Harefield House, Anerley Hill

HAREFIELD HOUSE—The Story of a House Through Time whose family have lived there since 1948

14 Anerley Hill, Upper Norwood, London, SE19 2AA

(NB Anerley Hill was a fairly recent incarnation – forerunners were Westow Hill Rd, Annerley Rd. and Anerley Rd.)


Harefield is a four storey detached house, with a separate coach house, in Upper Norwood, that stands in grounds of 2 roods and 8 perches (0.55 acres) and has a carriage drive. The basement and the top floor were originally the domain of the servants and the resident family lived on the ground and first floors. The original floor plans are at Annex 6.

This story of Harefield House includes:

  • The Enclosure Act that parcelled up common land for development.
  • A country home for a wealthy London merchant.
  • The coming of the Crystal Palace and the explosive local development that came with it.
  • Its time as a dower house.
  • Its decline to a boarding House.
  • Home to the Crystal Palace School of Practical Engineering (CPSPE).
  • Its brush with near destruction in WW2 and post-war developers.
  • Its conversion back to a family home and its protection as a Grade 2 Listed building.

The story also includes indirect connections to De Havilland (the plane makers), Morgan (Sports Cars), piers at Westward Ho!, Hunstanton, Teignmouth, Shoreham and the Isle of Wight, the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, the Manchester Ship Canal and possibly the Mulberry Harbours.

The early history of Harefield is strongly tied to the Cintra Park Estate which comprised a number of adjacent fields consolidated after the Penge Common Enclosure Act of 1827 (NB the common was enclosed in a piecemeal fashion over a number of years). The common was a remote part of Battersea and its extent is overlaid on a modern map at Annex 3 page 2. The Cintra Park Estate was owned by Thomas Joseph Jones and was bounded by Anerley Hill, Cintra Park, Belvedere Rd. and Church Rd. In 1844 there were ten houses on the estate – Cintra (approximately where Cintra Court is now) was the principal house; St.Katherines & The Cottage which were almost definitely gate houses to the estate, Harefield House & The Hermitage (site of Grosvenor Ct) on Anerley Hill, a small building on the site that became The Royal Crystal Palace Hotel (RCPH) and three buildings, in Church Rd, including Spring Grove Lodge (The site of the current Nightingale Court). NB Hermitage was the name of a field opposite the house, in Penge Place, so could have been the origin of the house name.

Thomas Joseph Jones, who was married to Ellen, and they had a son also “helpfully” named Thomas Joseph Jones who also married an Ellen! –Ellen Vere. They in turn had one son, Vere Jones, who changed his name, by deed poll, to Vere Jones Vere. The Jones’ were wine and spirit merchants which in the 19th century generally meant wine wholesalers who normally imported wine in barrels and bottled it for onward sale to upper class customers. Some wine merchants would even own the vineyards from which the wine was sourced. This must almost definitely be the origin of the house name Cintra as even in the 19th century it was a Portuguese tourist resort in a wine producing area. The spelling has subsequently settled on Sintra but in this early 1950’s New Universal Encyclopaedia entry it was still spelt with a C:

Cintra:      Town of Portugal in the district of Lisbon. Situated amid oak and pine clad hills. Dominated by a Moorish Castle, it has two royal palaces. Splendidly situated, with a glorious climate, surrounded by parks and botanical gardens. (Source: New Universal Encyclopaedia)

Coincidentally, the first known occupant of Harefield was also a wine and spirit merchant as was one of the residents of The Hermitage and a William Hawes at Anerley Grove! Were they all business associates/ friends?

Harefield was, along with other freehold properties, placed in trust by Thomas Joseph Jones and Ellen Jones on the marriage of their son Thomas Joseph Jones to Ellen Vere, on 11th August 1848, for their lifetime benefit and subsequent children that they might have. The trust therefore owned the freehold, with trustees being solicitors and Thomas & Ellen Jones (Jnr) being the beneficiaries.

2. When Built?

No evidence has yet been found to determine exactly when Harefield was built but it must be in the period 1829-1843 as it is highly unlikely that it was built before the Penge Common Enclosure Act of 1827, that set out the construction of Anerley Hill (which was probably at least two years in construction after the act), and its appearance on an 1844 tithe map of the Hamlet of Penge. Circumstantial evidence would put the first occupation of Harefield at 1840-41 (See Annex 1).

Based on the map (below left) showing pre-enclosure fields and the 1844 tithe map (below right) that shows the post-enclosure land allotments I think it is safe to assume  that one large field and a small strip of land (the dell at the bottom of the valley) were combined and split into four building plots (Plot No 11- now occupied by 8-12 Anerley Hill (AH); Plot No 13 – the site of Harefield (14 AH) – Plot 14 the site of The Hermitage (replaced by Grosvenor Court -16 AH) and Plot No 10-now occupied by 18-26 AH.


Fig 3: The damp dell still exists at the bottom of Harefield garden. (Courtesy: Prideaux Family Photos)

Prior to being cleared for fields the site of Harefield was part of The Great Northwood, of mainly oak and hornbeam, that covered the Norwood Ridge. Geologically the ridge exists as the London Clay contains natural gravel deposits which have slowed erosion compared to the surrounding area. For centuries this was undeveloped woodland and provided a source of oak trees for ship building and charcoal production but was largely cleared by the early 1800s.  About 1830, John Ruskin, an inhabitant of Herne Hill, wrote ‘the Norwood Hills, partly rough with furse, partly wooded with birch and oak, partly on pure bramble copse and rather steep pasture, rose with the promise of all the rustic loveliness of Surrey & Kent in them.’ A Guide to the Metropolis (1844) described Penge as ‘a town lying in a hollow and having a number of opulent residents whose elegant mansions contribute to the diversity of the scene.’ There must be a high probability that the Harefield plot was carved out of a steep pasture and that Harefield was one of the elegant mansions.

3. Architecture:

Harefield was one of a pair of large detached houses that were symmetrical around a semi-detached coach house and stables located between them. Although thought to be pretty much identical in appearance, from the front, there were at least three significant differences that can just be discerned from the photo below.

  1. Harefield has a large bay in the middle of the back of the house whereas The Hermitage was square (and therefore less attractive)
  2. The Hermitage had one middle attic window in the front and two at the rear whilst Harefield had three at the front and none at the rear. (Comment: Windows at the rear would have had the benefit of being south facing. The middle room would only have been at the front of the house as the stairwell was at the rear).
  3. The verges (i.e the top of the gable wall from the front and rear parapet to the chimney stack) were slightly curved on the Hermitage whereas they are straight on Harefield.

These differences are discernible in this photo c1948.

The similarity of the buildings, together with the symmetrical semi-detached coach houses, would imply that the two buildings were planned and built together. The differences would perhaps imply different owners making them bespoke (probably odd if Jones of Cintra had them both built). One possibility is that Thomas (Snr) may have wanted Harefield to be a slightly superior building so that if it became a dower house it would be the second best house on the estate (a requirement of a dower house). Alternatively, if the first occupier was signing up for a 21 year lease he may have influenced the design.

Harefield has the characteristics of a Georgian House built in the late-Georgian style (associated with the period 1830-37 when William IV was king)  and has all the following features:

-Rigid symmetry

-Stucco with ashlar lines

-Parapets with rainwater gullies behind

-Fanlight over the door

-Dormer windows

-Sash windows with small panes (The coach house still has the original window style with small panes but the main windows have obviously been replaced as the sash weights are really too large for their original slots)

-A large basement kitchen

-Internal window shutters

-Staircase style is Georgian

The description of Harefield on the Historic Building Listed Building website is:

‘Circa 1850. 2 storeys, basement and attic stuccoed. 3 dormers. Parapet and moulded eaves cornice. 4 pilasters on front elevation. 3 sashes without glazing bars set in Italianate architraves. The ground floor windows have cornices and console brackets. Tuscan porch with 2 columns and 2 pilasters. Door has rectangular fanlight with glazing bars. 4 steps to street.’

A small coach house was a later addition to the original coach house, as the original external pilasters are inside the building (this addition is not evident in Fig 8 the South Tower photo c1854) and is first mentioned in a lease dated 1887.

A significant greenhouse was added at some stage – it is shown on the deeds of 1899 and appears as a ruin on Post-WW2 maps — the base of the greenhouse is now incorporated into a car port.

Fig 6: Wall of the original greenhouse (Courtesy: Prideaux Family Photos)

Fig 7: The well at Harefield (Courtesy: Prideaux Family Photos)

A well (Fig 7) was very conveniently placed between the servants’ side door, into the basement, and the coach house. A lead pipe led to pumps in the scullery. It was discovered under a large paving slab that was itself covered in concrete. The council required it to be filled in immediately.


As Harefield was in trust for the benefit of Thomas Joseph Jones (Jnr), his wife Ellen and their son from 1848-1899 the property was often leased to tenants:

c1840-c1861: Harefield was occupied by William Henry Howes and his family for a rent of £70pa. According to census returns he was a Wine and Spirit Broker. They had seven children and in 1851 were looked after by a resident groom, cook, housemaid and a nurse. By the1861 census there were just four children at home and they were looked after by a resident house servant and a ladies maid. William died on 10th May 1861, soon after the census, and left a staggering £90,000 in his will (c£11m in today’s money):

HOWES William Henry (Effects under £90,000) 28 May 1861:

The Will of William Henry Howes late of Anerley Road Norwood in the County of Surrey, Wine Broker deceased who died 10 May 1861 at Anerley Road aforesaid was proved at the Principal Registry.

(Source: Probate Office)

His son, also William Henry Howes, married Aimee Anne Milner on 24th September 1862. Aimee, who lived on Anerley Hill until 1861, was the daughter of Edward Milner who was responsible for implementing many of Joseph Paxton’s garden designs and undertook many commissions of his own –most notably the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton in 1871 (now a listed landmark and major tourist attraction).  At the time of their marriage Aimee had moved with her family to Hillside, at the top of Fountain Drive, and were neighbours to Joseph Paxton in Rockhills. The recent new development, on the site of Hillside, has been named Edward Milner Terrace after him.   At the time of their marriage William (Jnr) was a lieutenant in the Royal London Militia (formed in 1857 and broadly equivalent to today’s Territorial Army). {Source: Wedding Banns}. There is no evidence to determine whether Edward Milner influenced the design of Harefield gardens but it must have been a possibility.

When William and his family moved into Harefield it would have been a very bucolic location overlooking the rural grounds of Penge Place, across Anerley Hill, and over fields to the rear (see view behind South Tower photo Fig 8, contemporaneous maps and the 1841 census that shows the vast majority of the 271 residents, in the whole of Penge, being agricultural labourers.

Fig 8: Wild’s South Tower under construction (which was replaced by an Izambard Kingdom Brunel’s design) with Harefield House partly visible, behind the tower, and The Hermitage with the semi-detached coach houses in between.  (Courtesy: British Library -Photo 1855) http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/earlyphotos/t/largeimage54277.html

Fig 9: A similar view 130 years later taken from the CP Museum scaffolding c2013 (Courtesy: Ken Kiss)

The gate house to Penge Place was just up the road opposite the St.Katherine’s entrance to Cintra:

The Crystal Palace Triangle was pretty much common land with a windmill behind the current site of The Royal Albert and two inns – The Woodman, on the site of Joanna’s, and the White Hart:

Mr Howes would probably have the groom take him to Anerley Station, in the trap, so that he could catch the train to work in London. From 1844 he would have seen the Croydon Atmospheric Railway (New Cross to West Croydon) running alongside his journey. However, the only evidence of Howes, as a wine merchant, that has so far been found is Coates & Howes at 8, Baker St in 1848 & 1856 street directories. If that were his business then the train to London Bridge may not have been much use and presumably he may have travelled by horse or in his own trap. This journey might not have been too bad as a horse drawn omnibus took 1hour 15mins from Westow Hill to Charing Cross in 1851. There would have been no building on the site of 8-10 Anerley Hill so they are probably his chickens visible on that site in the South Tower photo (fig 8).

He may have enjoyed a visit to the local and fashionable Anerley Tea gardens  that opened in 1841, or the Beulah Spa,  that operated from 1831-56.

Fig 11: The Crystal Palace between Photo 1856 & 1866   (Courtesy: Prideaux Family Postcards)

The quiet life was undoubtedly shattered when Penge Place was sold to the Crystal Palace Company in 1852 and Norwood New Town was built to accommodate the workforce. There was almost definitely no better view of the construction of the Crystal Palace (Fig 11) than that afforded to the Howes family from the first floor windows of Harefield (although it was probably even better for the servants from their accommodation in the attic!).

The railway spur from the London Bridge – Brighton main line at Sydenham was built to Crystal Palace station and it opened the same day as the Crystal Palace was opened by Queen Victoria, on 10 June 1854. The arrival of the new leisure palace also saw the first development of what is now known as the Crystal Palace Triangle. It had been pretty much uninhabited, apart from a windmill demolished in 1853, but William would have seen its first development from The Cambridge to St.Aubyn’s Rd. The Howes would have watched the first Crystal Palace water tower, designed by Wild, being built (Fig:8) and, following the discovery that it was inadequate, they could have been able to overlook  Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Joseph Paxton making site visits for the construction of Brunel’s South Tower. After watching the construction the family would also have been well located to watch the inauguration of the Crystal Palace fountains on 18th June 1856. The Howes would also have been well aware of  the railway tunnel being excavated through the hill, from Crystal Palace to Gipsy Hill and West Norwood, which also opened in 1856 –probably not a lot of use unless going to West Norwood cemetery that opened in 1837! The Queens

Fig 12: The Fountains at Crystal Palace (Courtesy: Crystal Palace Museum) Courtesy: Crystal Palace Museum

Hotel opened the following year 1857. The railway from Crystal Palace to Victoria opened in 1860.

before 1867 until c1880 Ellen Jones (Snr) lived at Harefield based on the following available data:

  1. 1867 PO Street Directory
  2. 1871 census
  3. 1880 The lease of 31st Jan 1881, with Sarah Ann Turner, said that the house had lately been occupied by Ellen Jones, mother of Thomas).

The 1871 census (Annex 4 Page 3) showed that the widowed Ellen Jones had a resident Coachman & Cook (a husband and wife team) and a housemaid indicating that it had become the dower house when her son and wife moved into the principal estate house – Cintra.

During her time at Harefield she probably took the opportunity to have gas installed, when the Crystal Palace & District Gas Co works opened at Bell Green, in 1870, as we have found evidence of gas lighting in the house. In 1872 Joseph Wilson opened the Crystal Palace School of Practical Engineering, opposite Harefield, in the South Tower of the Crystal Palace.

1881-1886 Sarah Ann Turner signed a 21 year lease on 31st Jan 1881, at a rent of £135pa, and a summary is at Annex 5 Lease 1. Whilst the lease stated that it should not be used as a shop, tavern, hotel, school, warehouse or place of sale the 1881 census, just two months later, showed her as operating a boarding house with 6 boarders, 3 family members and four servants! Her previous address had been very nearby at 4, Percy Villas (now re-numbered 10, Woodland Rd) so she might have brought her guests with her. Although Sarah’s enterprise was in line with the general local decline, with the Crystal Palace’s waning popularity, the trustees were probably not impressed as the lease was terminated in 1886. During her time at Harefield the Norwood Cottage Hospital opened and The White Swan was re-built.

1887-1908 John Buchanan Cree signed a 21 year lease on 10th September 1887. Comparing this lease, with the one signed by Sarah Turner six years earlier it would appear that WCs had been installed at Harefield with a water tank on the flat roof of the bow. The WCs installed in the left hand corner of the ground and first floor bow rooms (presumably petitioned off at the same time) and a bath installed in the first floor bow room. It is the first mention that has been found  of the small coach house so maybe this is when it was added to house a smaller trap. This lease specified that the house should not be used as a boarding house – obviously an indication of the displeasure of the previous occupant! The 1891 census (Annex 4 Page 5) shows John as a 58 year old unmarried Commission Merchant living with two unmarried sisters. His third sister and husband were also resident on the night of the census but it seems most likely that they were just visiting. The father of the siblings was a John Cree (Snr) who would appear to have been a wealthy ship owner in Glasgow from this internet quote:

’John Cree was a ship broker from the 1830s to 1868 in 17 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, Scotland. He was regarded as “the principal shipbroker in Glasgow.” His company was Cree & Co., ship and insurance brokers. A ship named the John Cree was launched at Leith, Midlothian, Scotland, in 1838 and registered in Glasgow. It was owned by John Cree’s firm Cree & Co.’

The two spinster sisters appear to have lived with their father, in Glasgow, until his death in 1868 whilst John (Jnr) was a lodger in different London guest houses in the censuses of 1851, 1861 & 1871 — presumably he had fallen out with his father unless it was a complete coincidence that he was in London for each of these censuses. The three unmarried siblings are first recorded as living together in Beckenham in the census of 1881.  John died on 23rd June 1904 (John appears to have left just £114 – all to a nephew) and the sisters probably stayed on to the expiration of the lease in 1908 and then moved to 43 Harold Road which is their address in the 1911 census. The Cree’s had a resident housekeeper and cook. Elisabeth died there in Jan 1913 and Catherine in 1925.

From 1895 the Cree’s would have been able to cross over to the Crystal Palace grounds and watch the FA Cup. (The cup continued to be held at the Crystal Palace until 1914). Electric light was installed at The Royal Crystal Palace Hotel in 1892 – is that when it arrived at Harefield? From the 1890s they would have been able to source their coal and corn from H. Cooper’s  newly acquired coal and corn shop in Westow Street (His wife and daughter were to become future owners of Harefield). If they used the High Level station they would have seen his coal yard:

or may just have seen his horse and carts around town. They were based in Paddock Gardens behind his shop – his granddaughter enjoyed playing in the hayloft as a young girl. Although Harry Cooper lived in Clapham, it was a consequence of his decision to add this third shop to his business, in the 1890s, which has resulted in there being six third to fifth generation descendants living in Crystal Palace today.

The Cree’s may have been shocked by the first death, in Great Britain, by someone involved in a motor car accident  – a Roger Benz car just opposite Harefield on the Crystal Palace terrace. (The poor woman is alleged to have raised her parasol before being struck – the instinctive reaction for protection against a bolting horse!). The Cree’s would have been in residence for the opening of the Upper Norwood library in 1900; to see the first ascent by an Englishman in a powered balloon at the Crystal Palace in 1902 and been well placed to attend the first automobile show at the Palace in 1903. They may have had mixed feelings about the tram service to West Croydon being introduced to Anerley Hill in 1906! They would also have been aware of the sale of The Cintra Park Estate, at auction, arising on the death of Vere Jones Vere in 1899. Developers purchased the land and they would have witnessed the end of rear views, across a meadow, with the building of houses in Milestone Rd backing onto Harefield. Houses on the other side of the road were not built on until the early 1930s and had been in use as allotments in the meantime (Fig 14).

1908-1919: Confirming residents in this WW1 era has so far proved elusive. The sale of the  Cintra Park Estate at auction had seen the Harefield freehold  sold as Lot 4 (See Map at Annex 3 Page 2) to Samuel Williamson with the Cree’s remaining in residence. Street directories list a Francis Lampburn pre-1906-1912 and Martin K De Trairup from 1913 to after 1916. However, the 1911 census (Annex  4 Page 6) shows the Goodwille family in residence. George (the head) was listed as a 65 year old merchant/employer with a 34 year old wife and three children aged 10, 8 and 6. His wife and children were all born in Trinidad so there may well be an interesting story here – could they have been the first mixed race family in Norwood? They had travelled 1st class from Trinidad on MS Magdalena and arrived at Southampton on 25th July 1910. They had one general servant – probably the last one of an era at Harefield. George would have benefitted from the arrival of electric trains to Crystal Palace in 1911. Newly married Stanley & Ellen Cooper moved into 24, Milestone Rd., that backed onto Harefield, in 1911 (Convenient for running his father’s shop in Westow St.). Their daughter, was born in the front bedroom of the house in Feb 1920. Milestone Rd. was a very steep unmade road at the time:

Fig 15: No 24 Milestone Rd c1923. Note the unmade road (Courtesy: Prideaux family photos)


1919-1929: Joseph Hammond bought Harefield in 1919 and moved in – the first real owner occupier! He was an Antiques and Fine Arts dealer so it would be nice to think that he filled it with the products of his trade. Hopefully more will be revealed with the release of the 1921 census in Jan 2022.

1929-1939 Crystal Palace School of Practical Engineering:

Figure 16 The school’s drawing office on the first floor of the South Tower (Courtesy: Prideaux Family Photos)

Maurice Wilson (1929-36) bought the freehold of Harefield on 15th November 1929 to relocate, and downsize, the Crystal Palace School of Practical Engineering (CPSPE) from 18, Anerley Hill (known at the time as The Tower which had previously been The Star & Garter and then Star public house and hotel). At the time of purchase of Harefield, Maurice was the Principal of the Crystal Palace School of Engineering following in the footsteps of his elder brother Joseph, who in turn had taken over from his father -also Joseph. Maurice had been assistant engineer on the construction of both the Midhurst & Chichester branch of the LB & SCR and The Manchester Ship Canal. He was Assistant Engineer to the London Electric Corporation and President of The Society of Engineers 1906. His father, Joseph Wilson (Snr) had founded the Crystal Palace School of Engineering in the South Tower of The Crystal Palace in 1872 (Fig 16). However, his first involvement with the Crystal Palace was as an assistant engineer for the Great Exhibition building, in Hyde Park, working with his father’s cousin Charles Fox (of Fox & Henderson who were contracted to build the exhibition building).

In between these two Crystal Palace connections he had been associated engineer responsible for piers at Hunstanton, Teignmouth, Shoreham, Isle of Wight and Westward Ho!.

Whilst many students went on to undertake key engineering roles across the British Empire the two most famous students, from the South Tower days, who became household names, were Sir Geoffrey De Havilland (Student 1900-1903) of aircraft fame  and Harry Morgan of Morgan cars.

b)    1936-48: Catherine Lawrence

Under Maurice, Frederick Lawrence was the Vice Principal and it is believed that he lived above the school on the first floor and attic floor levels with his wife and daughter. On the death of Maurice Wilson in 1936, Frederick’s wife Catherine bought the freehold and business and paid £1,100 which included £100 for the goodwill and assets of the business. Sadly for Frederick he lost all his students with the outbreak of war, in 1939, and the school never re-opened. Its reputation however must have lived on as letters arising from prospective students, from around the world, continued into  the 1950’s.

Rex Prideaux was a student at the school for the Winter Term of 1936 (See certificate Fig 17 ) and he said that  at that time all non-load bearing walls had been removed from the basement and that it was full of engineering benches and equipment. The forge was in a shed between the house and the coach house. The former first floor drawing room was the lecture room and the former dining room was divided into the Principal’s Office (Front) and Drawing Office (Back).

Fig 17: Rex Prideaux’s CPSPE certificate (Courtesy: Prideaux Family Photos)

Fig 18: The fire of 30th November 1936 (Courtesy: Prideaux Family Postcards)

On the 30th  November 1936 Harefield witnessed the major fire that destroyed the Crystal Palace. Residents of Anerley Hill & Milestone Rd. were evacuated in case the fire spread to their homes or in case the South Tower collapsed. As it happened the South Tower survived and was subsequently demolished in 1940 as it was feared that it may, together with the North Tower, be a navigational landmark for German bombers.

It was rumoured that Frederick Lawrence had been involved in the design of the Mulberry Harbours that were so crucial to the supply of heavy equipment, to troops, at the time of the D-Day landings. This was obviously not something that he could discuss in his lifetime but it seems very likely that, as a highly capable engineer, he would have been an obvious candidate for the project.

Fig 19: Logie Baird’s aerials atop the South Tower (Courtesy: Crystal Palace Museum)

Anyone looking out of a Harefield front window between 1933 & 1936 would have noticed aerials had appeared on the South Tower. Between 1933 and 1936 the most extensive television complex in Europe, operated by John Logie Baird, was located at the Crystal Palace with the visible signs being the antennae. Those at balcony level were for the original 6m sound and vision transmitters, whilst the assembly at the very top were for the 1934 10kW VHF vision transmitter.

In 1937 trolleybuses replaced trams on Anerley Hill. Note that the White Swan lost its upper floor during the war (between the tram and trolleybus pictures). This has been re-instated .

During WW2 Harefield narrowly escaped being bombed – bombs fell a few hundred away from Harefield – the nearest outside the Royal Crystal Palace Hotel (RCPH –the most recent incarnation was the Grape and Grain) demolishing most of it and another fell opposite the Paxton Arms. Harefield suffered bomb damage with the windows being blown out and a crack appearing in the uphill side (to this day window glass is still found when digging in the garden). The Coopers’ from 24 Milestone Rd. were in the RCPH air raid shelter when it was bombed – Stanley Cooper took the full force of the blast when the air raid shelter door was blown in. Although he appeared unhurt he dropped dead a week later!

1948-Date Mrs Ellen Cooper/Prideaux Family

Fig 23: Harefield c1949. Note that the ‘Crystal Palace’ part of the school name is blacked out in accordance with war time requirements to obscure place names. Trolleybus wires are also visible. (Courtesy: Prideaux Family Photos

Ellen Cooper, bought Harefield in 1948. After ten years of neglect, through the ravages of war and rationing, it must have been a brave move.

The basement and first floor were cleared of the old school equipment and some of the benches, drawing tables and equipment transferred to the old coach house stable area to make a workshop (See Coach House Annex 7).  Many other artefacts, of the school still exist at Harefield (Fig 24) including a framed copy of the school rules; the school stamp, work benches, drawing office tables and a stool -can you spot the stool in the South Tower CPSPE photo (Fig 16)?.

Other dates include:

  • In the mid-1950’s the electricity supply was upgraded from 100/110 to 220/240 volts.
  • In 1960 when Syd Bishop’s ‘Watch it come down’ demolition balls were wrecking Norwood planning permission was given for the joint re-development of The Hermitage and Harefield into 24 flats, 18 lock up garages and 6 parking spaces but in the end only the Hermitage was re-developed and replaced by Grosvenor Ct. (Fig 4). At this time The Hermitage was run down and used by a publishing company –Oliphants. The downhill front corner of the site was occupied by a mission hall. The back garden was a woodland!
  • 1964: For some reason the upper half of the Harefield carriage drive had been converted to shrub beds. The full Carriage Drive was re-instated when the council threatened to remove the dropped kerb.
  • 1973: Harefield was Listed by the Department of The Environment at Grade 2.
  • 1979: Received £2,000 grant for cornice renovation (Fig 25)

Fig 25: Harefield received a grant (Source: Prideaux Family Archives from  The Advertiser 19 July 1979)

1989: Harefield included in the Crystal Palace Park Conservation Area

  • c1992 – Conservatory built
  • 1997: Sheds between the house and garage were replaced with a small extension. The well was discovered under a slab that had been incorporated in the shed floor. The council required that it was filled in instantly. Interestingly there was a lead pipe still leading from it to where the indoor pumps had existed in the scullery.
  • 2001: Plans to develop The Crystal Palace top level site, as an entertainment complex, would have resulted in a major access being formed opposite Harefield with traffic lights controlling the junction and our carriage drive being replaced with a single central access. This was one of many plans (mostly bad but some good) that have never come to fruition.
  • External Christmas decorations have been a feature at Harefield for the last 30+ years and for many people the arrival of the reindeer, on the porch, represents the start of Christmas – it even appeared on Face Book for the Xmas just passed.


The names of neighbours from Public Record Office census returns are at Annex 8. Various members of the Bertram family lived next door in The Hermitage. The Bertram’s held the franchise for being caterers at the Crystal Palace for much of its life,

                                                                                                                        Annex 1 Page 1 of 2

Build Year Estimate:

No definitive evidence of when Harefield was first occupied but based on the following circumstantial evidence an estimate can be made of 1840-41:

  • According to the 1851 census Edmund John Howes, age 9, was born in Norwood and baptism record show that he was christened at St.Mary’s Lewisham on 31st August 1841. His parents’ address was shown as Annerley Rd. His older sister, Emmeline, had been born in Brixton two years earlier (i.e it could be assumed that they moved to Harefield between the christening of Emmeline on 2nd October 1839 and Edmund on 31st August 1841). Amy Louise was also born in Norwood 8 years later. All three were christened at St.Mary’s Lewisham.
  • In the 1861 census (on 17th April) the Howes family were still at Harefield and they were still resident when William died about six weeks later on 28th As William most likely had a 21 year lease, on Harefield, it would indicate that he was not in residence before 1840. In the 1871 census the remaining family lived at 119 Duppas Hill, Croydon. The 21 year lease on Harefield must have expired soon after William’s death and the family probably decided to downsize.
  • An obituary for Vere Jones Vere of Cintra, in 1899, stated that his home had been built about 60 years earlier. Harefield was probably built about the same time as Cintra.
  • William Henry Howes (Jnr) who was resident at Harefield on the 1861 census gave his address as Bedford Park, Croydon on his marriage certificate (24th Sept 1862). If a 21 year lease had expired it would imply first occupation in 1840-41.
  • The table below, of housing data for the Hamlet of Penge, would also imply Harefield being inhabited from c1840 as, from most maps, Harefield, and other Cintra estateproperties, appear to be at the forefront of the housing growth.


Total Population Inhabited Houses Uninhabited Houses Being Built Total
1821 228 41 41
1831 229 42 42
1841 270 53 1 45 99
1851 1169 153 12 165
1861 5015 668 54 76 798

Source:  Bromley Library Archives

  • Anerley Station opened in June 1839 -it would probably not have been feasible for a city merchant to have lived out in the country before the railway opened.
  • Spring Grove Lodge, fronting Church Rd. on the Cintra Estate, was built in 1838  It could be that the 10 houses on the Cintra Estate were responsible for the Inhabited House increase from 1831-1841.

NB The above assumes that William Howes was the first occupant of Harefield and that he did not live elsewhere on Annerley Rd before Harefield.

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Harefield is built out of relatively soft red brick (presumably manufactured in a local brickfield) with solid 15” external walls and 10” internal load bearing walls in the basement. The exterior was then rendered with lime mortar and finished with a thin top coat of roman cement into which ashlar lines were inscribed. Above the basement level all internal walls were lathe and plaster. From the time of construction until 1948 the earth retaining walls in the front were only c18” from the basement windows – it must have made the rooms very dark! There is evidence of a slate damp course. Substantial foundations were not a feature of Georgian buildings and excavations in 1988, to build a side extension, indicated that Harefield had been built in line with this practice.

There is some evidence that second hand timber was used in places. Floorboards have been shaped to fit over joists.

There were 14 fireplaces in the main house and two in the coach house and one in the greenhouse.

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(Source: Original documents for 1848 onwards in the Prideaux family Archive)

Pre-1848: Presumably Thomas Joseph Jones owned the freehold before placing it in trust, for his son and daughter-in-law, in 1848

1848: Harefield was, along with other freehold properties, placed in trust (doesn’t say by whom but presumably Thomas & Ellen Jones Snr) on the marriage of Thomas Joseph Jones to Ellen Vere on 11th August 1848 for their lifetime benefit and subsequent children that they might have. The property was let, year by year, at £70pa at the time to Mr Howes. Vere Jones was born 4th August 1859 and changed his name to Vere Jones Vere by Deed Poll on 28th December 1880. Thomas Joseph Jones died 7th May 1886, Ellen Jones died 12th October 1889 and Vere died April 1899.

Death of Mr Thomas Jones – It is with deep regret we learn of the death of Mr. Thomas Jones, of Cintra, Church Rd, which took place at five o’clock yesterday (Friday) morning. Deceased had been ailing for some time past, and it had been intended to take him to the seaside for the benefit of his health of Friday morning. Mr Jones owned a considerable amount of property in the neighbourhood, and was much respected by all who knew him.

Source: Norwood News 8 May 1886 –Obituary of Thomas Jones

Death of Mrs T. Jones – Mrs Thomas Jones, a lady who has long resided in Norwood, and been known amongst a large circle of friends, expired on Thursday morning ay St. Catherine’s Terrace, Brighton. Deceased lived at Cintra, Church Rd, and was connected with the Crystal Palace Hotel, which adjoins her residence. For some few weeks past she has been ailing and she had gone to Brighton to recover her health. The death was sudden and quite unexpected.

Source: Norwood News Oct 1893 –Obituary of Mrs T. Jones

1880: Twenty one year lease granted to Sarah Ann Turner on 21st December but it was surrendered c September 1887. Rent £135pa

1887: 21 year lease (with 7 and 14 year break points) granted to John B. Cree at rent of £110. Lease includes a description of every room in the house. Rent £110pa

1899 Death of Mr Vere Jones Vere. – After a prolonged illness the death took place, on Tuesday, from phthisis, of Mr Vere Jones Vere, of Cintra House, Church Rd. The grandfather od deceased built Cintra House about 60 years ago, and deceased parents also lived there. Mr Vere Jones Vere will be interred on Saturday at Shirley. He interested himself in many of the charities with All Saints’.

Source: Norwood News 15th April 1899

                                                                                                                        Annex 2 Page 2 of 2

1899: Declaration by Trustees of the Vere Cintra Park Estate dated 18th August (NB This is the main source of a lot of data). Harefield sold by trustees, as Lot 4, to Samuel Taylor Williamson for £1,150 whilst John B Cree was in occupation.

1919: Joseph Hammond bought Harefield from Samuel Taylor Williamson on 3rd April 1919 for £900.

1919: Joseph Hammond (Dealer in Antiques and Works of Art) of 14 Anerley Hill took out a £700 mortgage on 8th November 1919.

1928: Joseph Hammond’s mortgage transferred to new mortgagee following death of the original.

1929: Joseph Hammond sold it to Maurice Wilson for £1,600.

1937: 8th March – sale of house and Engineering School business by estate of Maurice Wilson to CE Lawrence for £1,100 including the goodwill and equipment  of the Engineering School (£100).

1948: Mrs C.E. Lawrence sold to Mrs Ellen Cooper  for £3,000.

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Map 1: Penge Common

Penge Common overlaid on modern map (Courtesy of Ken Kiss)

Annex 3 Page 2

1899 Map showing auction lots by Rushworth & Stevens

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Extract of Harefield in 1851 Census. (Source: Public Record Office microfilm)

Extract of Harefield entry in 1861 Census. (Source: Public Record Office microfilm)

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Extract of Harefield entry in 1871 census. (Source: Public Records Office microfilm)

Extract of Harefield entry in 1881 Census. (Source: Public Records Office microfilm)


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Extract of Harefield entry for 1891 census. (Source: Public Records Office microfilm)

Extract of entry for Harefield Census 1911. (Source: Public Records Office microfilm

Annex 5 Lease1 Page 1

Partial summary of Lease dated 31/1/81 between the trustees and Sarah Ann Turner (widow)

The lease was for 21 years and stated that the house had lately been occupied by Mrs Ellen Jones the mother of Thomas Jones of Cintra. The lease required:

the outside to be painted every three years with two coats of oil based paint;

every five years paint, grain, varnish and whitewash the interior;

Preserve in good order, cultivation and condition the garden and fences.

It should not be used as a shop, tavern, hotel, school, warehouse or place of sale.

Should foster the young fruit trees, plants and shrubs.

Basement Kitchen:

Three drawer dresser with three shelves above

Flap dresser with iron leg

Shelf on brackets

Four nails for hooks

Venetian blind

Outside storm shutter

Towel roller

London kitchen range



Stone mantel shelf

Iron blower

Scullery: (Which would have been the bow room)

Two copper pumps set on brickwork. (NB These were still in situ when Rex Prideaux attended CPSPE as a student. They were connected by lead pipes to the well)

Stone sink

Plate rack, 4 shelves on brackets, 3 hanging rails.

Housekeeper’s Room

Cupboard with 3 shelves

Stone mantel shelf

Romford stove

Store Room:

Cupboard with three shelves, stove and stone mantle piece.


Two shelves, wood rail for meat hooks

China Cupboard: Two shelves.

Passage: One bell, wood rail, shutter to back door.

Wine cellar: Stone shelf set in the brickwork forming six bins.

Ground floor dining room:

Two venetian blinds

Outside storm shutters to back window

Veined marble mantelpiece

Register stove

Two bell pulls

Annex 5 Lease 1 Page 2

Bow room:

Venetian blinds

Outside storm shutters

Marble mantlepiec

Romford stove

Brass cornice poll and 10 brass rings

1st floor bow room:

Venetian blind

Outside storm shutter


Stone mantle piece.

Bedroom SW Back

Venetian blind

Outside storm shutter


Stone mantle piece.

Bedroom NW Front:

Venetian blind


Stone mantle piece

Dressing Room:

Venetian blind

Bedroom NE Front:

Venetian blind

Register Stove

Stone mantle piece

Bedroom SE Back:

Venetian blind

Outside storm shutter


Stone mantle piece.

Attic SW:

Register Stove

Stone mantle piece

One bell on carriage

Attic SE:

Register Stove

Stone mantle piece


2 Iron hay racks

Loft over:

Slate cistern

Wooden Corn Bin

Garden: Two iron guards to area    (Source: Prideaux Family Archives)

Annex 5 Lease 2 Page 1 of 3

(Source: Prideaux Family archives)


Annex 5, Lease 2, Page 2 of 3

(Source: Prideaux Family archives)

Annex 5 , Lease 2, Page 3 of 3

(Source: Prideaux Family archives)


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Annex 6 Page 2 of 2

Harefield: Original Floor Plans


Annex 7 Page 1 of 3

Harefield Original Coach House Plan and story

There are no photos of the horses or coaches at Harefield but they may have looked like this:

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The first car to be kept in the garage (former coach house) was probably Mr Cooper’s pre-war Austin 7 that would have been housed there from 1948-c1956.

Fig 30: Left- Austin Seven APF 64

There is no record of when the coach house last housed horses and a coach but they were unlikely to be a feature after the CPSPE arrived in 1929. With the arrival of the Cooper/Prideaux family in 1948 the stable area of the coach house became a workshop for house repairs and  family car maintenance.  Work benches, old engineering school items, which had started their lives in the Crystal Palace South Tower, were transferred from the basement and are still in use today. Note the angle in the bench next to the vice – it was designed to abut other benches in the round (twelve sided)  South Tower.

Rex Prideaux re-built the engine of a 1903 De Dion Buton in the coach house in 1949 having had success in the London-Brighton Veteran Car run in 1946 with his friend J.H. White (of the R.White’s lemonade family). The rally report was captured in The Norwood Review (Fig 32)

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Fig 32: The Norwood Review report on the 1946 Rally. Source: Prideaux Family Archives

Norwood Review 22 Nov 1946

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Points of interest are that different members of the Bertram family, who operated the catering franchise in the Crystal Palace, lived in The Hermitage. The Thomas Jones at Cintra was the Junior one.

Fig 33: Some neighbour details extracted from census microfilm or street directories.

There was also a Thomas Joseph Jones (not shown in the above table) who was shown as living alongside the Thames in Stamford Street as follows:

1851 PO Street Directory – 85 Upper Stamford St.

1862   “       “             “             “        “         “

1871  Census   – 125 Stamford St.

1882 Street Directory   -125 Stamford St.

It is believed that this Thomas Joseph Jones owned the Cintra Park Estate and a lot of other property.

Annex 8 Page 2 of  2

(NB Stamford St. was made as an extension from Broadwall to Waterloo Road in 1815 as part of the approach to Waterloo Bridge. In 1868 Upper Stamford Street was incorporated with Stamford Street and re-numbered. At this time the Bankside area was a centre for hat-making. There were 7 hat-makers in Stamford Street in 1882).

From the Probate Office