Hoblands - memories of a former resident

The house was known as Hoblands at the time we lived there. It had a magnificent terrace and pond, which together with the house and rose garden were raised above the level of the tennis / croquet lawn / giant rhododendron sweep bordering the lawn, woodland and stream (closest to Woodheath Cottage), more rose gardens and walled vegetable garden. A newly constructed fence separated the vegetable garden with its fine oak tree from the sunken garden and swimming pool. A distinctive feature about Hoblands and its land was the amount of detailed brickwork–terrace walls along two sides of the house, the lily pond, and magnolia grandeflora up the side of the house, the steps in the garden - all of which from memory were the same kind of brick as the sunken garden over the fence in Peter Harding's garden and the swimming pool. Probably this type of brickwork appears elsewhere on the Foxbury Estate. From memory there was a pavilion in the Dunn's garden built of the same brickwork; and which you can see in one of the photos of Woodheath (when burnt down). Incidentally it was our family which added the extra door in the corner of the L shape of the house.

Mona Cox

Mona Cox on the southern flank of the house

Peter Harding was already in residence in Woodheath cottage. In the following couple of years he started clearing around the pool. He drilled a couple of large holes in the swimming pool roof, which let in more light. He filled the pool. We swam in its very cold but delightful waters. My father swung on a trapeze above the water! The Dunns moved into Hoblands Cottage some time after us, and I recall my father building a brick wall (still there) to close off the link between Hoblands and the Cottage.

Mrs TownsendWith regard to domestic help, we had a part time gardener, named Fletcher. Mrs Townsend (right) was a daily help who came from Mottingham each day 9am–1pm. I have a photo of her in front of the house (see below)! We also had a sewing lady who visited us once a fortnight, Miss Welstead, who lived in the row of cottages next door to the Ramblers Rest. I believe that both Miss Welstead and Mrs Townsend continued to work with us when we returned from Lancashire in 1963 until 1975.

Kemnal Road at the time was in poor repair with many potholes. It was a lonely road, and as children we did not walk down the road at night, only up it to the crossroads. I was a day girl at Farringtons Junior School at the time, so that was easy.

Memories that stick in the mind are: the big effort to clear the vegetable garden with the help of Fletcher when we moved in; endless days as a child playing croquet, playing in the woods (which seemed big for a child); wishing that the sunken garden and pool had not been sold off as we loved the detail with which both had been built. They were real treasures – what a pity they were knocked down for development. Climbing over the fence into Peter Harding's property to explore; the wonderful parties Mummy and Daddy held on the terrace in the summer; and our own parties in the cellar and in the drawing room at Hoblands with Mr Mombrum (who was a single act, drummer, percussion, music 1950s type disc jockey) who over the Christmas period provided the music for tens of dances!

Peter CoxHoblands was a perfect house and I'm sure all those of us who lived there felt the same.

My father, (Henry) Peter Berridge Cox (left), was a chartered accountant by profession and involved in the financing of ships. He was also a Councillor in the early 1950s. Like the whole family, he loved Hoblands. He would garden from 5.00 am in the summer before he went to London and he devised a fountain for the Lily Pond.

My sister went to school at Cheltenham Ladies College, as I did after attending Farringtons School for five years. My twin brother went to Breaside and then Carn Brea Preparatory School before going to Uppingham. Mummy and Daddy met at Heatherbank in 1939, and were married at St Nicholas Church where we, the twins, were christened in 1946.

Daddy's father, a naval captain, Henry Cox, lived with his wife Millicent at 'Long Hope' (today named 'Garth') in Camden Park Road from 1939-40 for some ten years.

Val Yorke.