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Historic England Research Records

Rangers House

Hob Uid: 404361
Location :
Greater London Authority
Greenwich
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : TQ3888776840
Summary : The Ranger's House is a Georgian villa, designed by Andrew Snape and built for Admiral Francis Hosier in around 1723 with later additions in 1748 and the early 19th century. It was used as the official residence of the Greenwich Park Ranger from 1815 to 1862. The house is situated on the borders of Greenwich Park and houses an outstanding collection of medieval and Renaissance art. The main front, to the west, is seven windows wide and two storeys high with a basement. Two single storeys either side of this are later additions. The house has a stone dentil cornice and balustraded parapet as well as a stone band at first floor level. The slightly recessed central portion of the house, three bays wide, is faced in Portland stone. The central entrance has Ionic columns and pilasters on pedestals supporting a dentil cornice and pediment. The single storey south wing of pinkish-yellow stock brick was added in 1748. It contains a suit of ballrooms and is believed to have been designed by Isaac Ware. The single-storey north wing, with a similar front, was added later. A plaque on the house commemorates residences of the 4th Earl of Chesterfield and Lord Wolseley. It has also been occupied by Prince Arthur of Connaught (1815-1872) and the Countess of Mayo (1876-1888). The house was bought by London County Council in 1902 and used as changing rooms for local athletic clubs and then later as a tea room. It suffered bomb damage during the Second World War and was restored in 1959-60. The house contains the Wernher Collection, purchased by the diamond magnate Sir Julius Wernher (1850-1912). He ran the London end of Wernher, Beit & Co., which was later amalgamated with the De Beers corporation. Arranged within the panelled interiors, the Wernher Collection comprises nearly 700 works of art, including early religious paintings and Dutch Old Masters, carved Gothic ivories, fine Renaissance bronzes, jewellery, porcelain, silverware, furniture, woodcarving and tapestries.
More information : [TQ39867726] The Ranger's Lodge, Chesterfield Walk:
Now(1959) being restored by the L.C.C., after bombing. Future uncertain. Once home of Phillip, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, and Garnet, 1st Viscount Wolsely . . . . .(1-2)

"What was known as the Ranger's Lodge, a brick built mansion on the south west side of the park, was formerly the residence of Philip, Earl of Chesterfield, who purchased it about the middle of the last century [18th]., and considerably enlarged it..." (3)

TQ 38907780 (sic) The Ranger's House (4)

TQ 38907780 (sic) The Ranger's House, Chesterfield Walk [grid reference given in (1-2) is incorrect (5)] The house is situated by the southwestern corner of the park, it was constructed by Andrew Snape c. 1690. In 1748, the owner, Lord Chesterfield commissioned Isaac Ware to design the south wing. The north wing was added at a later date. The house was used as the official residence of the Park Ranger between 1815-1862, it then became a residence for Prince Arthur of Connaught (1815-1872) and the Countess of Mayo (1876-1888). (6-8)

The main front, to the west, is seven windows wide and two storeys tall with a basement. Two single storeys either side of this are later additions. The house has a stone dentil cornice and balustraded parapet as well as a stone band at 1st floor level. The slightly recessed central portion of the house, 3 bays wide, is faced in Portland stone. The central entrance has Ionic columns and pilasters on pedestals supporting a dentil cornice and pediment. The single storey south wing of pinkish-yellow stock brick was added in 1748. It contains a suit of ballrooms and is believed to have been designed by Isaac Ware. The single-storey North wing with a similar front was added later. (7)

Features associated with Ranger's House were recorded during the RCHME Greenwich Park Survey, Sep-1993 to Feb-1994:

An area of fifteen acres in the south-western corner of Greenwich Park was enclosed by Princess Caroline when she became park ranger in 1806. Originally attached to Montagu House [TQ 37 NE 114], this area was transferred to Ranger's House in 1815, when it became known as Ranger's Field. Despite public appeals, the Field was not restored to the Park until 1897. The enclosure of Rangers Field is visible on the OS First and Second Edition maps (12). A large central lawn of irregular shape was enclosed by fences and a broad belt of trees and shrubs. An external fence separated the private ground from the public space of the Park.

The central lawn is now occupied by sports pitches. Although the fences have now been removed, their locations are still visible in places - for example, as a shallow semi-circular ditch at TQ 38997678, 4.0m wide and 0.3m deep. On the north side of the former central lawn at TQ 39027692 there is a bank up to 14m wide and 0,8m high; this bank runs north-east to south-west for roughly 140m.

Survey plan of associated park features, at 1:1000 scale, archived with record TQ 37 NE 69 (UID 610590) (11-12)

TQ38897683. The Ranger's House. Correct location. (13)

Ranger's House is a Georgian villa built in 1723, which became the official residence of the 'Ranger of Greenwich Park'. From 1815 this post was held by Princess Sophia Matilda, niece of George III. It remained an aristocratic and then royal home until 1902. The house stands on the borders of Greenwich Park, and the Meridian Line passes through its grounds. It houses the Wernher Collection, an astounding display of medieval and Renaissance works of art purchased by the diamond magnate Sir Julius Wernher (1850-1912). Arranged within the panelled interiors, the Wernher Collection comprises nearly 700 works of art, including early religious paintings and Dutch Old Masters, minute carved Gothic ivories, fine Renaissance bronzes and silver treasures. Together these pieces reveal the genius of medieval craftsmen, and the unparalleled quality of Renaissance decorative arts. (14)

Ranger's House contains a unique collection of more than 650 works of art. The Wernher Collection is an exhibition of great international importance that brings together paintings, jewellery, porcelain, silverware, furniture, woodcarving and tapestries. These works of art were purchased by diamond mining magnate Sir Julius Wernher (1850-1912), for whom collecting was a lifelong passion. Each object reveals part of his character and eclectic taste, within the collecting world of the nouveaux riches in late nineteenth-century London. Following time in South Africa he returned to London and ran the London end of Wernher, Beit & Co., which was later amalgamated with the De Beers corporation. He was given advice from the eminent German collector, dealer and historian Wilhelm von Bode, and gathered many northern European works of art. He died in 1912 leaving a fortune of more than £11 million. Among the Werner Collection are rare early religious paintings by Filippino Lippi, Hans Memling and Francesco Raibolini 'Il Francia', and paintings by Dutch old masters Gabriel Metsu, Adriaen van Ostade and Pieter de Hooch. The collection includes a large number of Renaissance jewels, carved and polychromed medieval ivories, vibrant Maiolica ceramics and Limoges enamel plate, wrought silverware pieces and an abundance of Renaissance bronzes. Decorative arts of the eighteenth century are represented by richly gilded Sèvres porcelain, Meissen pottery figures, fine French furniture and huge Beauvais tapestries, complemented by British portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds, George Romney and Sir William Beechey. (15)

Ranger's House was built for Admiral Francis Hosier at the beginning of the 18th century. The Council purchased the house in 1902, subsequently demolished the portico, and converted the interior to changing rooms for use by the local athletics clubs. By the 1920s it was being used as tea rooms, and finally it was requisitioned by the army during the Second World War. Many of the outbuildings were knocked down, and other parts were derelict through bomb damage. The Council restored the house in 1960 and used it for history exhibitions. (16)

Additional references. (17-22)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : The Buildings of England
Source details :
Page(s) : 155
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Source Number : 2
Source : Annotated Record Map
Source details : Corr 6" (E.Birchenough, 1.3.60)
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Source Number : 11
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Pattison P and Struth P Nov 1993 RCHME Field Investigation
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Source Number : 12
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 1:1057 map sheets London XII.32, dated 1871 and 1895
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Source Number : 13
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:10000 1981
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Source Number : 14
Source : English Heritage Members' and Visitors' handbook 2008/9
Source details :
Page(s) : 42
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Source Number : 15
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : 2008. 24 Hour Museum. http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/museum_gfx_en/SE000474.html [Accessed 15-SEP-2008]
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Source Number : 16
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : 2008. The Heritage Trail. http://www.theheritagetrail.co.uk/notable%20houses/rangers_house.htm [Accessed 15-SEP-2008]
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Source Number : 17
Source : Collections Review
Source details : 'The Wernher Foundation's Collection at Ranger's House', by Strachey, Nino
Page(s) : 91-95
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Vol(s) : Vol 3
Source Number : 18
Source : Ranger's House, Blackheath [guidebook]
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Source Number : 19
Source : London's country house collections
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Source Number : 20
Source : Catalogue of paintings in British collections. English Heritage.
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Walford E. 1897. Old and New London, 6, 210
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Source Number : 21
Source : Report for English Heritage Historic Information on the Garden at Ranger's House, Blackheath
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Source Number : 22
Source : The Wernher Collection at Ranger's House
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Source Number : 4
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:10 000 1981
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Lancley. J 15-Jul-1993 RCHME Recording
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Source Number : 6
Source : London, 2 : South
Source details :
Page(s) : 268
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Source Number : 7
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Greenwich, 8-Jun-1973
Page(s) : 31
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Source Number : 8
Source : Greenwich Park : historical survey
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Page(s) : 213,219
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Source Number : 9
Source : Greenwich Park: an archaeological survey
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Source : Greenwich Park: an archaeological survey. Detailed reports for the NMR
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Use between 1815-1862
Monument End Date : 1862
Monument Start Date : 1815
Monument Type : Rangers House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Georgian
Display Date : Constructed in around 1723
Monument End Date : 1723
Monument Start Date : 1723
Monument Type : Villa
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Georgian
Display Date : Additions of 1748
Monument End Date : 1748
Monument Start Date : 1748
Monument Type : Villa
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Use after 1902
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1902
Monument Type : Changing Rooms, Clubhouse, Tea Room
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Mid 20th Century
Display Date : restored 1959
Monument End Date : 1959
Monument Start Date : 1959
Monument Type : Villa
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 200259
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 111
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : CC002319
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 37 NE 39
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 610697
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 610590
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1170194
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :