles of Rhododendrons came from the occasional thunder of herds of deer as they bolted through the branches before us, the stags barking their warnings in great booms.

It's amazing and melancholy to see a huge place lying in such gothic disarray, especially when you see the traces of the prep school everywhere, and imagine the thousands of children that used to play there on the overgrown sports fields. A magical place indeed.

2 comments:

Gaw said...

It sounded a satisfying sort of melancholy experience. I think you were lucky to be able to witness such decadence (amazing sound effects too). After all there are lots of immaculately restored National Trustified places nowadays. Shame it's opening as a hotel: open it as it is for the delectation of goths and romantics!

But most importantly did you find any horseradish?

worm said...

no! no horseradish was to be found! My eyes were fair swimming from over-concentration as I scanned the hedgerows! Many plants were spotted that seemed to fit the bill - but on exhumation there was no identifiable 'horseradish' smell to the roots - showing that either I still need to work on identification...or that the roots don't gain their potency until later in the year! I shall keep looking!

and as for Tottenham House, well the hotel is now on ice due to the economic climate, which means that the building continues to crumble - I should imagine that soon it will start to reach the point where it is almost beyond saving