Within the London area, are a wealth of historical places to visit, not only in the capital, but also in the region of South West London.

Osterley House and park is a Georgian country estate in West London, within the boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow. Dating from the 1570’s it contains many Grade 1 and 11 listed buildings. Originally on this site was a manor house built for banker Sir Thomas Gresham, who purchased the Manor of Osterley in1562, he also bought the neighbouring Manor of Boston. Two hundred years later Osterley House was falling into disrepair, when due to a mortgage default, it came into the ownership of Sir Francis Child, founder of Child’s Bank. In 1761 Sir Francis’s grandsons, Francis and Robert employed architect Robert Adam to remodel the house. Built of red brick with white stone details the house is square with turrets in four corners. Adam’s design incorporates some of the earlier structure, with one side left open, and spanned by a screen, approached by steps and leading to a central courtyard. The neoclassical interiors are among Adam’s most notable sequences of rooms, and are characterised by elaborate colour schemes and coordination between decor and furnishings. Notable are the entrance hall, which has large semi-circular alcoves at each end, and the Etruscan dressing room, inspired by the “Etruscan” vases.

Robert Child’s only daughter Sarah, married John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland in 1782. When Robert Child died two months later his will placed Osterley in trust for any second-to-be born grandchild, and this proved to be Lady Sarah Fane. She married George Villiers in 1804, and having children, Osterley estate passed into the Villiers family. Later George changed his surname to Child-Villiers (9th Earl of Jersey).During the 1930’s the house was well known for the many celebrity parties that were held there. Osterley was opened to the public in 1939, and for a short time during World War 11 the park was used for the training of the Local Defence Volunteers (forerunners of the Home Guard). After the war Jersey gave the property to the National Trust, and in 1947 Lord Jersey moved to the channel island of Jersey, taking with him many pictures from the collection at Osterley. Several films have been made within the estate including The Dark Knight Rises, and The Crown.

The park provides a peaceful retreat with acres of parkland for visitors to enjoy. The Formal Garden basks in 18th_ century grandeur, with herbaceous borders, roses and ornamental vegetable beds. The park is an oasis for wildlife. When visiting stop by the iconic Garden House, built in 1780.

Osterley House and Park are open to the public.

Photo credit: Jan Doskar, Thamesbank Marketing Director
Guest author: John Taylor

About the author: 

“My home town was Molesey in Surrey, and for the last 45 years, I have been living with my wife in Walton-on-Thames. We have two daughters and three grandchildren. I retired from employment a few years ago, having worked in various occupations, but mainly in administrative roles, both in the government and private sector.

About five years ago, as a hobby, I began writing articles for local magazines. Generally of historic interest. I choose the articles myself and these range from The history of ‘The Trolley Bus and Green Line Bus service,’ The history of Bushy Park’, ‘The Bridges of Hampton Court,’ ‘Local Reservoirs,’ ‘The Great Storm’,’ Legendary islands of the Thames’, ’The Festival of Britain’, ‘Waterloo Station’, and several other articles. I have usually written about three or four each year.