Hayes (Kent) History

Hayes (Kent) History

Hayes Grove, Prestons Road

Nationally Listed Grade II

Built about 1730

The listing for Hayes Grove in 1955 describes it as an 18th century house of red brick with the following features:

Stringcourse cornice and Parapet.  Segmental-headed windows with glazing bars intact.  Consists of a centre and 2 projecting wings.  Pilasters flank each of the 3 sections – Behind the parapet of the wings are weatherboarded gables.  Central doorway up 5 wide steps with iron handrail, the doorway having fluted Doric pilasters, curved pediment and door of 6 fielded panels.  2 storeys, attic and semi-basement, 9 windows and 5 dormers.   The garden front has 2 symmetrical bays of 3 windows on ground and Ist floor, 1 round-headed window and a doorway with flat hood on brackets.

Early history  1729 – 1820

At the beginning of King George II’s reign a brewer from Wapping, Thomas Curtis, began to build a mansion in Hayes that was unfinished at his death in 1729. It was sold for £630 to Captain George Wane who completed the house that became known as The Grove. It was the traditional Georgian symmetrical building but did not yet have the projecting wings.  George Wane traded ‘as a merchant in buying and selling of wines, brandys, rum and other goods and merchandizes’.  To help his cash flow he borrowed £500 from John Roberts of Woodley, Berkshire but in 1735 was behind with the interest and a London merchant, John Small, took over the debt of £562 10s. 0d.

Gabriel Neve, a member of the Inner Temple, became the owner by 1751.  A daughter Frances was  baptised in Hayes Church in November 1752 and a son Edward in 1758. He died in 1773 leaving his estate to his wife Ann. After her death in 1775 his eldest son Philip took over the administration of his late father’s properties.

Joseph Martin, the next owner was given permission in 1773 to enclose just over an acre of Common land and  plant an avenue of trees [lime trees], most of which survive today. He died in April 1777, leaving his wife Elizabeth with a ten-month-old son Joseph William. Her second husband William Pickard, a wealthy Yorkshire gentleman, died in 1783 and by 1790 Elizabeth had married Edward Robinson and employed three resident domestic servants. A gardener and a coachman lived in separate cottages. Her son Revd Joseph Martin inherited The Grove after her death in 1805. He let it to Samuel Savage and then sold it to William Brown in 1813.

Three years later Sir Vicary Gibbs, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, who lived at Hayes Court bought the Grove.

Description of the Grove in 1820

The Grove had four storeys consisting of three attic rooms, four rooms on the first floor and three main rooms heated by stoves – drawing room, dining room and breakfast room – on the ground floor. The kitchen, scullery and wine cellars were In the basement and there was also a laundry, dairy, brewhouse and stable.

Marianne Fraser, owner 1820 – 1852

Vicary Gibbs died in 1820 and his wife’s niece, Marianne Fraser, was granted the property for her life time.  At the time she lived at Hayes Court and she continued to be a companion to her aunt Lady Gibbs who died in 1843.  She initially let the property to Samuel Nevil Ward before he bought Baston Manor in 1823 and then to Abel Moysey, whose family were great friends with the Gibbs. After her father’s death in 1831 Abel’s daughter, Charlotte Moysey, remained at Hayes Grove until her new house, Pickhurst Mead, was built on land south of Pickhurst Green.

In the drawing room in 1824 there was a Brussels carpet measuring eighteen feet by sixteen feet, in the dining room a Turkish carpet of sixteen feet six inches long by twelve feet nine inches wide, mahogany tables and a handsome sideboard.  The breakfast room had two mahogany bookcases and a large map of the world by Arrowsmith.. For insurance purposes the contents were valued, when at £450, about £20,000 today.

In 1834 Lord Strathallan stayed there for a few months before Marianne Fraser arranged for her brother Charles Fraser and his large family to stay at the Grove whilst his home, Castle Fraser, was having major alterations.  There was considerable correspondence between Marianne and her brother about the arrangements.  She described the 5 or 6 little attic rooms going the length of the roof  which could be separated by locking a door in the middle. Two back staircases meant that a  complete division could be made for staff at one end and children at the other.  The kitchen was  near the coachhouse with a colonnade approach from it to the house.  There was one man’s room over the stable and another small one in the pantry. She also said she had hired a man for the garden & odd jobs on the same term as Lord Strathallan.

The next tenant was a Mr Wickham who remained for 34 weeks paying £2 a week.  Colonel Cator then wanted to take over the lease but Marianne rejected his plans for alterations as she did not want it to become a ‘hunting establishment’ preferring a quiet tenant like Mr Wickham.

In 1838 she moved to the Grove and employed four servants.  Various changes were made to the building and towards the end of her life a verandah was removed and some chimneys pulled down and restored.

John Buswell Dudin , tenant 1856 – 1884
After Marianne Fraser’s death in 1852 the property reverted to Vicary Gibbs’ daughter Maria who had married Andrew Pilkington. She let the Grove to John Buswell Dudin, a wharfinger who lived there with six servants including the dairy maid, gardener and groom.  He married Clara Webb Pilcher, 12 years his junior,  in January 1865 and their three children were baptised in Hayes Church. They remained at the Grove until his death in 1884

Charles Marston Rose 1884 – 1899
Maria Pilkington, the Grove’s owner, died in 1879 and the property was inherited by her daughter Louisa and after John Dudin’s death lived in by her granddaughter Diana Louise, who married Charles Marston Rose, a barrister.  They had two daughters aged 2 and 1, a nurse and 4 resident servants in 1891. Diana inherited the property in 1893 and the family remained at the Grove until the property was sold in 1899.

Everard Hambro
On 25 March 1899 Diana Louise Rose sold  Hayes Grove and its three cottages to Everard Alexander Hambro of Hayes Place  for £8000.  Everard’s sister-in-law Octavia Stuart later recorded that he added the wings and rebuilt the upper storey of the house in 1899 and that the brick and tiles for the extension were obtained from the Old Bell at Bromley which was pulled down.  The work was carried out by Bromley builders Messrs T Crossley & Sons. The date can be seen on the rainwater heads.  

The property was leased to Lewis Alexander Wallace in 1900 at a rent of £330. In 1909 Sir Everard gifted the Grove to his son Harold,  a captain in the Royal Artillery. He did not live there and it continued to be rented out.  W J Wilson was the tenant from 1910-1913.

Red Cross Hospital 1914

With the outbreak of the First World War the Grove was prepared for use as an additional hospital for 20 patients. Sir Everard Hambro supplied the equipment and gave £5 a week towards the upkeep.

 It was required until 1916 when it was leased at a rent of £300 a year to Ann Ommaney Torrens who moved from Baston Manor. She died in 1924 but her son Matt remained until 1930, the year his daughter Betty married  Randle Baker Wilbraham of Rode Hall, Cheshire.

Sale of the Grove 1930

The property and its land were put up for sale on 18 September 1930 by Colonel Harold Hambro CBE The property was described as : The Fine Jacobean Residence stands about 270 feet above sea level facing South-East and contains – Entrance and Lounge Halls, three Reception rooms, eleven Bed and Dressing rooms, two bathrooms and complete offices.  Mains Water and Electricity – Modern drainage, Central Heating, Telephone, Two Garages, Stabling, Cottage.  The pleasure grounds included fruit and flower gardens, formal garden and a hard tennis court and extended over 8 acres.

Mr Leslie Cathcart Harris of the firm Tysoe & Harris bought it for £7800.  It was thought that the house with its eleven bedrooms and three reception rooms would be suitable for a residential hotel.  There were restrictions on it being used except as a private dwelling house, practice of a doctor, dentist or solicitor, residential club, hotel or conversion into no more than three self contained flats.  It was bought for £2500 by Dorothea Wilding, wife of Henry Wilding of Gadsden. The remaining eight acres of land were developed for housing and formed Grove Close, Hayes Close and part of West Common Road. In 1933 Henry Seymour Guinness at the age of 75 became the registered owner. By then he had retired from his many activities as Director of Bank of England and Assistant Director of Arthur Guinness, Son & Company.

Second World War

In February 1940 the Bromley Mercury reported birth of a granddaughter to Mr & Mrs H S Guinness of Hayes Grove.  Sadly their daughter Heather’s husband Clifton Penn-Hughes had been killed an aeroplane crash the previous July.

Hayes Grove was utilised by various branches of the armed forces during the Second World War.  It became the headquarters of the Royal Corps of Signals who left in October 1944 and were replaced by the Royal Engineers

Henry Guinness died in April 1945  and by the end of the year Mrs Margaret Dobson was the owner and had paid £5500. for Hayes Grove. The widowed Lady Margaret Monroe lived there until 1951 with her son Hubert Holmes Monroe, his wife and young daughter. who were in the Mews Cottage.

Home for retired hospital nurses 1951 – 1980

Hayes Grove next became a home for retired semi-invalided nurses. It was purchased by King Edward VII’s Hospital Fund for £9000 and opened in 1953 with Dorothy Stobbs  as sister-in-charge followed by Margaret Stevenson in 1966. Lady Wilbraham, daughter of Matthew Torrens, who had lived at the Grove in her youth became the patron of the group of Friends who raised funds for the home.

 The Home closed in 1980.

Use as a hospital 1983 to date

In January 1981 Sloane Independent Hospitals of Albermarle Road, Beckenham, applied for permission to convert the property, pull down outbuildings and construct a two-storey block and operating theatre. Approval was granted in August 1981 for its use as a hospital but all fireplaces surrounds & grates on the ground floor and first floor rooms were to remain. In 1982 it was sold to Community Psychiatric Centres (CPC), a private American Company for £300,000 and Hayes Grove Priory Hospital opened in 1983.

Subsequently, various extensions  have been made to the building and changes to its management structure but it continues to provide mental health services today.