Thursday, 2 May 2013

Stockwood House, Luton, Bedfordshire


This is the NW entrance front of Stockwood House viewed from the north at the end of the 500m drive which still exists today along with the neighbouring stable block. The house was built in 1740 for the Crawley family who had bought the land earlier in 1708 including a building described as ‘the old mansion’ (called Stockwood) which was situated near to the site of Stockwood Park and may have been demolished during its construction. John Crawley, who built the house was a tenant at Rothamsted Manor nearby, from 1738 while the house was built.

A good description of the house can be found in "History of a Bedfordshire family; being a history of the Crawleys of Nether Crawley, Stockwood, Thurleigh and Yelden in the county of Bedford" 1911

‘There are an outer and an inner hall, the latter lighted by a lantern in the roof. The staircase is of massive oak, on the east side of the inner hall. Facing you as you ascend the staircase is a wind-dial connected with a weather-cock on the roof. The walls are decorated after the style of James in the reign of Queen Anne.' (refers to James Thornhill) 'The reception rooms are on the west and south-west sides of the building, and open the one into the other. The floors of the halls and the reception rooms are of oak parquet. The kitchen and other offices are on the east side of the building, and open into the stable-yard. The gardens are extensive and beautifully timbered, but the chief delight of the grounds are the walled-in, old-fashioned rose-gardens. Stockwood is famous for its roses.’

The house fell into disrepair after a variety of uses in the C20th and was demolished by Luton town council in 1964. The painted wall decorations may possibly have been washed over during time as a children's hospital during World War 2. Or possibly they were still there when the decision was taken to demolish the hall..

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