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Kingsgate (or Old Holland House), Broadstairs, Kent: unexecuted design for a ceiling, for Henry Fox, 1st Lord Holland, 1767 (1)

Signed and dated

  • 1767


Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland (1705-74) was the second son of the wealthy financier Sir Stephen Fox (1627-1716). In 1744 he married Lady Georgiana Caroline Lennox, the daughter of the 2nd Duke of Richmond, and was created Lord Holland and Baron Foxley in April 1763, after a lengthy political career. He served as MP for Hindon in 1735-41, New Windsor in 1741-61, and Dunwich in 1761-63. Fox also served as Surveyor General in 1737-43, Lord of the Treasury in 1743-46, Secretary of the War Office in 1746-55, Secretary of State for the southern department in 1755-56, and Paymaster General in 1757-65. These various public positions, particularly that of Paymaster General, provided Fox with a lucrative income throughout his career, and in his retirement he took to building.

Kingsgate Castle (or Holland House), was built in c1762-68 by Henry Holland, on the cliffs above Kingsgate Bay, and to designs by the amateur architect, Thomas Wynn (created 1st Baron Newborough in 1776). Pevsner reports that the house was surrounded by 'a host of crazy follies, all built of flint', some of which survive. A single surviving design at Sir John Soane's Museum, for the ceiling of Lady Holland's bedroom, is evidence that Holland had approached Robert Adam for at least one interior decorative scheme in 1767. This was not executed.

Kingsgate was sold by Lord Holland's son, Charles James Fox, 2nd Lord Holland, and the house fell into ruin by the end of the eighteenth century. In 1807 Edward Gyfford (1773-1856) began planning a scheme to turn the estate into a seaside resort, but nothing came of this. Instead, it was rebuilt and enlarged by John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury (1834-1913). The remains of Lord Holland's house (now known as Old Holland House) is the nucleus of the surviving building, which was converted into flats in the early 1990s.

See also: Piccadilly, number 147

A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 20, 75; N. Pevsner, and J. Newman, The buildings of England: north east and east Kent, 1983, p. 366; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, p. 179; R.R. Sedgwick, 'Fox, Henry (1705-74), of Holland House, Kensington', History of Parliament online, 2012; 'Holland End House Little Holland House, Broadstairs and St Peters', and 'Kingsgate Castle, Broadstairs and St Peters', British listed buildings online, 2012

Frances Sands, 2012
Upated 2021.

I am grateful to Janice Dale, Rhug Estate Administrator, for information regarding Thomas Wynn. January 2021.



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Contents of Kingsgate (or Old Holland House), Broadstairs, Kent: unexecuted design for a ceiling, for Henry Fox, 1st Lord Holland, 1767 (1)