Inglewood print

In 1962 Inglewood was demolished to make way for the block of flats that now bears the name. Above we show a print of the original house.

There are some photographs of the original house on this page. They were provided by Jean Percy who now lives in Gloucestershire, but who was brought up and lived in Inglewood for many years. She remembers Kemnal Road then, with stables and gardeners' cottages. She also recalls that Mulbarton Court "had such a large garden that the owner, Mrs Molins, bought a bicycle to get round it". She remembers that Sir Hugh and Lady Fraser lived at Selwood House at that time.

Inglewood photo

Inglewood was built on land of about 2.25 acres acquired from Earl Sydney’s Estate and completed in 1882. It was built by William Buxton. The sale contract required that the outlay on the building of the house be not less than £3,000. This appears to have been a common stipulation on land acquired from Earl Sydney’s Estate, and applied also, for example, to South Laund.

A print of the house was reproduced in The Architect Magazine in July 1881 - see above - with the following commentary: “This residence, which is now approaching completion, has been erected from the designs of Mr. W. J. Buxton, ARIBA, of Great James Street, Bedford Row. It occupies a site of about two acres in extent, fronting Kemnal Road, Chislehurst. The house is simply, but substantially built, effect having been sought rather from a picturesque treatment than any lavish display of ornament. Red brick has been used for the exterior, diversified by the introduction of half-timbered work in the gables and bay windows. The interior has been treated in a more costly manner, the staircases and mantel-pieces, &c., being for the most part of oak and American walnut, from special designs by the architect. Parquetry floors have been introduced in all the principal rooms, and the ceilings are panelled in wood. Mosaic has been used for the floor of the porch, and hand-painted stained glass in the windows. The grounds, which are well wooded, have been laid out in a style suited to the building”.

Inglewood view 2Photographs provided by Jean Percy, who lived at the house for more than 20 years, show views of the grounds as well as the house. Jean makes a number of interesting observations about Mulbarton and Selwood, which can be found in the chapters on those houses. In relation to Inglewood, she recalls that “the gardener’s cottage was almost parallel to the cottage on the other side of the fence [she must mean what is now Wild Wood]. The ground floor was the garage, and there were stables for horses, I remember”.

Nettleton Balme, a wool broker and agent, was the first occupier, in 1883. He was born in Islington in 1856. His wife Eliza had been born in France in 1859, and was a British subject. They appear to have had at least six sons and one daughter, though not all appear in the census returns of 1891 or 1901. Their sons were: Nettleton, born in 1881, John, born in the following year in Surrey, followed by Edward, Archibald, Francis and George, all born in Chislehurst, in 1886, 1887, 1889 and 1893 respectively. The only daughter we are aware of was Annie, born in 1895.

We know a little about the family. Nettleton, the father, was very active in local matters, and was Chairman of the Parish Council from 1899 until his death in 1906, and he worked with Walter Murton and Travers Hawes to protect the Commons. Nettleton junior went to Boarding School in Chislehurst, at Hornbrook House (see below). John had been at Radley College in 1901. We know that John married a girl named Olive, but she died in 1916, when he would have been 34. She is buried in St Nicholas churchyard. At the time of the census in April 1901 Francis was at a private school in Folkestone and Annie and George were away in Westgate-on-Sea with their Nurse and two other servants, possibly following illness.

Inglewood view 4There were a number of early deaths in the family. First Nettleton junior died in 1898, when he was 17. Then Nettleton himself died in 1906 aged only 50. His youngest boy, George Hurst Nettleton Balme, died in 1914. All three are buried in the family plot in St Nicholas churchyard. Finally, Edward died in action in Belgium in 1916. He had been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in June that year. His name is on the war memorial at Chislehurst, and he is remembered on the family tomb.

The Balmes had moved out of Inglewood before Nettleton’s death. In 1903, Percy Lord and his wife Florence were in residence at Inglewood; they were to remain there until 1935, when Cedric Paul Percy moved in with his wife Beatrice and their children, including Rita and Jean. Jean now lives in Gloucestershire and she has provided us with the photographs of the house. She recalls that her grandmother thought that the house was a “noble residence”. Jean’s father was proud of his garden and “used to give 2/6d to anyone who found a weed in the beautiful lawns”. Cedric had a billiard table on the first floor of the house (unusually, because of the need for reinforced floors to take the weight), above the dining room. During the war “Grenadier Guards from Wallings in West Chislehurst used to come and play, and my sisters and I did the scoring”. Cedric and his family lived at Inglewood until he sold the house for redevelopment to J.M.Steel & Co in 1958. It was originally intended to split the house into three, as was done at Nizels and Kemnal Wood, but by 1963 the house had been demolished and replaced by the current building, with 21 apartments.

Inglewood Cottage

Domestic servants at Inglewood

There were 6 servants in 1891, Annie Rawlings (25) the cook, from Gloucester; Alice Johnson (28) the parlour-maid, from Clapham; Margaret Brown (22), the housemaid, from Orpington; and Lucy Brown (16) the kitchen-maid from St Mary’s Cray, and two nurses, Emma Brown (24) from Orpington (probably Margaret’s older sister) and Rose Campbell (20) from Lambeth.
By 1901, there had been a big reduction in the number of servants. There are only three, Rebecca May (40) from Bedfordshire; Caroline Pratt (23) from Hampshire; and Caroline Ditchbourne (20) from Lambeth. The reason may be that there was less need for nurses as the children grew up.

In 1911, there were five: Margaret Harpwood (33) from Plumstead was parlour-maid, Annie Holland (36) from Chesham was simply described as Maid, Maud Hopkins (24) from Willesden was Cook, Margaret Dibley (26) from Sussex was housemaid, and Charlotte Edwards (22) from Cheltenham was kitchen-maid.

The 1897 map shows a building behind the main house. This was the gardener's lodge, as mentioned by Jean. The census records that the lodge was occupied by the same family both in 1891 and 1901. Henry Scott from Ramsgate was 35 in 1891, and his wife Charlotte was 31. She was born in Chippenham. Their daughter Elsie and son Bertram were both born in Chislehurst in 1885 and 1887 respectively. By 1901 Elsie had left home, and was a servant at Highview in Footscray. Another daughter, Gracie, had been born in 1894.

Later residents seem to have liked living here; they certainly stayed for a while. The Westerbys, Hannah and John, were here for at least 16 years up to 1934. Joseph and Grace Barnes also stayed for a number of years, and most recently, Lillian and Anthony Clark were there for 10 years until the lodge was demolished.

Inglewood Cottage is now built on the same site, rebuilt when the main house was developed.

Other houses

Two new houses have been built on original Inglewood land. Columbine (originally called Casa Mia) was built in 1966. Lavinia and Walter Hazell were the first occupants, and stayed until 1970. This house has now been demolished (2010), and a larger building, Buxton Manor,has replaced it. The new building is presumably named after the architect of Inglewood, but it is difficult to see why it is described as a 'manor', nor why the style was thought to be appropriate for Kemnal Road

In 1973, Cascades was built. Roger and Elsie Tostevin lived here for 13 years until they left in 1986. They owned a horse, and allowed a local girl, Connie Birchall from Willow Grove, to ride it. 'I used to ride their horse and cycled up and down Kemnal Road for most of my childhood', she writes.

Hornbrook House

“Hornbrook House was a school for young gentlemen who were well grounded in the classics and mathematics and were prepared for public schools. Boarders were taken up to the age of fifteen years and were charged fifty to eight guineas per year”. (Battle)

It was situated at the very south of the High Street near the junction with Prince Imperial Road. It was later a hospital, and offices for the Red Cross. Its garden is now the large public car park.

At the time Nettleton junior was there, the headmaster was Hugh Vaughan Pears.