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Sydney Lodge, Hamble, Hampshire for the Hon. Mrs Yorke, 1792-1796 (15)

1792
Soane's patron was Agneta Yorke (1740-1820) second wife of Lord Chancellor Charles Yorke and step-mother of Philip Yorke later 3rd Earl of Hardwick who Soane had met in Italy. Both Yorkes were to commission Soane for various works see, for example, Hamels Park, Hertfordshire, 1781-93 and Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, 1791-5 for Philip Yorke. Soane re-modelled Tyttenhanger in Hertfordshire, 1783 and 1789 (no drawings) for Mrs Yorke.

The entries under Mrs Yorke in Soane's office 'Ledger B' include one for 3 May 1789 showing that Soane went to Sydney Farm near Southampton and 'surveyed situation'. A few days later a plan and section and estimate for the 'proposed Alterations' was left with Mrs Yorke and then a plan and elevation of outhouses. However in December 1790 Soane was paid £10 'in full' for his proposals for alterations. Two years later, he began making designs for a new house. The entries under 'The Honble Mrs Yorke' in Soane's office 'Journal No 2' begin on 1 December 1792 when six small variant plans and elevations were sent to Mrs Yorke, a visit from Soane to Sydney Farm followed to discuss the designs, and more were sent on 23 January 1793 and brought back with the earlier ones by Soane. Four more 'fair' drawings followed and seven more in February and then '18 working drawings on 18 sheets of Cartridge paper' on 28 March. Digging out the ground was discussed on March 23 - John Pullinger was the clerk of works. Building work under Pullinger went on in 1794 with sketches made for stables in March of that year. A kitchen range and chimney-pieces were installed from the end of 1794. The final building cost was £4684:5:4. 'Journal No 4' finishes the entries for Mrs Yorke with - 22 April 1798 - 'Sent to Prince Edward at / Kensington palace / 1 plan of the Ground floor / 4 Elevations of diff: fronts …'. Prince Edward (1767-1820, later Duke of Kent) was the fifth son of George III and father of Queen Victoria. Perhaps he thought of commissioning Soane to design a villa for him?

Built of Beaulieu stock bricks with Portland stone dressings and a shallow pitched slate roof, brown mathematical tiles (since replaced with modern mathematical tiles) were hung on the 'inward-facing elevations of the attics at high level, allowing for the insertion of the main-stair roof lantern' (P.Dean, op.cit, p.180). In Ptolomey Dean's typescript inventory (for the Soane Monuments Trust, copy at Soane Museum) he wrote that 'DS [Dorothy Stroud] reports that the south and east sides are clad in mathematical tiles, for protection agains driving rain.' However, Dean argues that 'their colour and weathering is an exact match with the brickwork of the surrounding elevations suggesting that these elevations were always of brick.'

Sydney Lodge survives still: the exterior like the core of the interior where a ground floor chimney-piece remains, is mostly unaltered. The house was bought by Folland Aircraft Ltd (later Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd) from a Major Goldman in 1936.

Literature. G. Richardson, Vitruvius Britannicus ,1808; N.Pevsner and D.Lloyd, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 1967, pp. 267-8; D.Stroud, Sir John Soane architect, 2nd ed.,1996, pp.140-1; P.Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate, 1999, pp.179-80

Jill Lever, February 2012
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