Hayes Grove Cottage
West Common Road
Grade II Listed Building
From end 18th century
Hayes Grove Cottage started its life as two cottages that seem to have been built towards the end of the 18th century on Churchfield, land owned by the Parish, by a journeyman bricklayer George Kadwell who occupied one of the cottages. Thomas Kelly, a shepherd, and his family were in the other cottage in 1794. An additional larger cottage was built by 1810 and occupied by Mrs White.
The Grade II listing made in 1973 suggests that part of the original cottage was 17th century but that it was altered in the 19th century. Its description of the building is
‘2 storey brick with tiled roof and half-timbered upper storey. Brick dentil eaves cornice. Three 19th century windows. Ground floor cambered arches.’
Mrs White, who lived in the more substantial cottage died in 1824 and her place was taken by Mr Cook. A small painting of his house was made in the 1840s and provides a good illustration of how the property looked.
The neighbouring cottage formerly occupied by George Kadwell and Backett Chapman was painted about the same time.
The area was beginning to change as the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 resulted in local Parish workhouses being amalgamated into the Bromley Union, administered by a Board of Guardians.
The Parish owned Churchfield on which these cottages were built. The lease expired in 1853 and it was agreed that the Bromley Board of Guardians could sell all the land and its cottages to Lady Pilkington in 1856. It included the cottages occupied by Mrs Mary Cook, Thomas Smith and William Davis that later formed the single dwelling known today as Hayes Grove Cottage.
Lady Pilkington allowed Mary Cook to continue as a tenant until her death in 1867. On 24 June 1872 she granted a 21 years lease at £58 a year to Horace Mann, a barrister. He became Secretary of the Civil Service Commission in December 1875 and retired on pension in 1887. Included in the lease was permission to convert the nearby cottage which had lately been used by the Common Ranger, John Spraggs, into a stable.
Considerable improvements were made by Horace Mann as the cottages were made into one building. By 1892, however, he seems to have moved to the Reform Club, Pall Mall.
In September 1892 Lady Pilkington’s heir, Louisa Lee, leased Hayes Grove Cottage to Thomas Duncombe Mann, also a barrister, for 21 years at £95 a year. He was married to Marie with two sons,Thomas Basil aged 10 and Frederick aged 7. However, the following year Louisa Lee died and in her will she instructed her executors to sell certain real estate including Hayes Grove Cottage.
Sale of Hayes Grove Cottage 1893
Horace Mann bought the property for £1700. Thomas Duncombe Mann, who had been appointed clerk to the Metropolitan Asylum Board in 1891, continued to be the leaseholder.
The upper storey of part of the house went over the public footpath and became a nuisance as it was used by vagrants. A new footpath was created to the north of the building and in 1893 permission was eventually granted to close the old footpath under the house.
A painting shows the old path and later photographs shows how the footpath was filled in and additional accommodation obtained in the house.
Thomas Mann’s daughter Margaret was born in 1898 and baptised in Hayes Church. In 1901 the census recorded that his son Thomas was still living with them and had become a stockbroker’s clerk. They employed three servants, a cook, housemaid and nurse. When Margaret was older a governess, Hilda Plant, the daughter of the local school headmaster, was appointed.
In 1910 Grove Cottage was describes as an ‘old detached brick & tile house. It is really two cottages converted into a house. Low-pitched rooms and some of these are approached through others. Roof defective. The land has a road frontage, also two staircases.’
In 1915 Thomas was knighted for his ‘many years of strenuous and able work in the public service’. In the same year his son Frederick married Vincenzia Chiappini from Cape Colony in Hayes Parish Church. He was an engineer but at that time was an acting Lieutenant, an Inspector of Ordnance, in the Army Ordnance Corps. His older brother Thomas, who had become a stockjobber, joined up in July 1915 and was a Major with the 10th Battalion London Regiment.
Part of Hayes Court School
Horace died in 1917 and his will gave Sir Thomas Duncombe Mann, one of his executors, the right to buy Hayes Grove Cottage within three months of his death. He bought the property but on 3 April 1919 he sold Hayes Grove Cottage to Arthur Kilpin Bulley, who purchased it on behalf of his niece, Katherine Cox, who established an exclusive girls’ boarding school at Hayes Court. Over the next 20 years Hayes Grove Cottage was used for staff accommodation and later for pupils.
Post War history
It is unclear how Hayes Grove Cottage was used in the Second World War but after the war it returned to private accommodation. Mrs Clipston was followed by the Misses Clark and then George Proctor, an estate agent, lived there from 1967 to 1976. During this time the property was sympathetically restored and became listed. Mr Jones followed and the property was put up for sale in 1987 at a price of £395,000. It was described as ‘a dream house’ with three/four elegant reception rooms, six bedrooms, three with bathrooms ensuite and a galleried landing. In recent years the Tolson family lived there. It remains an attractive property on the edge of Hayes Common.