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The Culvers Lodge
Francesca Bellucci

Culvers Lodge  is a lovely example of Victorian architecture, the building is in good condition, there are very few historical buildings remaining in Hackbridge. This remnant of the Culvers Estate provides a window to a fascinating family story of wealth, commerce, and Victorian philanthropy.

Brief history of the Culvers Estate

According to local publications and local residents' memories, Hackbridge once had a thriving industrial base, due to its prominent location on the River Wandle. There were wealthy residents, who lived in large houses such as The Culvers, The Limes, Wallington Cottage, Hackbridge Lodge and Hackbridge House, some of whom owned Mills and factories, which have long since disappeared.

In the 18th century, the Estate was owned by Foster Reynolds from a Quaker family, and used as a bleaching ground. The Estate consisted of large houses and the Corn Mill. The wheel-pit and millstones are all that remain today of the Culvers Mill, which dates back to the late 1700s.

By the middle of the 19th century the Estate was owned by Samuel Gurney a banker. With the collapse of the banks, in 1866 the Estate was sold.

Culvers House memories

Culvers House was short leased for one year in 1867 by Anne Lamb's father in order to stay near by his daughter Lucy, who married Edwin Goad. After a fire in the Culvers house they moved out.

Anne Lamb's memories are valuable for the insight into Victorian life and in revealing the guests and associates of John Peter Gassiot. She mentions meeting Ruskin, and the Spanish ambassador.

In 1875 Anne Lamb, after becoming Lady  Macdonell,  spent several years in Hackbridge with her family, where as she describes “they found a pretty modern cottage designed by the artist Hon. Henry Graves”. They lived there for seven years. She describe the place a “charming spot “with a  “trout stream running through the garden, and overlooked a lovely park, owned originally by Mr. Samuel Gurney, MP for Falmouth, and bought,after his memorable failure,by Mr. John Peter
Gassiot” (from “Reminiscences of diplomatic life” by Lady Macdonell, Adam & Charles Black Soho Square London W. 1913).

The Culvers Lodge

By the second half of the 1800s Culvers Estate was bought by John Peter Gassiot Junior.

The Lodge sits at the junction of London Road and Medland Close/Culvers avenue in Hackbridge.

The Lodge is on the Ordnance Survey map of 1895; earlier maps (1868) and documents show the site as a cottage alongside two other cottages. The 1866 Auction document of the Carshalton Estate by Mr Daniel Watney, lot number 12 describes this site as number 1 of three detached cottages with a gardens adjoining Wallington Road (today London Road), containing four rooms each rented to John Perigot, H. Carpenter and Henry Grimes.

At some point between 1868 and 1895 the two other cottages alongside the Lodge were demolished. The road from the Avenue became Culvers Avenue a private road.

Early research from Sutton archivist shows that between the beginning of 1870's and 1880's the site assumed a different configuration, the road became private and there was a culvert created behind the property.

The Lodge today could be an alteration/re-modelling of the earlier cottage or a rebuilding for John Peter Gassiot Junior.

The charming Lodge has an unusual shape, brick built with terracotta finials on the roof. The layout of the building consists of an entrance hall, central room with bricked up fireplace, 4 rooms, two with a bay windows. The layout has been altered by a modern extension with flat roof on one side containing three rooms. The floor level of the house is raised respect the entrance hall level.

The setting of the building is also nice with a garden ,high trees on the London road side. On the side of the garden there is a modern big shed. The Culvers Lodge seems to be in sound condition.

Lodge. Rear elevation. Site visit with Sutton Council members and officers
Photo © Francesca Bellucci

Front Elevation
Photo © Francesca Bellucci

The timber works in the front elevation and interiors, including the ceiling in the entrance hall are examples of fine craftsmanship.

Lodge entrance door. Wooden beam. Site visit with Sutton Council members and officers
Photo © Francesca Bellucci

The entrance  has fine features with four stained glass windows with presumably a decorative shield and mantling. The colours are Azure, white/silver and green (see below):

Lodge entrance hall. Stained glass windows. Site visit with Sutton Council members
and officers
Photo © Francesca Bellucci

In Hackbridge there are two other examples of this type of window with different shapes but showing a mantling in one and  a similar shield  in the other one. They are in the Edwardian residential development. This suggests that the Culvers windows may have became a sort of language/feature synonymous of the place or area. The bow-windows seems in good condition and are leaded.

Lodge. Bow-window. Site visit with Sutton Council members and officers
Photo © Francesca Bellucci

John Peter Gassiot Junior

John Peter Gassiot of Culvers was a son of the notable John Peter Gassiot (1797-1877) fellow of the Royal Society, Chairman of the committee of Kew Observatory. He was brother to Charles Gassiot. The Gassiot's were large donators to art galleries and hospitals such as St Thomas Hospital.

The paintings given to the Guildhall Gallery by Charles Gassiot formed the core of the Victorian collection (from Friends of West Norwood Cemetery News letter no.31 1998).

Various sources report that after Charles died he left his entire estate in Upper Tooting Elmwood House in trust to St Thomas Hospital and to other charitable organizations (from: www.sullivanthomas.co.uk/downloads/tooting-bec-road-1900.pdf ).

Today St Thomas Hospital  has an outpatient centre named after Gassiot.

The three (John Peter Gassiot Snr, Charles Gassiot and Junior) were part of the Martinez & Gassiot wine business in London and Portugal.

The historic city of London Vinters Company  also has a  room named after Charles Gassiot. Today the Gassiot room is used for meetings and lunches
 (from www.vintnershall.co.uk).

Recent research shows:

The 1881 British Census shows John Peter Gassiot at The Culvers in Carshalton, Surrey, England. John Peter was also owner of other properties and lands in the area. There is a mention of JP Gassiot of Culvers as the owner of Woodcote Farm
(from: My Garden, its a plan and culture together with a general description of its geology , botany and natural history by Alfred Smee F.R.S 1874).

John Peter Gassiot Junior appears in different organizations with several important roles.

John Peter Gassiot Junior,Esq was one of the six vice president of the Foundling Hospital (from: Governors and Guardians of Foundling Hospital,1873, The history and objects of the Foundling Hospital, with the memoir of the founder, by John Brownlow, secretary of the Hospital, third edition).

John Peter Gassiot of Culvers, Surrey was a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society (from: The Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Vol. LL -year 1888, London: Edward Stanfor, 26 and 27, Cockspur street, Charing Cross, 1888).

John Peter Gassiot Junior, Esq was on the Council of the Zoological Society (from: Proceeding of general meetings for scientific business of Zoological Society of London. ”List of the Council and Officers of the Zoological Society of London”).

John Peter Gassiot of Culvers was one of the founder of the Marine Biological Association in 1884 (from: List of Governors, Founders, Members, Honorary and Associate Members, 1962). He was married to the late Maria Manuela Moreno de Mora from Cadiz, Spain (1823-1873).

John Peter Gassiot Junior Memorial

John Peter Gassiot is buried in Sutton Cemetery with his wife Maria Manuela. His brother Charles and his father are buried at West Norwood Cemetery (from Friends of West Norwood Cemetery).

IN MEMORY OF
JOHN PETER GASSIOT Esq. J.P.
OF
THE CULVERS CARSHALTON
BORN 7TH DECEMBER 1820 DIED 26TH JULY 1899

“JESUS SAID, I, IF I BE LIFTED UP FROM THE  EARTH.”
“WILL DRAW ALL UNTO ME.”

ST JOHN XII 32

Photo © Francesca Bellucci

 

IN AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE OF
MARIA MANUELA MORENO DE MORA,
THE DEARLY LOVED WIFE OF
JOHN PETER GASSIOTJUNR
BORN AT CADIZ IN SPAIN.
24TH AUGUST 1823,
DIED AT HER RESIDENCE 6 SUSSEX PLACE, REGENT'S PARK,
25TH
APRIL 1873
R - I - P
“THANKS  BE TO THE LORD,
FOR HE HATH SHEWED ME MARVELLOUS GREAT KINDNESS IN A
STRONG CITY”

PSALMS OF DAVID. 31. 23

Photo © Francesca Bellucci

 

THE REMAINS OF THE LATE
MADAME GASSIOT,
WERE REMOVED FROM
ST MARY'S CEMETERY KENSAL GREEN
AT THE REQUEST OF HER HUSBAND
J. P. GASSIOT,
OF THE CULVERS PARK, CARSHALTON,
IN THIS COUNTY
UNDER THE WARRANT AND AUTHORITY OF
HER MAJESTY'S SECRETARY OF STATE
FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
ON THE
8TH DAY OF NOVR. 1895,
THE OBJECT OF SUCH REMOVAL
WAS TO ENABLE HER BEREAVED HUSBAND
TO CARRY OUT HIS WISH
OF BEING ULTIMATELY LAID
BY HER SIDE
AND AT SAME TIME TO MAINTAIN
THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES
OF SEPARATE COMMUNION.

Photo © Francesca Bellucci

All text and images on this page copyright © Francesca Bellucci 2014

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