Pittville 1824-1860: a scene of gorgeous magnificence
Preface to the Online Edition (2018+)
PREFACE to the Online Edition (2018+)
Since the publication of the first edition of this text by Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums in 1988, I have from time to time been able to collect additional information relevant to the description of houses built in Pittville between 1824 and 1860, often from correspondents kind enough to notify me of their own findings. I have also, recently, been gathering information on later Pittville buildings. This online edition offers an opportunity to present the original text, which has been out of print for many years, while at the same time updating this with corrections and additions. I hope to return to this regularly in future, as new information becomes available, so that the book can again represent the most up-to-date record of the emergence of Pittville’s building stock.
I would like to record my thanks to those organisations who have permitted copyright material to be republished in this online edition. They are mentioned in the text, though the names of several significant organisations in Gloucestershire have changed since the original publication of Pittville 1824-1860. The Gloucestershire Record Office is now known as the Gloucestershire Archives, and the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums is now The Wilson. Their assistance is grateful acknowledged here, as is that of the Cheltenham Local and Family History Library. This online edition is published by Pittville History Works, part of the Friends of Pittville, by kind permission of Cheltenham Borough Council, under the Open Government Licence.
PREFACE and ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS to the First Edition
Firstly, l should like to thank all those house-owners who, during the 12 years that l have been researching the history of Pittville, have permitted me to study the title deeds of their houses. l also wish to thank the many banks, building societies and solicitors who have so willingly made those deeds available to me. My thanks are also due to the legal section of the Town Clerk's department for access to the Borough's Pittville deeds, and to the staff of Gloucestershire Record Office and Cheltenham Reference Library for their helpfulness at all times. l also wish to acknowledge the support that l have received from George Breeze, the Director, and from all my colleagues at the Art Gallery and Museums, particularly Susan Ragon, who undertook the necessary typing. l have received considerable help from Elisabeth Gemmill, both in my research and in the preparation of this booklet. Trish Reynolds assisted in reading and checking drafts and proofs, and Barbara Rawes, Charles More and Jeremy Jefferies gave valuable advice on specific points. To all of them my thanks are due. I am most grateful to Bill Jackson of Nimsfeilde Press for his advice on the production of this booklet and to Jon Hoyle for drawing the map. Finally, l should like to thank my wife, Maggie, for her sustained interest in my research, and constant practical help and moral support over many years.
This publication has been financed by a repayable subsidy from Cheltenham Borough Council, with financial assistance from the Gloucestershire Architectural Association, the Pittville Area Residents’ Association and the Cheltenham Civic Society, to all of whom I am most grateful.
Dr Steven Blake
Deputy Director and Keeper of Social History
Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums
Copyright © 2018 Friends of Pittville - Charity Commission Registration No. 1146790
Pittville Gates, from George Rowe's Illustrated Cheltenham Guide (1845), showing the entrance to the
Pittville ‘walks and rides’ from Winchcombe Street,and a number of houses built in 1832-5.
On the left are Pittville Mansion and Segrave House and on the right is Segrave Place.
In the summer of 1833, the Scottish writer Catherine Sinclair visited Cheltenham and wrote in her journal, later published under the title Hill and Valley (1838):
‘On Tuesday morning, we drove in a horse fly to visit Pitville (sic) in the suburbs of Cheltenham, a scene of gorgeous magnificence. Here a large estate has been divided into public gardens, and sprinkled with houses of every size, shape and character; — Grecian temples, Italian villas, and citizen's boxes, so fresh and clean, you would imagine they were all blown out at once like soap bubbles.’1
150 years on, Pittville still has the power to attract and impress visitors and residents alike, with its spacious gardens, ornamental lake, Pump Room and array of fine houses, 216 of which were built between 1825 and 1860, the architectural heyday of both Pittville and Cheltenham as a whole. This booklet recounts the history of the Pittville Estate, and in particular its first 35 years, and attempts to date and say a little about each house built by 1860. It also serves as a guide to the estate, highlighting the best of what it has to offer in terms of architectural interest.
Essex Lodge, or the ‘Little Spa', which once stood at the corner of Pittville Lawn and Central Cross Drive.
Reproduced from J. Goding, History of Cheltenham (1863), by courtesy of Cheltenham Local and Family History Library.
THE ORIGINS OF PITTVILLE c.1716 — 1824
The origins of Pittville are wholly bound up with the rise of Cheltenham as a spa in the 18th and early 19th centuries.2 Medicinal waters were first discovered in a field to the south of the town in c.1716, and Cheltenham gradually became a popular resort for the gentry, particularly from the 1780s and especially after the five-week visit of King George III in 1788. As the number of visitors increased, so too did the resident population. Between 1712 and 1781, the estimated population grew from 1,500 to 2,000, and by 1801 it stood at 3,076. Inevitably, the houses and inns of the market town were inadequate to cope with this growth, and new houses were gradually built both within and on the fringes of the town. In 1712, the number of houses was stated as 321, but by 1801 it had increased to 710. ln addition, the popularity of the spa persuaded a number of enterprising men to acquire land adjacent to the town on which to establish new spa wells, five of which — including Pittville — were in operation by 1834. Adjoining several of these new spas were extensive tree-lined walks, rides and gardens, in which the visitors could take the air, either on foot, horseback, or by carriage. As the demand for building land increased in the early decades of the 19th century, the land alongside the walks and rides came to provide ideal sites for houses to accommodate seasonal visitors and wealthy residents, and thereby to increase the landowners’ potential profits still further. The building of at least 500 such houses, set amidst the walks and rides of a new spa, was clearly uppermost in Joseph Pitt’s mind when he decided to establish Pittville in the 1820s.
Joseph Pitt, a lithograph by George Rowe, based on a portrait by Richard Dighton, c.1835. The Wilson (formerly Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums)
The future site of Pittville lay partly within Cheltenham parish and partly within Prestbury, the boundary being Wyman’s Brook, which was later dammed to form the Pittville Lake. Throughout the 18th century, that part of the future estate which lay within Cheltenham formed part of two distinct areas, approximately divided by the future line of Evesham Road.3 To the west was an area of common land known as ‘The Marsh’, on which the burgage tenants of the manor had a traditional right to pasture their beasts, while to the east was part of the Open, or Common, Fields, a relic of the town’s medieval agrarian system whereby the land was owned in small strips by a large number of owners, even though it was cultivated ‘in common’. The site of Pittville appears to have been part of the North Field (a name perhaps recalled by Northfield Terrace), although by the 19th century this had been subdivided into a number of smaller fields and enclosures, those on which Pittville was to arise being known as Wyman's Brook Field and (at the southern end of the future estate) Great and Little Leechcroft and Jordan’s Cherry Orchard. By 1800 its only buildings were a row of seven cottages called Union Row, on the west side of Prestbury Road (a site now occupied by 24-6 Prestbury Road), and a farmhouse at the top of North Place, known variously as Byrch's or Arkell’s Farm, or as Field Lodge, a site now occupied by the south-east corner of Clarence Square. The farm is perhaps best remembered as the residence, in 1803, of the actress Sarah Siddons, who described it as ‘a little cottage … some distance from the town, perfectly retired, surrounded by hills and fields and groves’.4
The divided and piecemeal pattern of ownership within the Open Fields precluded its development as building land, and it was to alleviate this problem that an Act of Parliament was obtained in 1801 whereby the Open Fields and other common lands on the north side of the town could be ‘enclosed’ into varying-sized allotments, which would then be ‘awarded’ to all those who could prove ownership rights, or other financial interests, in the Open Fields. A moving spirit behind the obtaining of the Act was undoubtedly Joseph Pitt, who was eventually to benefit more than any other individual from the enclosure of the fields (see photograph). Born to yeoman parents at Little Witcombe in 1759, Pitt is said to have begun his career by ‘holding gentlemen's horses for a penny; when, appearing a sharp lad, an attorney took a fancy to him and bred him to his own business'.5 This was at Cirencester, where Pitt became an attorney in c.1780. He later invested the profits of his legal business in banking and in the purchase of land in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, including substantial property at Cheltenham, where his earliest recorded purchases were of several small tracts of land to the north-east of the town from July 1789 onwards.6 His single largest purchase was of a little over 105 acres of land, bought at auction from the Earl of Essex in August 1799 and conveyed to Pitt for £11,470 on 27 September 1800.7 These lands formed a major part of the Church, or Glebe, lands at Cheltenham and included many tracts in the Open Fields, although not, it seems, any of the land on which Pittville was later to arise. The purchase also included the Impropriate Rectory of Cheltenham, which brought with it the responsibility for the upkeep of the chancel of the parish church, the payment of the incumbent’s stipend, and other charitable payments. lt also gave Pitt the right to collect the tithe payments on land within the parish — a right that was to prove crucial to his subsequent acquisition of the site of Pittville.
Although the Inclosure Act was passed in 1801, it was not until January 1806 that the final Award was made, in which Pitt received 253½ acres of land in 25 separate allotments, including virtually the entire site of Pittville south of Wyman’s Brook (see photograph). The awards were made to Pitt in respect of his former Glebe lands in the Open Fields, his rights to the tithe payments on land in the Open Fields, which he lost at the enclosure, and his other scattered pre-1801 landholdings within the fields. In effect they made Pitt the single largest landowner in Cheltenham and made possible the eventual development of Pittville.
Even if Pitt had the creation of Pittville in mind by 1806, it was not until the 1820s that he felt the time was right for its establishment. In the meantime, his newly acquired estates continued to be cultivated, whilst he extended his estates and influence still further. In 1807, he purchased a ‘country seat’, Eastcourt House in Wiltshire, to which he moved from his house in Cirencester, and in 1812 he sold his solicitor’s practice and became MP for Cricklade, a position that he held until 1831. In 1810, he purchased from Robert Hayward, for £800, a quarter acre of land adjoining Prestbury Road, the site of the recently demolished Union Row.8 This completed his ownership of the future site of the estate south of Wyman’s Brook, while in 1821 he acquired from the executors of Francis Welles approximately 48 acres of land in Prestbury, to acquit the principal and outstanding interest on a £6,000 loan made by Pitt to Welles in 1813. This land included, immediately to the north of Wyman’s Brook, the major part of a close of land in Drinkseed or Prestbury Field, known as Heath's Piece, which Welles had purchased from the executors of Eleanor Heath in 1804.9 It was on this 16½ acre tract of land that the Pump Room and northern part of Pittville were later to arise. The only part of the future estate that was not in Pitt’s hands by 1821 was a 6½ acre close called Cleeve Path Length Piece, immediately to the west of Heath’s Piece, and later occupied by a part of Albert Road. This was acquired from Welles’ executors in 1821 by the brewer John Gardner, who exchanged it with Pitt for some land in Cheltenham, to the west of Pittville, in January 1831.10
A contemporary copy of part of the 1806 Cheltenham lnclosure Award, showing land to the north of the High Street,
including allotments 43 and 168, later occupied by the southern part of Pittville. Allotment 168 includes Byrch’s Farm,
while Union Row (allotment 338) is seen on the west side of Prestbury Road.
Reproduced by courtesy of Gloucestershire Archives. (Enlarge image)
The timing of Pitt's decision to establish his new spa and estate was clearly influenced both by the pattern of events at Cheltenham in the preceding years and by the national economic situation. Between 1801 and 1821, the recorded population of the town rose from 3,076 to 13,388 and the number of visitors to the spas also increased, both of which fuelled the demand for building land and houses. Already between 1801 and 1821, 1,700 new houses had been built in Cheltenham, including Royal Crescent and Cambray Place, both of which were developed by Pitt on land acquired from the Earl of Essex. The pace of building quickened still further after 1820, as the country as a whole experienced an economic and building ‘boom’ with apparently unlimited capital available for investment in building. In November 1823, the Gloucester Journal remarked of Cheltenham that, ‘it is stated, in proof of the continued increase in this place that there are at present contracts entered into for building to the enormous amount of more than £350,000 and that upwards of 4,500 workmen are in daily employment on houses and buildings now erecting there’,11 while by November 1825, the Cheltenham Journal was able to refer to the situation as a ‘brick and mortar mania’.12 These impressions are certainly borne out by the available statistics. According to Samuel Griffith’s New Historical Description of Cheltenham (1826), 1,053 new houses were built between 1821 and the end of 1825, and these years saw several hundred acres of building land put onto the market, including the Lansdown and Suffolk Estates, as well as Pittville, which between them had lots for almost 1,000 houses.
Cheltenham from Marl Hill, an engraving by W. Radclyffe, published in S. Y. Griffith, New Historical Description of Cheltenham (1826).
A view looking south across the future site of Pittville towards Cheltenham, where Holy Trinity Church may be seen.
The isolated house to the left of the flock of sheep is Byrch’s Farm, the site of which is now occupied by the south-east corner of Clarence Square.
The Wilson (formerly Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums).
A plan of the Pittville Estate, published in S. Y. Griffith, New Historical Description of Cheltenham (1826), showing the proposed layout of its houses.
Reproduced by courtesy of Cheltenham Local and Family History Library. (Enlarge image)
THE CREATION OF THE ESTATE 1824 — 1830
Joseph Pitt’s scheme was for an estate of approximately 100 acres, crossed by several miles of gravelled walks and rides, alongside which lots for between 500 and 600 houses were to be made available. These would accommodate both seasonal visitors to the new Pittville Spa and the wealthy individuals and families whom Pitt hoped would settle permanently at Pittville. The walks and rides were to be planted with trees, and several ‘ornamental pleasure grounds’ were to be created, notably a ‘Long Garden’ at the heart of the estate, between Evesham Road and Pittville Lawn, and in a projected residential Crescent and two Squares. Towards the northern end of the estate, an ornamental lake was to be formed, with a bridge across Wyman’s Brook at each end, beyond which, reached by a promenade lined with shrubberies, was to stand the Pump Room itself, and beyond that a church to serve the ‘new town’ of Pittville. For it was as a new town, rather than as a mere northward extension of Cheltenham that Pitt envisaged Pittville, a town, according to a contemporary guide book, ‘rivalling its parent Cheltenham both in extent and importance’.13
The designs for the Pump Room and for the general layout of the estate were entrusted to a local architect, John Forbes, a surprising choice given that for the Royal Crescent, 20 years earlier, Pitt had employed a prominent Bath architect, Charles Harcourt Masters. Born c.1795, Forbes had trained at the Royal Academy Schools in London and was working in Cheltenham by 1820 (see photograph).14 Virtually nothing is known of his architectural work before his appointment by Pitt, and Pittville was undoubtedly the single most important commission of his entire career. His proposed layout (see photograph), a plan of which was included in Griffith’s New Historical Description of Cheltenham (1826) is almost identical to the area as it is now, at least in terms of street layout, although the density and arrangement of the houses are very different, including, for instance, at least 34 houses north of the lake, forming Leinster and St Alban’s Villas, which were never built. Only in those parts of the estate built before c.1840 was Forbes’ original plan adhered to, the keynote of which was to provide a combination of villas and terraces, often alternating with one another, an arrangement best seen in parts of Evesham Road and Pittville Lawn.
John Forbes, a watercolour by Richard Dighton, probably painted in 1828 (above). Reproduced by courtesy of Rickerby Jessop (solicitors).
According to James Buckman’s A Guide to Pittville (1842), the first medicinal well at Pittville was dug in 1822, although it was not until 1824 that work on the creation of the new estate began. The earliest reference to the proposed estate may be found in the Bath & Cheltenham Gazette for 11 May 1824, which noted that
‘a gentleman of wealth is about to build a new Pump Room on a grand and magnificent scale, in a field at a short distance beyond the Evesham Turnpike Gate, at the top of Portland Street … a promenade with handsome detached edifices will be thrown open from the Winchcomb Turnpike Gate to the Pump Room in addition to the Portland Road, and very extensive improvements will be made in the neighbourhood’.
James Buckman refers to these early days of the estate, noting how a year or so after the sinking of the well ‘a change began to manifest itself — the fields were left uncultivated — a pond at the base of the eminence on which the Spa now stands was widened into a lake — wide lines of roads and walks were soon to be seen — and in one more year, the foundations of the Pump Room were laid’,15 the latter event taking place on 4 May 1825.
The actual responsibility for laying out the walks and rides and for planting the ornamental pleasure grounds was that of a nurseryman named Richard Ware, who later (1828) established a Nursery Ground at the south-west corner of Wellington Square. Assisted no doubt by a small army of workmen, Ware seems to have completed his task by 1827, by which time the bridges at either end of the new lake had been built, several main sewers had been created, and a small subsidiary spa well, known as Essex Lodge or the ‘Little Spa’ had been established halfway along the Long Garden (see photograph in Introduction). In order to provide improved access between Pittville and the High Street, the narrow Portland Passage, which ran between High Street and Portland Street, had been widened during 1824 to form the new Pittville Street; the necessary work was undertaken by Pitt, who received a contribution of £3,000 from the Paving Commissioners. Progress on the building of the Pump Room was rather slower, and it was not until July 1830 that it was completed and opened to the public.16
The establishment of the estate and the building of the Pump Room were matched by preparations for the sale of building lots. Forbes’ plans, which were completed in July 1824, included the division of the building land into 16 sections or ‘classes’, each distinguished by a letter from A to Q (excluding the letter J) and subdivided into numbered building lots of varying frontage according to the type of house envisaged.17 Each lot was to be offered freehold, subject to an annual rent charge, payable to joseph Pitt, which was intended as a contribution towards the general upkeep of the estate and the provision of a water-supply and sewers. The rent charges varied between £1 and £4 10s. according to the size and situation of each lot. Each purchaser was to abide by certain restrictive covenants, which were incorporated either in a preliminary building agreement or in the title deeds.18 Although these covenants varied slightly from lot to lot, they tended to follow the same basic format. The number and type of houses to be built were generally stipulated, as was the time-scale of their construction, usually between 12 and 18 months. A ‘building line’, forward of which nothing was to be built was imposed, or the house was stipulated to be built in line with other adjoining houses. The purchaser generally agreed to build to an elevation and external appearance approved by Pitt and signed by himself and Pitt’s architect and surveyor, often in an identical style to another named house or houses. The best example of this concerns the two terraces of five houses built in Pittville Lawn between 1836 and 1838 (now nos. 45-53 and 59-67), in which the appearance of each house was to correspond exactly to the equivalent house in an earlier terrace of five houses further along Pittville Lawn (nos. 29-37), even to the style of ornamental ironwork to be affixed to the house. The internal arrangements of each house were, however, solely the purchaser's concern, and it is not unusual to find adjoining houses with very different room-plans, if different builders were involved.
Part of the Pittville Deed of Covenants and General Regulation, drawn up on 1 January 1827 and signed by 164 purchasers
of building lots at Pittville between 1827 and 1841. The signatures shown here are of some of the earliest purchasers of land,
including Juliana Charlotte Wade (Pittville House, Wellington Road); Elizabeth and Eleanor Wallace (Aviary and Laurel Lodge, Wellington Square);
Alexander Limond (Glenmore Lodge, Wellington Square); William Jay (2-4 Evesham Road) and William Pitt (33 Pittville Lawn).
The first column shows the annual rent charge and the second column the purchase price.
Each house was to be built ‘fit for habitation with fit and proper materials and in a good and workmanlike manner’, the brickwork being faced with ‘well cleansed freestone or Roman cement’ and roofed with slates ‘not inferior in quality to the Countess blue slates’. Occasionally (and particularly in the sales of land following Pitt's death) a minimum value per house was also stated. The external appearance of the house was to be maintained at all times and not to be altered in any way, and the number and placement of additional buildings such as coach-houses, stables and greenhouses was often stipulated. Once the house had been built, the land in front was to be laid out as an ‘ornamental pleasure ground’, and fenced with iron railings, in a style once again to be approved by Pitt, and often in unity with the adjoining houses. Seven foot high brick walls were to be built on the other three sides of the property, the cost often being shared with the builders of adjoining houses. Purchasers were permitted to cut cross-drains into one of the estate's network of sewers, and were responsible for laying down a pavement and gutter of ‘good tooled forest stone’ in front of their houses, either nine or ten feet wide according to situation.
Prohibitions included a general responsibility ‘not to permit or suffer any act, deed, matter or thing … which can, shall or may be deemed a nuisance, injury or annoyance to or which shall or may deteriorate or lessen in value any adjoining or neighbouring lands or property or any messuage or dwelling house to be erected thereafter’ as well as the prohibition of a number of specific activities. These included the letting of any coach-house or stable separately from the house for which it was built, the sinking of any dry or medicinal well and the establishment of any manufactory, trade or business except those of librarian, nurseryman or florist, coffee house keeper or hotelier. The only exception to this was in Prestbury Road and Segrave Place (now the southern part of Pittville Lawn), where a number of shops were to be permitted, although only those in Prestbury Road were ever built as such, as Pitt decided in 1832 to increase the frontage of the lots in Segrave Place in order to allow room for higher quality houses.19 Also, on at least two occasions, owners were permitted to establish private schools at Pittville—in one instance, that of Billbrook House and 1 Clarence Road, on condition that no signboard was erected outside the house. Among the privileges conferred on purchasers was a right to use the walks and rides of the estate (although all building materials had to be transported by the back roads) and the private gardens, which were to be surrounded by iron railings, with gates, for which keys would be supplied. The gardens could be used by the owners or occupiers of the houses, or by their visitors, but not by their servants, unless in charge of the children of someone who was permitted to use them!
Although John Forbes’ responsibilities as estate architect and surveyor - for which he received 5 per cent of all sales—included the designing of its overall layout, the measuring out of building lots and the supervision of builders to ensure that the covenants were adhered to, it is clear that the responsibility for designing the houses was not his alone. No contract between Pitt and Forbes has survived to throw light on the situation, but the draft of an agreement between Pitt and a later estate architect, Henry Merrett, has survived and may well reflect existing practice at Pittville.20 Drawn up in 1836, it includes among the architect’s tasks one to
‘make all designs for Rows of Buildings … and … inspect and see to all designs for villas, that they be such as will in no way affect the general good appearance of the Estate, the proprietors of such villa or villas paying … for any Designs or alterations of Designs for such villa or villas’.
The implication is that while the purchasers of terraced lots had to accept (and pay for) the elevations prepared by the estate architect, those who bought villa lots could select an architect and style of their choice, as long as the estate surveyor approved the designs. As a majority of the villas were built either by, or for, wealthy intending residents, this distinction in the architect’s role may have been there to encourage prosperous individuals to build and settle at Pittville by allowing them a choice of architect and architectural style. Certainly, no two villas at Pittville are the same, and this architectural variety is highlighted in Henry Davies’ View of Cheltenham in its Past and Present State (1843), which draws attention to Pittville Lawn, with its ‘series of fourteen or fifteen excellent houses, several of them detached and separately named, and differing greatly from each other in size and architectural appearance, and all occupied by families of ample independent fortune’.21
Building lots at Pittville were first offered for sale in September 1824, and there was clearly no shortage of takers. On 21 September 1824, the Bath & Cheltenham Gazette stated that ‘land has already been sold to the amount of £80,000 and a large Crescent has been projected, every lot of which has been eagerly purchased’, while Henry Davies, writing in his 1832 Stranger’s Guide to Cheltenham recalled the optimism of 1824 when he wrote that the building lots
‘were all bought up with eager avidity by the more speculating inhabitants of the town … and the excited imaginations of the adventurers saw crescents, terraces, and villas, spring up before them, like the enchanted cities of Arabian romance, in the perspective of a few years. Large fortunes were to be speedily realised, and wealth the sure and certain reward of all who embarked on this new undertaking—this El Dorado of the sanguine and the visionary!’22
Clearly, by the end of 1824, the way was open for the rapid development of the estate, although circumstances beyond Pitt's control were soon to interrupt its progress, and many of the ‘adventurers’ failed to complete their purchases. How much the project had cost Pitt is uncertain, several figures ranging from £30,000 to £60,000 being quoted in contemporary sources. Certainly the establishment of Pittville coincides with a period in which Pitt raised a series of large mortgages on the security of his estates, and Pittville may well have become a drain on his resources. This may be indicated by the fact that neither the proposed new church, nor two ‘grand entrances to Pittville’ from Winchcombe and Portland Streets were ever built; the Cheltenham Journal for 7 July 1828 bemoaned the omission of the latter, and claimed that ‘a couple of triumphal arches might be erected at a trifling expense’.
Capel Court (now Malden Court, Pittville Lawn), an engraving from S. Y. Griffith, History of Cheltenham and its Vicinity (1838).
An inscription below the engraving notes that Capel Court was the residence of Stubbs Wightwick, Esq. and that it was designed by Paul and Sons
and built by Haines and Son. Reproduced by courtesy of Cheltenham Local and Family History Library.
BUILDING AT PITTVILLE 1825—60
Before examining the chronology of Pittville’s development between 1825 and 1860, it is important to consider the way in which the land was developed for building and the sorts of people who were involved in its development—in short, to look at what is sometimes called ‘the building process’. The information for this is derived from the building history of the estate's houses, as summarised in the Gazetter.
Land at Pittville was bought by a large number of individuals, each of whom either built on it himself, employed someone to build on it for him, or resold it, generally at a profit, to someone else. The last of these was particularly the case with those persons who bought a large block of land and then transferred it in smaller lots to individual builders. Among those who did this were Nathaniel Walford and William Williams with regard to the west sides of Clarence and Wellington Squares respectively, and William Gregson Pitt with regard to Leamington Place.
In all, 216 houses were built at Pittville between 1825 and 1860, and in 208 cases it has been possible to identify with reasonable certainty the name of the person who bought the land, either directly from Pitt or from an intermediary, and who was then responsible for the construction of a house or houses upon it. These purchasers may be divided into two groups—those who built a house for their own occupation and those who built as a speculation, with the intention of selling the completed house, or of renting it to tenants.
Of the two groups, the former was by far the smaller, only 20 of the 208 houses having been built by their subsequent first occupant. Most of these were wealthy individuals who wished to have a house (usually a detached villa) in the style and location of their choice, and although some may have personally supervised the construction of their house, employing the necessary craftsmen, it is more likely that they engaged a professional builder to do so for them. Several of these purchasers were women, while a significant number were military or East India Company officers, of whom the earliest was Lt.-Col. Alexander Limond, who built Glenmore Lodge, Wellington Square, in 1826-7.
The second, and far larger group of land purchasers at Pittville were the speculators, many of whom were involved in the building industry and who no doubt personally undertook the construction of their houses. They included some of Cheltenham’s leading professional builders, such as Henry Haines, who built Heathfield Lodge (now Regency Lodge, Pittville Lawn) in c.1835, and Edward Cope, who built Alwington Villa (now Christie College, Prestbury Road) in 1839-40 and who was also responsible for laying out the area around Pittville Circus. Others were builders’ merchants, while a large number were specialist craftsmen, such as carpenters, painters, plumbers and bricklayers. One must assume that these craftsmen normally worked for the more substantial professional builders, but, particularly during the building booms, were tempted to ‘go it alone’ and to buy some land and build houses themselves—occasionally, as the history of the estate shows, with unfortunate results. Many of these craftsmen were, however, successful and several eventually established large building businesses, as for instance did plumbers James Creed and Henry Kilbey, the former being one of only two craftsman-builders who is known to have lived in Pittville, being resident at 7 Segrave Place (now 15 Pittville Lawn) in 1851.
Other speculators at Pittville were professional men already involved in some way with the practical, legal or financial aspects of building, such as architects, surveyors, bankers, and solicitors. There was also a small group of speculators who were in no way connected with the building industry, including a bell-hanger, Thomas Millward, who built two houses in Pittville Lawn in 1836-7 and a partnership between a draper, Thomas Fox, and a widow, Anne Coleman, who built Pittville Mansion (now Pitfirrane House, Pittville Lawn) in 1832-3. As with the wealthy intending residents who bought a building lot, these individuals may have employed a professional builder to construct their houses for them.
Of the 208 houses for which the identity of the person responsible for their building is known, 176 were built by a single individual and 13 by partnerships, while in 19 cases the original purchaser failed to complete the house, which was finished by someone else. In all, a list of those responsible for building the houses includes no less than 119 individuals, 74 of whose names appear only once—an indication of the very large number of people involved in building at Pittville. Indeed, only nine individuals are known to have been responsible for more than three houses, of whom by far the most prolific was Abraham Tyler, who built or completed 23 houses, including much of Pittville Parade and Pittville Villas. The others were Solomon Sims, who built or completed nine houses in the two Squares; Samuel Broom, Thomas Cantell and Edward Tyler, who were each responsible for seven houses; Nathaniel Walford, responsible for six; James Creed and Robert Stokes, responsible for five each, and Edward Billings, responsible for four.
A building certificate, issued by Richard Billings, the Town Surveyor, to William Richardson,
the builder of 6 Clarence Square, on 4 April 1834.
Reproduced by courtesy of Gloucestershire Archives (CBR/A3/5/2/11).
The prices paid for building land at Pittville varied according to a number of factors. These included the area and frontage of each lot, the number of lots purchased, their location within the estate and the level of demand for building land at the time of sale. Land was clearly more expensive during 1824-5 than it was during the slump of 1826-30, while the price of lots appears to have increased gradually from 1831 onwards. Often, however, the prices paid for apparently similar lots varied so much that it is difficult to give more than a general indication of price levels.
As far as terraced houses were concerned, the cheapest lots were those in Pittville Terrace and Leamington Place, which sold for £70-£80 and £80-£100 respectively. These lots each had frontages of 20 feet, whilst those in the two Squares and in Segrave Place, with frontages of 22 to 24 feet, sold for between £100 and £175. Rather more expensive were those in Evesham Road, where lots in Blenheim Parade cost as much as £210, while the most expensive of all were those in the two terraces of five houses built in Pittville Lawn in 1836-8 (now nos. 45-53 and 59-67), which Thomas Phipps Thomas bought for £210 each and resold for as much as £325 each. The cost of villa lots was generally higher still, most selling for at least £200, and several—particularly in Pittville Lawn—costing £600 or more.
Many individuals who agreed to purchase a piece of land at Pittville signed a preliminary building agreement, incorporating the various covenants. This was followed at a later date by the formal conveyance of the land, once the title deeds had been prepared, at which time the purchase money was due. Once the agreement had been signed, building could begin. Evidence of exactly how builders worked is lacking, and although professional builders probably had their own workforce, the craftsman-builders presumably had to hire whatever labour was needed to complement their own skills, and perhaps even co-operated with the builders of adjoining houses to pool their talents. Building materials were obtained locally—Cheltenham’s clay soil was ideal for brick-making, stone was available from the quarries on Leckhampton Hill, and timber, slates, lead, ironwork and paving slabs could he purchased from the town’s builders’ merchants, many of whom no doubt obtained their materials via the tramroad (and later the railway) which connected Cheltenham to Gloucester and its docks.
In order to finance their building projects, many builders arranged mortgages or other credit facilities. Building materials were often obtained on credit, and occasionally, Joseph Pitt, or an intermediate vendor if one was involved, would allow the purchase money to remain on mortgage, at either 4½ or 5 per cent interest per annum, the latter being the highest rate of interest allowed under the usury laws. More usually though, the builder would raise a separate mortgage, on the security of the property, occasionally from a bank, but more often from a private individual, arranged through his bank or solicitor. Of the 168 houses at Pittville for which a full building history is available, 110 were mortgaged during the course of their construction, the amounts borrowed per house varying from £100 to £1,800, and averaging £770, once again at 4½ or 5 per cent interest. Mortgages were initially for one year, but often continued for many years, the lender being content as long as the annual interest was paid. On occasion, however, builders failed to maintain their payments, or were unable to repay the capital when requested to do so, and several houses at Pittville were repossessed and sold by mortgagees during these years.
Although a small number of tradesmen were included amongst those who loaned money to Pittville’s builders, the majority were professional or leisured people, including several clergymen, widows and spinsters. Many mortgagees were from Cheltenham, but others came from further afield, and loans from individuals living in Bath, Plymouth and London are recorded, as are a large number from Worcestershire. Some individuals loaned money to a succession of builders, the single most important lender being an Evesham banker, Nathaniel Hartland, who moved to Charlton Kings in 1836. Either individually, or with various partners, Hartland is known to have loaned a total of £11,910 to the builders of 13 houses at Pittville between 1835 and 1840.
Apart from the few cases in which houses were built by their intending occupants, most newly built houses were either sold or rented to tenants, depending on whether the builder sought a quick return (or perhaps needed to settle his debts) or a long-term investment. Title deeds provide evidence for the sale of 86 houses at Pittville between 1827 and 1860, the prices varying from as low as £500 for houses in Leamington Place to well over £2,000 for many villas, the highest recorded price being for Anlaby House, sold for £3,650 in 1842. Evidence for certain locations is fuller than for others. ln Clarence Square, for instance, the sale of 24 terraced houses between 1833 and 1845 is recorded, at an average price of £1,100 per house, while in Pittville Lawn, the sale of 11 of the 15 terraced houses facing the Long Garden is recorded between 1827 and 1838, at an average price of £1,680 per house. These averages should, however, be treated only as approximations, as house prices must have fluctuated with changing demand, and it certainly appears that houses commanded higher prices when newly built than they did 10 or 15 years later.
The men and women who bought the houses fall into two groups—those who wished to occupy the house themselves and those who purchased houses as an investment, to rent to tenants. Many of the former were from the same social background as those who built houses for their own occupation, or who loaned money to builders, as indeed were many of those who bought houses as an investment, although they also included many wealthy tradesmen. A number of individuals purchased several houses at Pittville during these years, notably Mary Carden, who bought six houses between 1835 and 1839, and Thomas Umbers, who bought four, all from Nathaniel Walford, to whom he also loaned money by way of mortgage. Evidence for the level of rents is even scantier than that for house prices, information for only 13 houses being available, with rents varying from £55 per annum for a house in Pittville Parade in 1843 to £245 per annum for 2 Berkeley Villas in 1845. Houses were either rented on a long-term or seasonal basis, presumably furnished—indeed, the deeds of 65 Pittville Lawn include a full inventory of the furnishings and fittings of the house, supplied in 1839 for the owner, Richard Townsend, by an upholsterer, William Hinton, at a total cost of £667.
From the outset, Pittville was intended as an exclusive residential area, and its progress as such was noted in several contemporary newspapers. On 5 April 1830, the Cheltenham Journal stated that ‘several large houses … are now occupied by families of distinction’, while on 26 March 1835, the Cheltenham Chronicle remarked that ‘already the numerous elegant villas and terraces which have been completed are inhabited by families of high rank’. These statements are certainly borne out by directories and census returns. The 1851 census, for instance, recorded the occupation or status of the head of 157 households at Pittville (out of a total of 198), 80 of whom—including 56 women—were described as fundholders or annuitants, or as the owners of land or houses. Eighteen men were described as retired or as pensioners, including 12 former army, naval or East India Company officers, while another 15 were serving members of the armed forces. Other householders were from the professions, namely eight clergy-men, three doctors, a surgeon, three bankers, a surveyor and eight men connected with the law—five solicitors, a judge and two magistrates, one of whom, Stubbs Wightwick, was also Deputy Lieutenant of Gloucestershire. The remaining heads of household included five widows, a farmer, a manufacturer and a foreign merchant, while only 12 could he described as tradesmen or artisans, including builders James Creed and William Gurner Jnr, and the shopkeepers in Leamington Place—a chemist, an upholsterer, a baker, a draper and two grocers.
The many female heads of household in 1851 (63 in all) is particularly noteworthy, as is the high number of military personnel. The latter was characteristic of Cheltenham as a whole throughout the 19th century, a fact that led one irreverent commentator to note that ‘you couldn't fire a shot-gun in any direction without hitting a Colonel’.23 The military were attracted to Cheltenham by its society, mild climate and spa waters (which were believed to be particularly beneficial to digestive systems disordered by service in India) and by the end of the century, the town had been dubbed ‘the Anglo-Indian's Paradise’.24 Inevitably, with so many wealthy residents, the estate also housed many servants, 422 to be exact (362 of them female) at the time of the 1851 census, with as many as eight servants in some of the estate’s larger houses.
The attraction of Pittville for its many wealthy residents is clear, the estate being within easy reach of both the Pump Room and the town, yet sufficiently removed from the busy centre to provide the spacious and socially exclusive combination of town and country that so many sought. As the Cheltenham Chronicle remarked as early as 26 April 1827, the villas under construction were ‘realising every idea which can be found of the rus in urbe’. Architecturally, most of the houses followed simple Classical lines, although a number—particularly the villas—have bolder Greek Revival details, such as lonic and Corinthian columns. A number of houses were built in the Tudor-Gothic style, notably the west sides of the two Squares and Capel Court (now Malden Court) in Pittville Lawn (see photograph in previous section). All were built of brick, faced with either stucco or (from 1836 onwards) ashlar stone. Where the former was used, it was jointed and painted in imitation of stone, and the houses were often adorned with wrought iron balconies and verandas, many of which still survive. Internally, the room arrangements varied greatly from house to house, but in general the kitchens were in the basement, the reception rooms on the ground floor and the bedrooms above, the rooms being distinguished by plaster friezes, marble fireplaces and mahogany door-surrounds.
Although the years 1825-60 saw the building of many fine houses at Pittville, and the creation of what was effectively a garden suburb, the estate was never the success that Pitt had hoped. The popularity of the spa waters began to wane soon after the opening of the Pump Room, which also suffered from its distance from the town centre, particularly as the fashionable life of Cheltenham remained focused to the south of the High Street, in the Promenade and Montpellier. Equally, the numbers of houses built fell short of Pitt's intention, particularly in the estate's early years, and even by 1860, barely half of those originally planned had been constructed—a clear indication that the amount of building land made available in these years had far outstripped the level of demand. Even so, much had been achieved and the next part of this account chronicles the building of the estate over a period of 35 years.
Sale advertisements for houses in Clarence and Wellington Squares, from the Cheltenham Examiner, 20 April 1842.
Reproduced by courtesy of Cheltenham Local and Family History Library.
AN OUTLINE CHRONOLOGY
1825 – 1830: BASELESS FABRIC
The earliest building to take place in the new estate began during 1825, with the construction of the first houses in a terrace called Pittville Parade, on the west side of Evesham Road (now 2-34 Evesham Road; see photograph). On 6 October 1824, Pitt agreed to sell the 17 lots of land forming the site of the intended terrace to a draper, Nathaniel Colt, for £2,450, and Colt subsequently resold them to two other men. An architect, William Jay, purchased the two southernmost lots for £500 and a house-painter, James Watts, purchased the remaining 15 lots for £3,539 19s., a total sale price of £4,039 19s. As was usual in such transactions, the responsibility for paying Joseph Pitt was passed on to the sub-purchasers, Jay agreeing to pay £300 to Pitt and Watts agreeing to pay him £2,150, giving Colt a clear profit of £1,589 19s., an indication of the considerable sums of money that could he made by land speculators during the latter part of the building boom. In this case, however, Watts’ subsequent bankruptcy meant that Colt’s actual profit was far less, for he never received his £1,389 19s. from Watts and eventually (October 1827) sold his interest in the property to the bankers Pitt, Gardner & Co. (of whom Joseph Pitt was a senior partner) for just £160.
Pittville Parade (now 2-34 Evesham Road), a pencil drawing by R. Mackay, 1826. This artist’s impression of the terrace,
which was only partly built in 1826 is inscribed (also in pencil) as ‘Reduced from an architectural design by Mr. Jay Cheltm of 3½ foot by 2 broad’,
which would seem to imply that William Jay designed the terrace as well as building two of its houses.
The Wilson (formerly Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums).
Of the two sub-purchasers, James Watts began work first, undoubtedly before the formal transfer of the land from Colt on 10 October 1825—for by then the two southernmost of his houses (3-4 Pittville Parade) were sufficiently advanced for Watts to arrange their sale; no. 3 was to be sold to Nathaniel Colt for £1,330 and no. 4 to William Ridler, a local banker, for £1,130, the houses to be completed ‘fit for habitation’ by 1 May and midsummer 1826 respectively. On 15 October, Watts raised a £2,000 mortgage on the security of his land and houses from Pitt, Gardner & Co., a sum that was increased to £4,000 on 31 December, by which time the two southernmost houses were completed and five more begun on the adjoining lots. By then, however, Watts had also accumulated considerable debts, and it is clear that his entire project was being financed by credit, not only from the bankers, but also from a host of other individuals, including the suppliers of his building materials. Such a situation was by no means unusual, particularly during a building boom, when credit was easily obtained. In Watts’ case, it also seems that his practical abilities left as much to be desired as did his financial stability, a news item in the Cheltenham Journal for 19 December 1825 suggesting that his work may have been ‘jerry-building’ of the worst kind. The item is entitled ‘Accident’ and reads thus:
‘On Thursday last, an accident, which had nearly proved fatal in its consequences, occurred at Pittville, between 10 and eleven o’clock in the morning, while the masons were at work on one of the new houses, erecting by Mr. Watts, near the New Church, the front wall suddenly gave way, and fell with a dreadful crash, carrying with it three of the workmen. Their escape, with life, was indeed miraculous—one of them was actually walking upon the coping at the moment of the fall, and he was hurled to the earth with such violence, amidst the falling fragments, that he now lies seriously indisposed… The other two men were hurt, but not severely. We know not to what cause the accident is to be attributed, but we hope it will have the effect of drawing the attention of the proprietor to the rest of the building, and thus be instrumental in preventing some more serious calamity. It is to be feared that the present system of building is more calculated for cheapness than durability… It is frightful to think what might have been the consequence had this house been finished and entered upon by tenants, without this discovery in the weakness of its walls, which must sooner or later have betrayed itself. It is a question by no means beneath the consideration of the legislature, whether it would not be desirable to pass a law by which, in all buildings, but especially in those intended for dwellings, the thickness of the main walls should be regulated by the height of the erection, not by the judgement or parsimony of the builder’.25
Watts’ building operations soon came to an end, however, for on 16 January 1826 he was declared bankrupt, a docket having been struck against him by one of his principal creditors, the solicitors Pruen, Griffiths & Pruen. His bankruptcy, though undoubtedly caused by his own over-reached finances, was also part of a wider problem which became apparent throughout the country in December 1825 and which was to affect building at Pittville for several years. The root cause of this problem was, on the one hand, an unstable banking system and on the other, a crisis on the London stock exchange. At this time, England’s provincial banks were small, privately owned ‘country banks’, many of which had seriously over-extended their loans and issued too much paper money during the boom years, relying on the large London banks—and ultimately on the Bank of England—to underwrite them. Meanwhile, over-speculation in unsound investments at home and abroad, and particularly in South American government bonds and mining shares, had caused a slump in share prices, which damaged public confidence. This led to growing uncertainty among bank depositors, which developed into a panic as more and more banks became unable to meet the demand for withdrawals. Low national gold reserves, caused by heavy imports, and the similar difficulties being encountered by several London banks meant that neither they, nor even the Bank of England were able to give significant help, and during December 1825 numerous ‘country banks’ suspended payment, including two of the major banks in Cheltenham, while many failed altogether.
The result for the building industry was a rapid drying up of the credit facilities on which so many builders depended, and a slump in the market for building land and houses, with falling prices and few buyers. Builders such as James Watts found themselves unable to raise the cash with which to complete their projects, and unable to sell their houses in order to recoup their investment and settle their debts. Not surprisingly, the months and years after December 1825 saw a spate of bankruptcies in the building industry, and for a few months at least, building at Pittville appears to have come to a virtual standstill.
There is certainly no lack of contemporary comment regarding the situation. The Revd Francis Witts of Upper Slaughter, for instance, noted in his diary for 1 April 1826 that ‘the building project … on Mr. Pitt’s estate is … in abeyance’, adding on 14 July that ‘probably the late convulsions and particularly the stoppage of Turner’s and Hartland’s banks have arrested the building mania’.26 Another commentator, a Cheltenham solicitor, John Prince, noted in his diary on 4 April 1826 that ‘this heretofore most prosperous place has experienced a great reverse of fortune. Money was never known to be so scarce here or in the kingdom generally’, adding on 3 October that ‘house property at Cheltenham is actually unsaleable at any price which this time 12 months [ago] was so very valuable‘.27 Prince's latter comment echoed that of William Cobbett, who visited Cheltenham on 30 September 1826 and wrote in his Register that ‘I have been told, and believe the fact, that houses in Cheltenham will now sell for only just about one-third as much as the same would have sold for only last October’.28
Henry Davies, whose 1832 account of the optimism of 1824-5 has already been quoted, also recalled the disappointment of 1826 when he wrote of Pittville that
‘scarcely had these golden dreams assumed even a dream-like consistency, when the commercial panic which now seized the country dissolved the magic spell and the ‘baseless fabric’ of prosperity melted into ‘thin air’ … Of the five hundred houses which, six years ago, were to have been erected around Pittville, not one hundred have as yet made their appearance above the soil’.29
… and, as will be shown, most of the houses that had been built by 1832 actually post-dated 1830. James Watts was one of Cheltenham’s earliest victims of the economic downturn, and a notice of his bankruptcy was inserted in the London Gazette on 4 February 1826. Watts was ordered to surrender to the Commissioners appointed by the Court of Bankruptcy, at the Royal Hotel in Cheltenham at 5 p.m. on 23 February, and to meet with them again, along with his creditors, the following morning. On 24 February, two assignees were appointed, to whom his assets, including his property at Pittville and three houses elsewhere in the town, were handed over so they could be sold for the benefit of his creditors. In all, Watts owed a total of £13,167 3s. 11d. to at least 30 different creditors, by far the largest of whom were Pitt, Gardner & Co., who were owed more than half the total amount by way of mortgage and overdraft. Other creditors included a surveyor, three timber merchants, a brickmaker, an ironmonger and several carpenters, bricklayers, plumbers and labourers, who were owed small amounts of money which presumably represented unpaid wages.30
Although Watts’ assignees had been instructed to sell the property, they were still in possession of it two years later, which is not surprising given the already-mentioned downturn in the land and housing markets in 1826. A further meeting of creditors was held on 19 January 1828, at which the two of them who turned up agreed to the transfer of the property to Pitt, Gardner & Co., in lieu of Watts’ debt to the bankers, which was far greater than the value of the property. The land and houses were conveyed to the bankers on 3 June 1828, at which time they paid Joseph Pitt the £1,250 outstanding on Watts’ purchase (a sum of £900 having been paid to Pitt by Watts during the latter part of 1825) and the rest of the creditors a dividend of 5s. in the pound. Watts himself had received his ‘certificate of conformity’ in May 1826 and presumably avoided the debtors’ prison, although no more is heard of him as a builder. His five partly built houses at Pittville remained unfinished until the 1830s and must have presented a sorry sight to visitors making their way through the estate.
Whether or not any other houses were begun at Pittville during 1825 is uncertain, although an item in the Gloucester Herald for 14 January 1826 may imply that they were. This noted that
‘The works at Pittville are in progress, though necessarily suspended by the rigour of the season and checked, perhaps, in a temporary degree, by those commercial embarrassments which Cheltenham has not had the good fortune to escape … some very elegant houses are completing on various spots under the superintendence of Mr. William Jay, a gentleman whose architectural merits are most admirably displayed in every task he has hitherto undertaken’.
Certainly Francis Witts noted ‘a few handsome shells of houses’ when he passed through Pittville on 14 July 1826, while on 11 September 1826,31 the Cheltenham Journal wrote that
‘notwithstanding the poverty of the times has thrown so great an impediment in the way of building, we are happy to observe that some private individuals have already commenced erecting mansions at Pittville and we have heard of several more who next Spring mean to enter upon a similar undertaking’.
In all, 19 houses appear to have been either completed or partly built by 1830, in addition to those erected by James Watts. These included 1-2 Pittville Parade, which William Jay built during 1826-7, and several large detached villas which were certainly being constructed in 1826 as residences for their wealthy builders. These were Pittville House in Wellington Road, built by Juliana Charlotte Wade, and four houses on the north side of Wellington Square—Glenmore Lodge, built by Lt.-Col. Alexander Limond and three houses built by Eleanor Wallace and her daughter Elizabeth—‘Aviary’, which became their home, and the semi-detached Laurel Lodge East and West, which they rented to tenants. Whether or not William Jay was the architect of any of these houses—or, indeed, of Pittville Parade, as seems likely—cannot be proved, although he was certainly one of the more notable architects to work in Cheltenham during the 1820s. Born at Bath in 1793, Jay had trained in London before emigrating to the United States in 1817, where he pursued a successful architectural career at Savannah (Georgia), designing a succession of public buildings and private houses before returning to England in 1824. By 1825 he was living in Cheltenham, where in addition to his architectural practice he worked as a builder, both at Pittville and elsewhere in the town. In so doing, he got into debt and was declared bankrupt on 1 August 1828. By the time his bankruptcy was discharged in March 1830 he had left Cheltenham, and after several years at Henley-on-Thames he obtained, in 1836, the post of Assistant Chief Architect and Inspector of Works in the colony of Mauritius, where he died of cholera on 17 April 1837.32
Elevation of 1-5 Pittville Lawn (now 29-37 Pittville Lawn), a pen and wash drawing by John Forbes,
on the rear of a conveyance dated 18 May 1827.
Reproduced by courtesy of Gloucestershire Archives (D2025/Box52/Bundle2).
Apart from the villas, the other major project of the 1820s—with which William Jay was certainly not involved—was the building of 1-5 Pittville Lawn (now 29-37 Pittville Lawn; see photograph), an imposing terrace designed by John Forbes and built by a consortium of five men, who financed its construction jointly, employing a builder named John Knight to undertake the work for them, and who each received one house on the terrace’s completion. The five men were the architect John Forbes; the banker William Gregson Pitt, one of Joseph Pitt’s sons; a solicitor, Edward Lambert Newman; and two surveyors, George and John Hayward. The houses were built by June 1827, when George Hayward sold his house to Joseph Pitt for £2,800.
The only other houses that were completed by 1830 were two small cottages in Prestbury Road known as Pittville Cottage and Segrave Cottage (now 2-4 Prestbury Road), built in 1827; Victoria House (now Wellington Lodge), built in the Wellington Square Nursery Ground, as his own residence, by Richard Ware in 1828-9; and Cleeveland House, Evesham Road, built c.1830. There were, however, also two other projects in which, like Pittville Parade, the difficulties encountered by the builders led to a suspension of building. The largest was Pittville Place, at the north end of Prestbury Road. Here, four lots of land with a total frontage of 92 feet were contracted for by two gentlemen named William Ridler and John Packwood, who subsequently agreed to transfer them to two house-painters, Richard Hague and Frederick White, who were working in partnership as builders. During 1827, Hague and White began to build the two northernmost houses of the intended terrace (now 64-66 Prestbury Road) but found themselves in financial difficulties and were declared bankrupt on 27 November 1827. Work on their partly built houses stopped and was not resumed until 1831. The second interrupted project was the building of Primrose Lawn (now Halsey House) at the corner of Pittville Lawn and Wellington Road, begun in c.1828 by John Gray, who failed to complete it and eventually sold the unfinished house in the early 1830s.
1831—42: TERRESTRIAL PARADISE
Although the second half of the 182Os had seen a certain amount of building at Pittville, it was clearly far less than either Pitt or anyone else involved with the estate had anticipated. From 1831 onwards, however, the pace of building quickened considerably. By the middle of 1832, all eight houses that had been left unfinished since 1825-8 had been completed and new houses were underway in several parts of the estate; by March 1835, the Cheltenham Chronicle could write that ‘the terrestrial paradise of Pittville … has attracted numerous enterprising individuals to enter into speculations which, we predict without fear of contradiction, will ultimately prove as profitable to themselves as they are ornamental to the town’.33 The 1830s were, in fact, to prove the peak decade for building at Pittville, and between 1831 and 1842 a total of 158 new houses were built, notably in Clarence and Wellington Squares, Evesham and Prestbury Roads and Pittville Lawn. Even so, the fact that no houses were built to the north of the lake tended to isolate the Pump Room from the rest of the estate and even in May 1835—with building in the southern part of Pittville at its height—the Cheltenham Looker-On could include in a poem about Cheltenham the verse
‘O’er Pittville's pit a city rears
lts forms of plaster, stone and brick —
Tho’ still its noble spa appears
Much like a hen without a chick.’34
These years coincided with a number of changes in the organisation of the estate.35 In 1831, the year in which Pitt resigned his parliamentary seat and retired to Eastcourt, he entrusted its overall management, including the arrangements for the sale of building lots and the collection of rent charges, to his land steward and accountant, Josiah Greathead Strachan, who moved to Cheltenham from Eastcourt, and who lived for a time at 3 Pittville Parade. His arrival in Cheltenham may also, of course, reflect the increasing pace of activity within the estate during that year. The other major change involved the estate architect and surveyor, for John Forbes had certainly severed his links with Pittville by 1832, and there is some evidence to suggest that he may have resigned as architect of the Pump Room—and perhaps therefore of the estate—in 1828.36 Certainly during 1829-31 the focus of his attention was the new St Paul's Church, of which he was the architect, while he also worked as a speculative builder at Montpellier and in the Promenade and Imperial Square. Unfortunately, he appears to have got into financial difficulties during the early 1830s, and in 1834, he foolishly forged the signature of a business associate, William Prosser Jnr, on a number of bills of exchange, which he used to settle some of his personal debts. For this he was arrested in October 1834, and tried and sentenced to transportation for life the following April. Fortunately, a petition raised in his support throughout the town was accepted by the Under-Secretary of State, who reduced the sentence to two years in the penitentiary at Gloucester. Forbes was released from prison early in 1837, and although he was still living at Cheltenham in 1841, nothing more is known of his career, and he may well have sunk into obscurity.
Forbes appears to have been succeeded as Pitt's architect and surveyor by William Arthur Watson, another local architect, although the only reference to him is in a document of October 1832 which refers to the elevation of 2 Clarence Square as being ‘approved by … Joseph Pitt and signed by Mr. William Arthur Watson, his late surveyor’. Certainly by the summer of 1832, that position has been filled by Robert Stokes, who occupied it until March 1835, when he left Cheltenham, apparently in financial difficulties. He was succeeded by Henry Sperring Merrett,37 who was engaged by Pitt on 8 June 1835. Soon after, Josiah Strachan fell seriously ill, and in November 1835, Pitt's son Joseph, a solicitor from Lichfield, came to Cheltenham to take over the management of the estate. Merrett, however, clearly hoped to assume Strachan's duties, but his requests to do so were rejected by Pitt, who felt that Merrett was unsuitable, and following Strachan’s death on 4 March 1836, Pitt appointed a surveyor, Francis Dodd, as his agent. Dodd was appointed on 20 March 1836, and on 29 March, Merrett—clearly affronted by Dodd's appointment—had an angry meeting with Pitt’s son at which he resigned, subsequently claiming that Pitt owed him £300 for professional services, a matter that was eventually decided in Pitt's favour in the Court of Queen’s Bench in 1838.
Following Merrett’s resignation, Pitt appears to have dispensed with the services of a full-time architect, while the management of the estate was shared between Francis Dodd and another of Pitt’s sons, William Gregson Pitt, the manager of the Cheltenham branch of the County of Gloucester Bank. Dodd himself left Pitt's service sometime between May and September 1839, and was replaced by another surveyor, George James Engall, who acted as agent until Pitt‘s death in 1842 and who continued to administer the estate, on behalf of the Court of Chancery, until at least 1849, if not well beyond that date.
Given that at least four men served as Pitt’s architect and surveyor between 1824 and 1836, it is difficult to ascribe particular buildings to particular architects, especially as plans and elevations drawn up by one architect may have been used by his successors. The earliest houses in Clarence Road and Clarence Square appear to pre-date Stokes’ appointment and may therefore have been designed by either Forbes or Watson, while Stokes was probably responsible for designing the terraces of the period from mid-1832 onwards, including the north and east sides of Clarence Square and Segrave Place, where he built two houses. A number of villas may also be by Stokes, including 1-2 Essex Villas (now Lake House and Ravenhurst, Pittville Lawn), and several in Clarence Road, which have distinct architectural similarities. Whether Merrett designed any buildings is less certain; a financial account of his activities as estate architect, drawn up by Merrett in 1838, includes ‘designing west side of Clarence Square and making copies of elevation’ during December 1835, although whether this refers to the present Gothic Revival terrace (which was not begun until 1840) is uncertain.
As already noted, the first years of the 1830s saw the completion of the three unfinished projects of the 1820s. John Gray’s partly built Primrose Lawn was sold to a Naval Captain, Williiam Broughton, who completed the house, as his own residence, by April 1832. Within Pittville Parade, where no building had taken place since 1827, the southernmost of Watts’ unfinished houses, 5 Pittville Parade, was completed at the expense of Pitt, Gardner & Co., probably during 1831, in which year a builder named Abraham Tyler purchased and completed the partly built 6 Pittville Parade. Thereafter, Tyler gradually acquired the remaining three carcasses and eight lots and had completed the terrace by 1837. Similarly, the two partly built houses and two vacant lots in Pittville Place were auctioned by Hague and White’s assignees on 13 January 1831. The houses and one adjoining lot were purchased by a cabinet maker, James Wood, who completed the northernmost house (now 66 Prestbury Road) by July 1831 and transferred the second house and the vacant lot to John Garn, who completed the one house and built the other (now 64 and 62 Prestbury Road respectively) during the second half of 1831. The southernmost of Hague and White’s lots appears to have reverted to Joseph Pitt, for it was certainly his property in 1837 when it was incorporated in an enlarged lot and sold to Abraham Tyler as the northernmost in a succession of houses known as Pittville Villas.
The earliest of the entirely new developments of the 1830s were the houses on the south side of Clarence Road, where the first recorded building agreements date from May 1831. Billbrook House and 1-7 Pittville Terrace were built in 1831-3, by which time work had begun on the earliest houses on the south side of Clarence Square, in which nos. 2-4 were begun in 1832, the remainder, comprising nos. 1 and 5-14, being added between 1833 and 1838. The years 1832-5 also saw the building of several villas on either side of Clarence Road, while the earliest house elsewhere in Clarence Square was Amberley House, a large villa at its north-east corner, built by a local solicitor, John Brend Winterbotham, in 1834-5. Amberley House was soon adjoined by a terrace of 12 houses along the north side of the Square (1834-7), with Clarence Villa (now Barnfield) added to the west of the terrace in 1839-40, while the houses on the east side of the Square were built in 1835-8. The entire west side of Clarence Square was purchased, early in 1840, by a carpenter, Nathaniel Walford, who divided it into ten lots, seven of which he transferred—at a profit of either £5 or £10 per lot—to other builders. All ten houses were underway by June 1841 and the terrace was completed by mid-1844.
In Wellington Square, these years also saw the building of a number of new houses, exhibiting a far greater architectural variety than those in Clarence Square. During 1831, Richard Ware began to build two more houses within the Nursery Ground; these were unfinished at the time of his death on 18 February 1832 and were completed by the trustees of his will. Originally named Gothic Cottage and Victoria Cottage, and now Clive Lodge and Old Lodge respectively, they appear to have been substantially altered since 1832. The next two houses to be built in the Square were both erected as private residences by East lndia Company personnel in 1834-5, namely Avondale House, built by Lt.-Col. Thomas Barron, and Harwood House, built by Col. William Larkins Watson. Finally, as speculations, two pairs of semi-detached houses (now 16-19 Wellington Square) were built between Avondale House and the Nursery Ground in 1835-6 and a total of five houses on its east side, north of Harwood House, in 1838-40.
In Pittville Lawn, a considerable amount of building took place from 1832 onwards. During 1832-3, Thomas Fox and Anne Coleman built Pittville Mansion (now Pitfirrane House) on the west side of the roadway north of Pittville Gates, while a terrace, 1-6 Segrave Place (now 1-11 Pittville Lawn) was built opposite Pittville Mansion in 1833-4. Robert Stokes, who built two of the houses in Segrave Place, also agreed to purchase the land between Segrave Place and Wellington Road as the site of several villas. Of these, only one pair was built before Stokes’ departure from Cheltenham, namely 2-3 Segrave Villas (now 23-5 Pittville Lawn), constructed during 1833. The remainder of Stokes' land was acquired in 1839-41 by James Creed, who built three villas (now 17-21 Pittville Lawn) and added a final house at the north end of Segrave Place, now 15 Pittville Lawn.
Also begun during 1833 was the northernmost (and earliest) of the great series of villas facing across Pittville Lawn to the Long Garden. Originally 1-2 Essex Villas, this imposing pair of semi-detached houses is now known as Lake House and Ravenhurst; the site of both houses was acquired in May 1833 by Robert Stokes, who built Ravenhurst and transferred the site of Lake House to two sisters, Helen and Emma Thornhill, who built and subsequently occupied the house. Both houses appear to have been completed during 1834. The building of 1-2 Essex Villas was eventually followed by the construction of seven more detached villas along Pittville Lawn north of Wellington Road, namely Kenilworth House (1834), Heathfield Lodge (now Regency Lodge, c.1835), Pittville Lawn Villa (now Pittville Lodge, 1836-7), Wyddrington House (1836-7), Capel Court (now Malden Court, 1838), Dorset Villa (1839-40) and Ellingham House (1840-1).
Kenilworth House and Pittville Lawn Villa were built on either side of the earlier terrace known as 1-5 Pittville Lawn, and this alternating of villas and terraces (which, as noted earlier, was clearly part of the original concept for the estate), was continued along the next part of Pittville Lawn. During 1836-8, two terraces of five houses in an identical style to 1-5 Pittville Lawn, known as 6-1O and 11-15 Pittville Lawn (now nos. 45-53 and 59-67), were built to the north of Pittville Lawn Villa, with Wyddrington House between them. The sites of all ten houses were purchased for £2,400 in October 1836 by a plumber, Thomas Phipps Thomas, who resold each lot to a separate builder, at a total profit of at least £600. Building was certainly underway during the latter part of 1836 and all the houses had been completed by the end of 1838.
Within Evesham Road, in addition to the completion of Pittville Parade, these years saw the construction, between 1833 and 1837, of Blenheim House and Parade (now 1-11 Evesham Road), to the north of which Banchory Lodge (now Evesham Lodge) was built, as his own residence, by the Hon. Andrew Ramsay in c.1833. Immediately opposite Banchory Lodge, Novar Lodge was built at the north end of Pittville Parade by Lt.-Col. William Munro of the East India Company in c.1832-4, while to the north of Cleeveland House, two builders working in partnership, John Quarrell and Richard Wright, began work in 1836 on a terrace to be called Cleeveland Parade. However, only one house (now 40 Evesham Road) had been completed by January 1838, when Quarrell and Wright went bankrupt. Four years later, the house was auctioned, along with the site of the rest of the terrace, which was added to the garden of the large Anlaby House, built further along Evesham Road in 1840-1.
The final part of the estate to be developed during these years was Prestbury Road, where the bow-fronted Leamington House (now 6 Prestbury Road) was built in 1833-4 by Nathaniel Walford (see photograph). The site of the house had originally been purchased in 1831 by a builder named Edmund Miller, who began, but failed to complete the house. Two years later, in August 1833, a trustee on behalf of Miller reconveyed the lot and partly built house to Joseph Pitt, who resold it to Walford, on the understanding that the house would be demolished and replaced within 16 months. Certainly by 1839, and possibly several years earlier, Leamington House was occupied by William Newenham as a chemist’s shop and branch post office, the earliest in a row of six shops which were the only commercial premises allowed on the estate. The other shops were built as part of Leamington Place (now 8-30 Prestbury Road), the land for which was purchased by William Gregson Pitt in April 1839, as the site of five shops and six houses in a terrace, plus a pair of semi-detached houses at its northern end. The building of the shops and houses proceeded rapidly between 1839 and 1841, with the original plan being amended so as to increase the number of terraced houses to seven, with one detached villa to the north of the terrace. That was Alwington Villa (now Christie College), built in 1839-40 by Edward Cope, and clearly designed to complement the very similar Apsley House on the opposite side of Prestbury Road, also built by Cope as part of an extensive building estate centred on Albert Circus (now Pittville Circus) and Pittville Circus Road, which Cope was developing on land purchased from Pitt in 1839.
The other development in Prestbury Road was the building of Pittville Villas (now 34-60 Prestbury Road), a succession of 14 semi-detached houses built by either Abraham Tyler or his brother Edward in 1837-41, to the south of the earlier Pittville Place, which was renamed 1-3 Pittville Villas in 1840. Immediately to the south of Pittville Villas, the large detached Southend House was built by a gentleman named Charles Cary in 1840-1, with Thomas Blizard’s Rothesay Mansion (1841) across Albert Road, completing the fine group of villas around Albert Circus.
Leamington House, from George Rowe’s Illustrated Cheltenham Guide (1845). Built in 1833-4, Leamington House
was the earliest of a block of six shops in Prestbury Road which, according to Rowe,
the increasing importance of this part of the town has called into existence’.
Although the inhabitants of the estate relied on Cheltenham for most of their services, Joseph Pitt continued to view Pittville as an independent community, rather than as a northward extension of Cheltenham. He therefore strongly opposed attempts by the Paving Commissioners to extend their authority to the estate, and to levy rates on its houses; in July 1838, for instance, he requested that a gas lamp placed at the top of North Place, between Pittville Terrace North and Sussex Villas should be removed, on the grounds that it was on private property.38 He felt—quite rightly—that the levying of rates on houses at Pittville, in addition to the existing rent charges, would reduce their attraction to purchasers, and he was supported by the owners of houses in Clarence Square, Pittville Terrace and Segrave Place. Their opposition to the Commissioners’ attempts to rate them in 1836-8 was so strong that the Commissioners voted, in December 1838, not to do so.39 Instead, they sought, in 1839, to obtain a new Paving and Lighting Act, which would extend their authority to Pittville and the other private estates. This, however, was defeated in the House of Commons, largely, it was said, because of Pitt’s influence with many of his former Parliamentary colleagues, and Pittville remained theoretically independent from Cheltenham until 1890.
The one real benefit that Pittville might have gained from inclusion in the Commissioners’ sphere of authority was the lighting of its roads by gas, and in January 1840, Pitt provided this himself, by agreement with the Gas Company.40 This was to be Pitt’s last contribution to the development of the estate, for by 1840 he was 81 years old and had only two more years to live: he died at Eastcourt on 9 February 1842.
A sale advertisement for Alwington Villa (now Christie College), Prestbury Road, from the Cheltenham Free Press, 17 October 1846.
Reproduced by courtesy of Cheltenham Local and Family History Library.
1842—60: AN ESTATE IN DEBT
Although Joseph Pitt's death did not immediately affect the pattern of building at Pittville, it inevitably formed a watershed in the history of the estate, not least because of the huge debts that he had amassed during the last 20 years of his life.41 Between 1821 and 1841, Pitt had raised a series of mortgages at between 4 and 5 per cent interest per annum on the security of his estates in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. By the time of his death, these mortgages, together with unpaid interest amounted to £126,814 17s., while his total debts, including a large overdraft on his personal bank account and sundry other outstanding debts and bills stood at no less than £154,503 18s. 9d. By far his largest creditor was a Cirencester solicitor, Joseph Randolph Mullings, who was owed £53,495 11s. 1d. on ten separate mortgages; other creditors included the County of Gloucester Bank and several business associates, relatives and private individuals, of whom the most notable was the Revd John Keble of Fairford, to whom Pitt owed £6,500.
Exactly why Pitt—who had once been described as having ‘a clear landed estate of £20,000 a year’42—became so heavily in debt is difficult to explain without considerable research into his many and varied involvements in two counties. Undoubtedly though, Pittville contributed to his difficulties, both through the high costs involved in its creation and, even more crucial in the long-term, the expenses of its management and upkeep, which were not matched by the income of an estate in which both the amount of land sold and the income from the annual rent charges fell well below expectations. Indeed, so dire was Pitt's situation by 1842 that it was estimated, shortly after his death, that his annual income had stood at £4,000 and the annual interest on his mortgages at £6,000.
Pitt’s assets were clearly insufficient to cover his debts, and, barely a month after his death, his grandson, also called Joseph Pitt, who was owed £1,400, brought an action in the Court of Chancery ‘on behalf of himself and all other creditors of Joseph Pitt’ against his uncle, Joseph Pitt of Lichfield, who was Pitt’s sole executor and beneficiary. On 11 March 1842, The Court of Chancery decreed that all Pitt's remaining property should be sold for the benefit of his creditors, and although it was not until 1890 that the matter was finally settled, with the sale of the Pump Room, gardens and rent charges to Cheltenham Borough Council, most of his remaining land at Cheltenham and Prestbury, including the lmpropriate Rectory, was sold at four separate auction sales in 1843 and 1845, three of which—on 30 October 1843, 25 April 1845 and 10 September 1845—included houses and land at Pittville. Although a number of lots were purchased directly by intending developers and builders, a majority of those offered in 1845 were acquired by the County of Gloucester Bank, which had been established in 1836 as a joint-stock bank, and had absorbed several private ‘country banks’, including Pitt, Gardner & Co. The bank played an active role in the development of the estate during the ensuing years, dividing the land into individual lots for sale to builders and employing its own surveyor to ensure that the restrictive covenants imposed at the auction sales were adhered to.
Between 1844 and 1860, 32 houses were built at Pittville, all of them on land sold at the three auction sales. They were 108-110 Evesham Road (1844); 1-12 Wellington Square West (1845-59); 4-14 Pittville Lawn (1847-8); 15-19 Clarence Square (1847-9); Beaufort Villas, East Approach Drive (1851-4); Marston and Malvern Hill Villas, West Approach Drive (1858-9) and 28 Albert Road (1858-9). Three of these developments are of particular interest in that they effectively completed partly built sections of the estate.
The largest was the imposing Tudor-Gothic terrace occupying the west side of Wellington Square (see photograph), built on land acquired at the April 1845 sale by a timber merchant, William Williams, who five years earlier had built one of the houses in Nathaniel Walford’s corresponding terrace on the west side of Clarence Square. ln 1845-7, the five southernmost houses in the terrace—known in 1848 as Eton Place—were built, one by Williams himself and the remainder by other builders, to whom Williams sold lots of land at approximately double what he had paid for them, on a pro rata basis, at the auction. It was not, however, until 1856 that work began on the remainder of the terrace, all but two of the seven later houses being built either by Williams himself or by members of his family—an indication perhaps of a slackening demand for building land in Cheltenham during the 1850s.
The sites of 15-19 Clarence Square and 4-14 Pittville Lawn were both acquired at the April 1845 sale by the County of Gloucester Bank. The five houses on the south side of Clarence Square served to complete, in similar style, a terrace built in 1832-8, while the new houses in Pittville Lawn were planned to complement the existing houses in a particularly ingenious way. On 18 June 1847, the entire block, with room for six houses, was transferred by the Bank to Thomas Cantell, who built two houses himself and sold the remaining four lots to other builders. The five northernmost houses were built as a group of identical ‘attached villas’, known as Clarendon Villas, but the southernmost house, known as Napier House, was built in an entirely different style, as the ‘other half‘ to the existing Segrave House (2 Pittville Lawn), which had been built in 1835, and with which it formed a pair of semi-detached houses.
PITTVILLE SINCE 1860
Although the 216 houses built at Pittville between 1825 and 1860 represent little more than a third of the total number originally planned for the estate, they certainly included some of the finest villas and terraces ever built in Cheltenham, with architectural variety as their keynote. After 1860, however, that variety was lost. No more terraces were built after the completion of Wellington Square West in 1859, and virtually all the estate's late 19th-century houses were large detached or semi-detached properties in a uniformly heavy style that had already been introduced to Pittville in the 1850s, with the building of Beaufort Villas.
The years after 1860 also saw a steady decline in the level of building activity within the estate, reflecting the town’s economic malaise and its falling rate of population growth. Between 1860 and the publication of the Cheltenham Ordnance Survey in 1885, only 29 houses were built at Pittville—mainly in Evesham Road, Albert Road and Pittville Crescent—with just another three being added by the 1930s. In 1931, the total population of Cheltenham was actually less than it had been in 1901, and throughout the early decades of the 20th century, the town contained many unoccupied houses, particularly in such areas as Pittville, where they had been built for large families with their own servants. Consequently, house prices fell steadily until the 1930s, and at Pittville, terraced houses in Clarence and Wellington Squares often sold for less than £500.
By 1860, the only part of the Pittville estate that remained unsold was the Pump Room, gardens and rent charges (the latter amounting to £603 per annum), a part of the income from which helped to pay the interest on Pitt’s one outstanding debt, a sum £10,800, owed to the County of Gloucester Bank. In March 1888, the Bank offered to accept £5,400 if the Borough Council would agree to purchase—and preserve—the Pump Room and gardens. Authority to raise the necessary amount was included in the 1889 Cheltenham Improvement Act and the property passed to the Council in December 1890. Since then, the gardens—no longer the private preserve of the residents—have been maintained as part of Pittville Park and the Pump Room has undergone a major programme of restoration (1949-60). The Council continued to collect the rent charges for a time, but this was discontinued in 1954.
Although the fabric of many of Pittville’s houses deteriorated during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were few pressures for the area's redevelopment. Only three of its pre-1860 houses—Anlaby House, Marston Villa and Aviary—have been demolished and, apart from some modern ‘infilling’ of vacant lots, the estate has survived intact as a fine example of early l9th-century town planning. The modern prosperity of Cheltenham, combined with an awareness of the importance of its historic buildings and the availability of conservation grants has led to the restoration of many of its houses and to Pittville's increasing role as one of Cheltenham’s most sought-after residential areas—which was certainly Joseph Pitt’s intention when he established the estate in the early 1820s.
A NOTE ON SOURCES
The single most important source for the building history of Pittville is the original title deeds of each of its houses. Virtually all of those that have survived are still in the possession of the house-owners, only a handful having been deposited in the Gloucestershire Archives. For this study, the title deeds of 184 houses (including those held in the Archives) have been examined, and in 155 cases either the original documents, or a later ‘Abstract of Title’, reciting the original documents have survived. This enables the details of the building of the house, including any mortgages raised and its sale on completion, to be established. In addition, title deeds often provide valuable information regarding adjoining properties and occasionally include preliminary building agreements, architects’ plans and elevations, sale particulars and leases to tenants.
As well as a number of title deeds, the Gloucestershire Archives also holds other important manuscript sources. Two major collections of solicitors’ papers—those of Ticehurst Wyatt & Co. of Cheltenham and Mullings Ellett & Co. of Cirencester—contain some of Joseph Pitt‘s personal and business papers. These include a number of preliminary sale agreements and draft deeds for land at Pittville, documents relating to Pitt‘s mortgages, to his dispute with the architect Henry Merrett in 1838 and to the sales of his estate after his death. Also contained in these, and in a number of other deposits at the Archives, are papers relating to the bankruptcies of James Watts and William Jay, the two original builders in Pittville Parade, and to a dispute over building lines between the owners of property in Segrave Place in 1839, which includes some very useful affidavits. The Archives also contain several important maps and plans of Pittville, as well as the 1806 Cheltenham lnclosure Map and Award and the 1838 Prestbury Tithe Map, both of which help to reconstruct the field plan of Pittville prior to its development. Also in the Archives are the minutes of the Cheltenham Paving commissioners, which contain many references to houses at Pittville, particularly with regard to the lighting of the estate and the levying of rates. The Commissioners’ records also contain several hundred building certificates issued by the town surveyor between 1824 and 1848, each confirming that the house or houses in question had been built in conformity with the regulations relating to the thickness of party walls laid down in the 1821 Paving Act (see photograph in Building at Pittville). Eighty-three of these certificates are for houses at Pittville, and each gives the name of the builder and the date by which the house was substantially completed—although at exactly what stage in a house‘s construction the surveyor made his inspection is uncertain.
Apart from the Gloucestershire Archives collections, the other major source of original material relating to Pittville is the collection of documents inherited by Cheltenham Borough Council when it purchased the Pump Room, gardens and rent charges of the estate in 1890. These include the original deeds of the estate, dating back to 1800, and a ‘Deed of Covenants and General Regulation’, dated 1 January 1827, which embodies—as its name suggests—the major covenants and regulations governing the estate's development (see photograph in The Creation of the Estate). This document was signed by a majority of those who purchased building lots within the estate thereafter, and includes purchase prices and annual rent charges, although not always the location of the lot concerned, which has to be deduced from other sources. Attached to this document are three further ‘deeds of accession’, giving details of the purchasers of land at the sales following Pitt‘s death. Also among the Borough's Pittville documents are numerous printed sale plans and particulars, draft deeds, and documents relating to the Chancery case brought against Pitt‘s son and heir by his father‘s creditors in 1842. Also in the possession of the Borough Council (with a photographic copy in Gloucestershire Archives) is an invaluable set of maps of Cheltenham, produced for the Local Board of Health in c.1855 and showing the entire town, including Pittville, in considerable detail.
Further manuscript sources are held in several other archive repositories. At the National Archives in London, the Court of Chancery records include material on the case brought against Pitt’s son in 1841, while the Court of Bankruptcy records contain a certain amount of useful information, although none of the case papers of those Pittville builders who went bankrupt have survived. Also in the National Archives collection are the Census Enumerators’ Books for each census between 1841 and 1881, which give the occupants of every house at the time of the census; microfilm copies of these are available in both Cheltenham Library and the Gloucestershire Archives. At the Guildhall Library in the City of London are the fire insurance policy registers of the Sun and Royal Exchange Assurance Companies, which contain a small number of early 19th-century policies for houses at Pittville, giving owners' names and property valuations, A plan of 1799, showing the Earl of Essex’s Cheltenham estates is held by the British Museum, while the Greater London Record Office has a collection of documents for the Wellington Square Nursery Ground, being part of the papers of Lady Belle Cooper, to whom the property was mortgaged. The Wiltshire Record Office at Trowbridge contains a number of Joseph Pitt's family papers and documents relating to his Wiltshire estates.
One final manuscript source of note is the Pittville Spa Subscription Book, in which each subscriber to the Spa, many of whom either lived or lodged in Pittville, signed his or her name and address between 1830 and 1852. The book is part of the Cheltenham Library collection, which also contains the major printed sources for the history of Pittville. These include the numerous contemporary histories and guide books to Cheltenham, which have lengthy accounts of Pittville; trade directories (from 1837 onwards), giving names and addresses of inhabitants and ‘street keys’ which enable houses to be dated; and newspapers, six of which were published in Cheltenham each week by 1839. The newspapers are a particularly valuable source, both for their editorial comment and for advertisements for the sale of land and houses at Pittville. Although the Cheltenham Library collection of newspapers has a number of gaps, these are largely filled by copies at the British Newspaper Library in London. Other important printed sources are published maps and plans, contemporary diaries and journals (a number of which are also found in manuscript form) and topographical prints.
Part of Wellington Square West, photographed in the 1950s. The Wilson (formerly Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums).
PITTVILLE: A GUIDED WALK
This walk starts and finishes at the Pittville Pump Room, where there is ample tree parking. It is about 2 miles long, and the route is shown on the map opposite, to which the numbers in the text refer.
As you follow the walk, note the variety of architectural styles used at Pittville, in particular the Greek and Gothic revivals, both of which were popular in England during the years in which the estate was developed. Pittville's houses were built of brick, and then fronted with either stone or (more usually) stucco, which was then painted to look like stone. Stucco lends itself to the application of intricate mouldings, and many of the houses have attractive external details, such as fluted Ionic columns and friezes of Greek motifs. Many of them are also graced by ornamental ironwork, in the form of railings, balconies, verandas and boot-scrapers; although the ironwork is now painted black, it is thought that much of it was originally either gilded or painted dark green.
From the front of the Pump Room (1), take the path on your right, past the bandstand, and follow it until you reach the lake, which is crossed by one of the two ornamental bridges built by 1827 (2). The bridge commands a good view across the lake to the second bridge, with the Cotswold Hills beyond.
Across the bridge is the northern half of the Long Garden, which was originally surrounded by railings; these were removed for salvage during the Second World War. Follow the path through the garden, noting on your left, in Pittville Lawn, some of the estate's finest villas, which we shall see in more detail later. On your right, in Evesham Road, are houses in a very different style; dating from the 1870s, they are typical of the small number of houses built at Pittville during the late Victorian era.
At the end of the path is a timber-framed refreshment kiosk (3). It was built in 1903 to replace the ‘Little Spa’, a subsidiary well which stood between the site of the kiosk and Pittville Lawn.
Cross Central Cross Drive, in front of the kiosk, and take the path to your right, through the southern part of the Long Garden, adjoining Evesham Road. The houses on your right were built in the late 1930s on the site of Anlaby House, one of the few pre-1860 houses at Pittville to have been demolished.
Immediately beyond the 1930s houses is the tall 40 Evesham Road (4), which is the only house in the proposed Cleeveland Parade that was completed before its builders went bankrupt in 1838. The remainder of the terrace’s site was later occupied by Anlaby House and its extensive garden.
40 Evesham Road is adjoined, to the south, by Cleeveland House, with Novar Lodge (5) on the opposite side of Wellington Road, and Pittville Parade beyond. Here, the intention was clearly to alternate villas and terraces, but the plan was disrupted by the failure to complete Cleeveland Parade.
From the Long Garden, cross Evesham Road and follow Wellington Road into Wellington Square, passing, on either side, the mews at the rear of Evesham Road. Here, as elsewhere in Pittville, the original stables and coach-houses have been converted into garages, studios and private houses.
On reaching Wellington Square, turn right and follow the roadway around the Square, which was named after the 1st Duke of Wellington, who visited Cheltenham five times between 1805 and 1828. The houses here are especially varied; note in particular the bow-fronted Harwood House, built in 1834-5 (6) and, in complete contrast to anything else at Pittville, the red-brick Eastholme, built c.1870 (7). Immediately opposite Eastholme, on the north side of the Square, is its earliest house, Glenmore Lodge (1826-7), with a hint of Gothic Revival in its windows (8). The west side of the Square is occupied by an elaborate Tudor-Gothic terrace, built in 1845-59; the actor William Macready lived at 6 Wellington Square West between 1860 and 1873 and it is said that Charles Dickens stayed at the house. Beyond the terrace, in the south-west corner of the Square is the former Nursery Ground, which retains part of its original railings (9).
On reaching the corner diagonally opposite Harwood House, turn right towards Clarence Square, noting, on your right, the lane between the two Squares, which commands an attractive view of the cupola of St Paul’s Church (1829-31), designed by John Forbes. On reaching Clarence Square, turn right and follow the roadway around the Square, which was named after the Duke of Clarence, later King William IV. Apart from the Tudor-Gothic terrace on its west side (1840-4), the houses in Clarence Square are all in a restrained Classical style, with good ironwork and fanlights. Most of them date from 1832-8, the only exceptions being on the south side, where nos. 15-19 were built in 1847-9, ten years after nos. 1-14, but follow the earlier design. No. 19 was the home of the Australian explorer Charles Sturt between 1863 and his death in 1869 (10).
From the south side of the Square, continue into Clarence Road, passing (right) North Place, in which are two of the original iron bollards marking the southern boundary of the estate (11). Beyond North Place is Holy Trinity Church (1820-3), which has always been the church for the Pittville Estate.
Continue to the corner of Evesham Road, and turn left. Here may be seen (left) Pittville Parade (1825-36), the earliest houses of which (now 6-8 Evesham Road) were probably the first houses built at Pittville (12). Opposite Pittville Parade is the strangely asymmetrical Blenheim Parade (1833-7).
Return to Clarence Road and turn left. On your right is Pittville Terrace (1831-3), in which no. 4 was the birthplace of the composer Gustav Holst in 1874. It is now the Holst Birthplace Museum (13), with period rooms, including a Regency drawing room, a Victorian bedroom, kitchen and scullery and an Edwardian nursery. The colours in which the house is painted adhere to those used at Pittville during its early years.
Almost opposite the Museum are the Pittville Gates (14), which have formed the the entrance to Pittville Park since they were erected in 1833; the original canopy or “overthrow”, with Cheltenham’s coat of arms, was added in 1897. The Gates we see today are the result of an extensive restoration project, with new piers and ironwork closely following the original designs, completed in 2014. Go through the Gates into Pittville Lawn, this part of which was originally known as Segrave Place, after Lord Segrave (later Earl Fitzhardinge), one of the ‘leading lights’ of Cheltenham society during the early 19th century. The houses here date from 1831-48; note especially nos. 2-4, on your left (15)—although they look almost identical, no. 2 was built in 1835 and no. 4 in 1847-8, at the same time as the adjoining row of villas.
Return to the Gates and turn left into Prestbury Road. Ahead of you are the bow-fronted Leamington House (1833-41) and 1-5 Leamington Place (1839-40), which are the only shops on the estate (16). Continue along Prestbury Road to Pittville Circus, which was laid out (as Albert Circus) in 1839-40. Cross the roundabout in front of you and continue along Prestbury Road. On your left, past the unusual Southend House (1840-1), are Pittville Villas (1837-41), which have particularly attractive verandas and window-shutters. At the north end of Pittville Villas is a terrace of three smaller houses, originally called Pittville Place, which were begun in 1817 and completed in 1831 (17).
Retrace your steps towards Pittville Circus, noting, across the roundabout, the large villas on either side of Prestbury Road. These were both built by Edward Cope in 1839-40 and, if the house on the right (18, now Christie College) had received a tower similar to Apsley House on the left, they would have formed an impressive feature on the road from Prestbury to Cheltenham.
On reaching Pittville Circus, cross Albert Road (right) and follow Wellington Road to Pittville Lawn. Here, turn right to see the superb villas and terraces facing the Long Garden. Of the three terraces, the southernmost (nos. 29-37) was built in 1826-7 (19), the two terraces further north being ‘carbon copies’ of 1836-8. Between the terraces, and in the northern part of Pittville Lawn are a succession of villas, each of which repays close examination. Note in particular Regency Lodge (c.1835), with its Corinthian columns (20) and (across Central Cross Drive) the Gothic Revival Malden Court (1838), with its elaborate bargeboards (21). Further on are Dorset Villa (1840-1), perhaps the most striking example of Greek Revival on the estate (22) and Lake House and Ravenhurst (1833-4), a ‘double villa’ with excellent details, although its symmetry has been marred by the removal of the top storey of Lake House (23).
Facing Lake House are four of the original stone piers from the gates into the Long Garden (24), with (at least in winter) a good view of the Pump Room, across the lake. Turn right here, and follow the roadway, with the railings on your left, until you reach the gate leading to the second ornamental bridge (25). Cross the bridge and follow the path around the north side of the lake, which will bring you to the lawns in front of the Pump Room.
GAZETTEER: HOUSES BUILT AT PITTVILLE 1825-60
This gazetteer comprises brief details of every house built at Pittville between 1825 and 1860. lt is based primarily on title deeds, supplemented by estate records, maps, directories, newspapers, census returns, building certificates and fire insurance policies. Each house is listed by its present address, followed by its date of construction. Where known, the name and occupation of the purchaser of each lot, the date on which the lot was conveyed and its price are given, as are details of any mortgages raised during the course of construction and the date and price of the first recorded sale of the completed house. The original name of each house (if different from now) is also given. The occupation of each named individual is only listed on the first occasion that he or she is mentioned in each section of the gazetteer, and in the case of house builders an attempt has been made to identify their specific occupation, rather than merely to list them as ‘builder’ as was so often the case in title deeds. All individuals may be presumed to be residents of Cheltenham, unless otherwise stated.
Nos. 1-7 originally 1-7 Pittville Terrace; Nos. 8-10 originally 1-3 Sussex Villas (now Clarence Court); Tyndale and Clarence Lodge originally 1-2 Pittville Terrace North.
Billbrook House and 1 Clarence Road (1831-2). George Dinsdale, gent. agreed to purchase 2 lots for £140, May 1831. Conveyance of lots and completed houses, 15 June 1832. The 2 houses combined for use as a private academy by Anna and Harriet Heaven, 1832-5. Owned by Dinsdale until his death, 1847.
2-3 Clarence Road (1832-3). Two lots to Stephen Averill, Esq., Broadway, for £150, 11 Sept 1832; agreed to complete 2 houses (already begun) in line with no. 1 within a year. Owned by Averill until his death, 1859.
4 Clarence Road (1831). To James Creed, plumber and glazier for £80 (date unknown); building certificate issued 7 June 1832.
5 Clarence Road (1832-3?). No details - possibly built by Daniel Haselton, plumber and glazier.
6 Clarence Road (1832-3?). No details.
7 Clarence Road (1832-3). Built by Matthew Lane, builder (no details); lot purchased for £80.
59 Portland Street (1832-3). To Col. Michael White Lee, HM Army for £150, 8 May 1833. House, known as Maisonette, already built by Lee as his own residence. Sold by Lee's widow to James Alder, gent for £650, 9 June 1852.
88 Portland Street (1832-3). To Thomas Blizard, builder for £140, 23 July 1833. House, known as Cyntaf House, already built by Blizard to a design by Robert Stokes (signed elevation on rear of deed of conveyance). Sold to William Meads, Esq. for £1,300, on same day.
8 Clarence Road (1833-4?). To William Ward, builder for £130 (date unknown).
9-10 Clarence Road (1833-5). To Edward Acock, plasterer for £210, 9 Jan 1838. Houses already built by Acock—building certificates 7 Mar 1834 and 6 Nov 1835. Owned by Acock until his death, 1889.
Tyndale and Clarence Lodge (1834). John Hayward, Devizes, surveyor agreed to purchase 3 lots (also site of 1 Clarence Square), 9 Oct 1827. Lots transferred to Solomon Sims, timber merchant for £370, 12 Mar 1834. Two unfinished houses mortgaged to Joseph Overbury, Esq. for £1,400, 13 Mar 1834. Tyndale sold to James de Vitré, Esq. for £1,600, 2 Dec 1834. Clarence Lodge sold to Mary Carden, widow for £1,410, 12 Oct 1835.
Camden Lodge (pre-1834). Site described in June 1827 as ‘land contracted to be purchased by Richard Eede Marshall’; no further details.
Camden Villa (1834). Two lots to William Ward (also site of Camden House) for £350, 3 June 1834. Mortgaged to John Paine, Esq., Stroud for £600, 5 June 1834. House completed by Dec 1834; sold to Eliza Moore, Staines, spinster for £1,100, 10 Mar 1835. Later (25 Apr 1851) sold to Rt. Hon. William, Earl Fitzhardinge of Berkeley Castle for £1,000 as his Cheltenham residence and as a home for his mistress, Jane Barker.
Camden House (1834-5). See Camden Villa. Mortgaged to James Batten, gent., Plymouth for £800, 24 Dec 1834. Sold to Mary Carden for £1,650, 6 Apr 1836.
1 Clarence Square (1834). See Tyndale and Clarence Lodge. Lot transferred by Solomon Sims to Samuel Broom, carpenter 13 Mar 1834 (price unknown; no further details). Building certificate 3 Oct 1834.
2 Clarence Square (1832-3). William Dangerfield, victualler agreed to purchase this lot, 24 June 1825, but failed to build and was declared bankrupt 7 Apr 1830. Transferred to Solomon Sims for £110, 10 Oct 1832; house ‘partly erected’ to be completed by 4 Oct 1833 ‘to an elevation approved by … Joseph Pitt and signed by Mr. William Arthur Watson, his late surveyor’. Sold to the Misses Gretton, spinsters for £1,250, 10 Dec 1833.
3 Clarence Square (1832-3). To Joseph Middlemore Thomas, bank clerk for £100, 15 June 1832. House (not yet begun) to be built in 12 months. Owned by Thomas until his death, 1861.
4 Clarence Square (1832-3). To Richard Billings, surveyor for £110, 16 Feb 1833; house ‘now erecting’ to be completed by 29 Sept 1833. Mortgaged to Poole Vesey, Esq. for £700, 21 Feb 1833. Sold to Hephzibah Coombs, spinster for £1,160, 31 July 1833.
5 Clarence Square (1833-4). William Dangerfield agreed to purchase this lot, 24 June 1825, but failed to build (see 2 Clarence Square). Later (by July 1833) transferred to Richard Billings, who agreed to build the shell of a house in line with 4 Clarence Square by 18 June 1834; lot transferred to Edward Billings, builder for £120 (date unknown). Partly built house mortgaged (sum unknown) to George Griffin Browne, Esq. 21 June 1834. Sold to trustees of the will of Mary Gregorie, Charleston (South Carolina), on behalf of her niece, Mary Chichester for £1,300, 31 May 1836.
6 Clarence Square (1833-4). William Richardson, builder agreed to purchase this lot for £120, 5 July 1833 and to build a house in a year. Conveyance of lot and house ‘now erecting’, 28 Aug 1833; mortgaged to Poole Vesey for £700, 25 Jan 1834. Sold to James Wood, Cabinet maker for £1,320, 25 June 1835.
7 Clarence Square (1833-4). To John Harpin (occupation unknown) for £120, 5 July 1833; agreed to build a house in a year. No further details.
8 Clarence Square (l835-6). To John Ward, builder for £125, 16 June 1835; partly built house mortgaged to John Paine, Esq., Stroud for £600, 20 June 1835. Sold to Maria Murcott, widow for £1,100, 21 June 1836.
9 Clarence Square (1836-7). To William and John Ward for £132, 31 Aug 1836; partly built house to be completed by 1 Mar 1837. Mortgaged to Edmund Empy, London and James Beale, Birmingham, glass merchants and John Thomas, Evesham, for £700, 2 Sept 1836. Sold to Ann Swinburne, Corndean Hall (Glos), widow for £1,275, 2 Mar 1838.
10 Clarence Square (1836-7). To William and John Ward for £132, 7 Feb 1837; house ‘now erecting’. Mortgaged to Catherine and Dorothy Newbold, spinsters for £700, 8 Feb 1837. Sold to Hannah Protheroe, spinster for £1,300, 10 Nov 1837.
11 Clarence Square (1836-7). To Joseph Garmson, builder for £139, 22 Nov 1836; house ‘now erecting’ to be completed by 25 Mar 1837. Mortgaged to Gales Dixon, Esq., Worcester for £700, 2 Dec 1836. Sold to Charles Chesshyre, gent., for benefit of Garmson’s creditors for £685, 3 Oct 1859.
12 Clarence Square (1837-8). To Joseph Garmson for £140, 31 Aug 1837; house ‘now building’ to be completed by 1 June 1838. Mortgaged to Harriet Jerram, Revd Charles Jerram, Witney and Henry Hubbert, London, tea-dealer for £600, 2 Sept 1837. Sold to Thomas Roberts, Esq., Esher for £1,200, 20 June 1838.
13 Clarence Square (1837-8). To Daniel Crowther, builder (price unknown), 2 Sept 1837. Building certificate 3 Aug 1838; no further details.
14 Clarence Square (1837-8). To Samuel Baker, carpenter for £140, 2 Sept 1837; house ‘now building’ to be completed by 1 June 1838. Mortgaged to Catherine and Dorothy Newbold for £600, 4 Sept 1837. Sold under powers of mortgage agreement to Mary Parnell, widow for £500, 18 July 1856.
15-19 Clarence Square (1847-9). Land unsold at Pitt's death. Put up for auction 30 Oct 1843 (lot 8), but unsold. Auctioned 25 Apr 1845 (lot 14) to County of Gloucester Bank for £290. Conveyed to Bank, 12 May 1847. Bank laid out land in 5 lots and sold them as follows:
15 Clarence Square (1847-8). To James Costins, brickmaker for £220, 18 June 1847; house partly built. Mortgaged to Frederick Leckerson Wood, Esq., London for £500, 2 Mar 1848. House (probably still unfinished) sold to Samuel Onley Jnr, surveyor for £550, 17 May 1848.
16 Clarence Square (1847-8). To James Costins for £220, 18 June 1847; house partly built. Unfinished house transferred to Charles Spackman, plasterer for £327, 27 Nov 1847. Mortgaged to Trustees of Cheltenham Mutual Accumulating Fund Society for £800, 3 Dec 1847. Owned by Spackman until his death, 1852.
17 Clarence Square (1848-9). To James Costins (date and price unknown), who sold unfinished house to Samuel Broom, 29 Nov 1848 (price unknown). Broom completed house and sold it to John Winkworth, gent. for £700, 21 Oct 1852.
18 Clarence Square (1848-9?). No details.
19 Clarence Square (1848-9). To John Blizard, timber merchant (price unknown), 30 Dec 1848. No further details.
20-30 Clarence Square (1840-4). Nathaniel Walford, carpenter agreed to purchase the entire west side of Clarence Square sometime before 16 Mar 1840, for £1,100. Walford built 3 houses (nos. 20, 22-3) and sold the remaining 7 lots to sub-purchasers. June 1841 Census lists all 10 houses as ‘building’. Details as follows [NB There is no 24 Clarence Square]:
20 Clarence Square (1840-1). Conveyance of lot and partly built house to Walford for £290 (includes sites of nos. 22-3), 31 Dec 1840. Mortgaged (along with sites of nos. 22-3) to Thomas Umbers, gent., Stratford-on-Avon for £850, 31 Mar 1841. Sold to Umbers for £630, 24 Jan 1842; mortgage debt thereby reduced to £220, secured on nos. 22-3.
21 Clarence Square (1840-4). To John Barnes, carpenter for £120 (£115 to Pitt, £5 to Walford), 6 Oct 1840; house ‘now erecting’. Mortgaged to Edward Wyer, gent., Kidderminster for £600, 8 Oct 1840. Barnes failed to complete house; Wyer purchased it for £659, 21 May 1844 and completed house.
22-3 Clarence Square (1841-3). See no. 20; houses to be built in 2 years. Also mortgaged to Thomas Umbers, 31 Mar 1841; by Aug 1843, Umbers had lent an additional £1,722 (total debt £1,942). Houses sold to Umbers for £1,982, 22 Aug 1843 and debt repaid.
25 Clarence Square (1840-2). To William Coney, builder for £130 (£120 to Pitt; £10 to Walford), 16 Mar 1840. Mortgaged to James Milward, Esq., Redditch for £700, 27 Apr 1841 and an additional £30, 4 Dec 1841. Default made by Coney - house put up for auction 1 Oct 1842, but no bids received. Milward agreed to sell house to Charles Newman, Esq., Rodborough for £810, 31 Oct 1843.
26 Clarence Square (1840-2). To Frederick Rudman, carpenter for £130 (£120 to Pitt; £10 to Walford), 18 Dec 1840; house ‘now erecting’. Mortgaged to Rebecca Minchin, Hazleton, widow for £750, 31 Dec 1840 and additional £38, 22 July 1842. Default made – Mrs Michin gained possession; house sold by her executors for £550, 31 Mar 1862.
27 Clarence Square (1840-1). To John Craven, builder for £130 (£120 to Pitt; £10 to Walford), 6 Oct 1849. Partly built house mortgaged to John Ricketts, Cowley, farmer for £800, 10 Nov 1840. Craven failed to complete house and transferred it to Daniel Crowther, builder and John Coates, stonemason, c.Mar 1841, subject to the mortgage. House completed by Nov 1841. Sold to Captain Henry Bland, East India Co. for £1,125, 25 Mar 1844.
28 Clarence Square (1840-1). To Samuel Harman, carpenter, for £120 (£110 to Pitt; £10 to Walford), 20 Aug 1840. Partly built house mortgaged to Nathaniel Hartland, Esq., Charlton Kings for £500, 29 Aug 1840. Default made – house sold by Hartland to Major John Hailes, late of East India Co. for £720, 20 Dec 1845.
29 Clarence Square (1841). To William Williams, timber merchant, for £120 (£110 to Pitt; £10 to Walford), 9 Mar 1841. House partly built, to be finished by 1 Jan 1842. Owned by William until his death, 1871.
30 Clarence Square (1840-1). To Thomas James, carpenter, for £120 (£115 to Pitt; £5 to Walford), 19 June 1840. Partly built house to be completed by 1 Jan 1841. Mortgaged to Nathaniel Hartland for £600, 2 July 1840 – debt still due at time of Hartland’s death, 1865.
Barnfield (1839-40). Two lots at north-west corner of Square to Thomas Cantell, stonemason for £305, 2 July 1839. Partly built house to be completed by 1 July 1840. Mortgaged to Nathaniel Hartland and Jonah Thompson, gent., Evesham for £1,000, 30 Nov 1839. This sum and additional £150 loaned by Hartland, 16 Jan 1849 still due 1854, when house sold to James Sperry, Esq. for £1,500. Originally Clarence Villa.
31 Clarence Square (1837). To Thomas Cantell for £112 10s., 8 Aug 1837. Partly built house to be completed by 1 Jan 1838. Mortgaged to Richard Glynne Crewe, Esq. for £500, 10 Aug 1837. Sold to Crewe for £800, 15 Oct 1838.
32 Clarence Square (1837). To James Snelling, plumber and glazier for £115, 21 Aug 1839; house ‘recently erected’ by Snelling; building certificate 1 Sept 1837.
33 Clarence Square (1836-7). To Thomas Cantell for £115, 23 July 1836. Home House ‘already covered in’ to be completed by 1 Mar 1837. Mortgaged to Christiana Archer, widow for £500, 26 July 1836. Owned by Cantell until his death, 1879.
34 Clarence Square (1835-6). To Thomas Cantell for £115, 20 Nov 1835. House ‘already covered in’, to be completed by 1 Sept 1836. Mortgaged to Nathaniel Hartland and Lucy Gregory, Evesham, spinster for £600, 2 Dec 1835. Sold to Congreve Selwyn, Ledbury, MD for £990, 14 Mar 1837.
35 Clarence Square (1835-6). To Thomas Cantell for £115, 17 Mar 1835. House ‘already covered in’, to be completed by 9 Apr 1836. Mortgaged to Revd Samuel Ellis Garrard, Dumbleton for £600, 18 Mar 1835. Sold to Joseph Sandland, gent. for £1,050, 3 Jan 1837.
36 Clarence Square (1835-6). To John Bonnor, ironmonger for £115, 7 Mar 1835. House to be built by 9 Jan 1836. Mortgaged to William White and William Buckle, gents. for £650, 8 July 1835. Sold to Richard Johnstone, Esq. for £990, 11 Feb 1836.
37 Clarence Square (1835-6). To Richard Neville (occupation unknown) for £115 (date unknown); building certificate 1 Jan 1836.
38 Clarence Square (1835-6). To William Morgan, builder for £107 10s., 13 May 1835. Partly built house to be completed by 25 Mar 1836 ‘of such elevation as hath been approved by the said Joseph Pitt and signed by Robert Stokes his surveyor’. Mortgaged to Nathaniel Hartland for £700, 23 May 1835. Default made—house sold by Hartland to Eliza Clarke, spinster for £740, 30 Oct 1850.
39 Clarence Square (1835-6). To John Broom, builder for £107 10s., 17 Mar 1836. Partly built house to be completed by 24 Mar 1836. Mortgaged to Mary Ann Matthews, widow for £600, 18 Mar 1835. Sold to Thomas Hazeldine, builder for £1,100, 30 Apr 1836.
40 Clarence Square (1834-5). Edward Billings agreed to purchase lot for £100, 13 Aug 1834. Conveyance of completed house, 14 Jan 1835.
41 Clarence Square (1834-5). Thomas Hazeldine agreed to purchase lot for £100, 13 Aug 1834 and to complete a house within a year. Conveyance of completed house, 9 Jan 1838. Owned by Hazeldine until his death, 1860.
42 Clarence Square (1834-5). Abraham Tyler, builder agreed to purchase lot for £100, 13 Aug 1834. Completed house sold to Thomas Bulkeley Fretwell, Esq. for £777, 27 June 1835.
Amberley House (1834-5). Lot purchased by John Brend Winterbotham, solicitor for £330 (date unknown); house in course of erection, June 1835. Occupied by Winterbotham until his death, 1881.
Lisle House and Ross House (Wellesley Court Hotel) (1837-8). Two lots to Solomon Sims for £800, 3 Oct 1837; houses ‘then erecting’. Mortgaged to Nathaniel Hartland and Jonah Thompson for £2,500, 2 Nov 1837; to Hartland and Richard Burlingham, Evesham, ironmonger for £360, 2 Aug 1838; to Alfred Hartland, gent. for £500, 1 Jan 1839. Ross House sold to Archer Swinburne, Esq. for £2,900, 7 May 1839. No further details of Lisle House.
46 Clarence Square (1835-6). To Solomon Sims for £175, 14 Jan 1836. House ‘now erecting’ mortgaged to Stephen Averill, Esq., Broadway for £800, 16 Jan 1836. Sold to James de Vitré, Esq. for £1,700, 24 Mar 1837.
47 Clarence Square (1835-6). Samuel Broom agreed to purchase lot for £175 (date unknown). Conveyance of completed house, at Broom's request, to Edmund Scott, RN for £1,515, 14 Oct 1836.
48 Clarence Square (1835-6). To William Gurner Jnr, carpenter for £175, 12 May 1835. Partly built house mortgaged to Stephen Averill and Edward Collier, Esq., Blockley for £700 on same day and additional £500 by 1841. Sold to Sir Thomas Clavering Bt, Green Croft (Co. Durham) for £1,500, 11 June 1841.
49 Clarence Square (1835). To Samuel Broom for £175, 14 May 1835; house ‘already covered in’ to be completed by 8 Dec. Mortgaged to Frederick Miller, gent., London for £700, 16 May 1835; debt not repaid until 1865.
50 Clarence Square (1835). To Solomon Sims (no details, but agreement dated 15 Dec 1834).
Avondale House (1834-5). John Hayward agreed to purchase several lots (also site of 16-17 Wellington Square), 9 Oct 1827. Transferred this lot to Lt.-Col. Thomas Barron, East lndia Co. for £330, 17 July 1834. Barron built house as his own residence.
16-17 Wellington Square (1835-6). See Avondale; lots transferred to George Weaver, stonemason for £250, 10 Oct 1835. Partly built houses mortgaged to Joseph Overbury, Esq. for £1400, 13 Oct 1835. Unfinished houses transferred to Solomon Sims, timber merchant for £300, subject to the mortgage, 1 Jan 1836. Houses, known as 1-2 Wellington Villas, completed by Sims. By 1844, Sims had left England, but had failed to repay Overbury, so houses sold, for benefit of his creditors, to Edward Guest, Esq. for £1,995, 30 Sept 1844.
18-19 Wellington Square (1836). Two lots to George Weaver for £326, 10 May 1836; houses ‘now erecting’. Mortgaged to Nathaniel Hartland and Jonah Thompson for £1,800, 2 July 1836. No. 18 sold to Georgina Ludlow, Paris, spinster (price unknown), 12 Jan 1839 and thereafter known as Georgina Villa. No. 19 (known as Wellington Villa) sold to Ann Egginton, spinster for £1,250, 6 Jan 1854.
Former Nursery Ground and Botanic Garden, including Wellington Lodge (1828-9), Clive Lodge (183l-3) and Old Lodge (1831-3). Land purchased by Richard Ware, nurseryman and florist for £1,067, 1 Mar 1828. Wellington Lodge (known by 1841 as Victoria House) built by Ware as own residence by Jan 1829, when it was insured for £350. Ware converted much of the ground into a Nursery or Botanic Garden and built a conservatory, hothouses and greenhouses. By Dec 1831 Ware had begun to build 2 more houses, unfinished at time of his death on 18 Feb 1832. Houses completed by trustees of his will, who raised additional mortgages from Lady Belle Cooper, 25 May 1833, and James Fallon, Esq., 10 Sept 1833 (amounts unknown). Clive Lodge known as Gothic Cottage and Old Lodge as Victoria Cottage in c.1855; all 3 houses altered since 1832.
1-12 Wellington Square West (1845-59). Land unsold at Pitt's death. Auctioned 25 Apr 1845 (lot 20) and purchased by William Williams, timber merchant for £170; conveyed 1 Sept 1845. Williams laid out 12 building lots. Nos. 1-5 (known in 1848 as Eton Place) built 1845-7; nos. 6-12 built 1856-9, as follows
1 Wellington Square West (1845-6). To Captain John Gratten Guinness, Esq. for £148; conveyance of lot and house, 30 May 1849. Occupied by Guinness until his death, 1850.
2 Wellington Square West (1845-6). To John Harris, gent. for £130; conveyance of lot and house, 8 Sept 1851. Owned by Harris until his death, 1876.
3 Wellington Square West (1846-7). To Rowland Hill, carpenter and joiner for £130, 30 Dec 1846. Partly built house mortgaged to William Hasell, wine merchant and William Fosbroke, Hereford, land surveyor for £500, 6 Jan 1847; debt still owing, 1880.
4 Wellington Square West (1846-7). To Robert Iles, stonemason for £130, 30 Dec 1846. Partly built house mortgaged to Stephen Murley, surgeon for £500, 6 Jan 1847. Debt still due 1868, when house sold for £575.
5 Wellington Square West (1846-7). Built by William Williams (no details), and owned by Williams until his death, 1871.
6 Wellington Square West (1856-7). Built by William Williams; ‘now erecting’ in Sept 1856; owned by Williams until his death.
7 Wellington Square West (1856-7). To Elisha Williams, builder for £130, 24 Sept 1856. Partly built house mortgaged to Anna Maria Cronyn, widow for £800, 25 Sept 1856. House to be finished ‘in every way equal to the finishing and fitting up of no. 5 in the same row’.
8 Wellington Square West (1856-7). To James Williams, builder for £120, 18 June 1856. Partly built house mortgaged same day to Elizabeth Ann Burdock, Painswick, spinster for £600; to be completed by 1 June 1857.
9 Wellington Square West (1856-7). To Henry Kilbey, plumber for £120, 8 July 1858; house already built and leased to tenants for £60 p.a., 29 Sept 1857. Owned by Kilbey until his death, 1922.
10 Wellington Square West (1858-9). To lames Williams for £120, 11 Dec 1858. Mortgaged to John Taylor, gent., Leckhampton for £600, 13 Dec 1858. Sold to Elizabeth Bonham, spinster for £900, 25 Mar 1865.
11 Wellington Square West (1858-9). To Edward Wetherstone, plumber for £120, 4 Dec 1858. Partly built house mortgaged to William Williams for £600, 6 Dec 1858; to be completed by 25 Mar 1859.
12 Wellington Square West (1858-9). To Elisha Williams, 19 Nov 1858 (price unknown); no further details.
Site of ‘Aviary’ (1826-7), now Cranley. To Eleanor Wallace, widow and Elizabeth Wallace, spinster for £550, 24 Feb 1827 (also site of Laurel Lodge and Percy House). Houses ‘then erecting’ to be finished by 24 June 1829. Also agreed to purchase land west of site of Aviary for £400 (conveyed 26 Dec 1848). House enlarged 1897, demolished 1986.
Laurel Lodge (1826-7). See site of Aviary. Built by Eleanor and Elizabeth Wallace; in use as a school, 1835. Also known as Laurel Lodge West.
Percy House (1826-7). See site of Aviary. Also known as Laurel Lodge East.
Glenmore Lodge (1826-7). To Lt.-Col. Alexander Limond, East lndia Co. for £270, 24 Feb 1827. House ‘now erecting’ to be completed by 24 June 1829. Mortgaged to Thomas Blizard, gent., Tewkesbury for £100, 10 Apr 1827; repaid 12 Oct 1833. Sold to Sir William Marjoribanks Bt, Lees (Scotland), for £3,500, 16 July 1834.
Wellington House (c.1838). To Charles Spackman, plasterer for £285, 23 Jan 1838. Originally 2 Wellesley Villas.
Westbury (c.1838). To Edward Billings, builder for £285 (date unknown). Originally 1 Wellesley Villas.
Wellesley House (1840). To Samuel Broom, carpenter for £160, 11 Feb 1840. Mortgaged to Nathaniel Hartland for £700, 22 Sept 1840. Sold to Joseph Pitt for £1,200, 24 Sept 1840. Auctioned after Pitt's death (30 Oct 1843, lot 1) but no bids received. Later purchased by Thomas Bodley, Esq. for £820 and £105 for garden ground north of house (lot 4). Also known as 4 Wellington Square East.
Daylesford (1838-9). To Samuel Broom for £160, 27 Dec 1837. Sold to George Ridge, gent. for £1,140, 6 June 1860. Also known as 3 Wellington Square East.
Beckaford House (1838-9). To Samuel Broom for £160 (date unknown). Also known as 2 Wellington Square East.
Harwood House (1834-5). To Col. William Larkins Watson, East India Co. for £300, 23 Apr 1834; occupied by Watson until his death, 1852, and by his family until 1888.
Part of the turnpike road to Evesham and Birmingham, opened in 1810. Nos. 2-34 originally Pittville Parade. Nos. 3-11 originally (1834) Caledonia Terrace, then (by 1841) Blenheim Terrace or Parade. A proposed hotel and terraces to be known as Nelson Place, north of Central Cross Drive never built.
2-34 Evesham Road (1825-36). Nathaniel Colt, draper agreed to purchase 17 lots for £1,450, 6 Oct 1824, but subsequently arranged their resale as follows:
2-4 Evesham Road (1826-7). To William Jay, architect for £500 (£300 to Pitt; £200 to Colt), 23 June 1827. Houses in course of erection Feb 1827 when Jay brought a court action against his workmen, Edward Evans and William Hitchings for stealing timbers (Cheltenham Chronicle, 15 Feb 1827). No. 2 mortgaged to Charles Thick, builder for £1,300 and to Robert Williams, builder for £500, 28 June 1827. No. 4 mortgaged to Thomas Lediard and William Thompson, Cirencester, gents. for £1,250, 10 July 1827. Jay declared bankrupt, 1 Aug 1828. No. 2 sold for benefit of his creditors to Frances Parsons, Newton Hall (Mon), spinster for £1,600, Jan 1830. Mortgage to Lediard and Thompson still outstanding; no. 4 sold to George Barker, Esq., Fairford for £650, 14 May 1844.
6-34 Evesham Road (1825-36). To James Watts, painter, for £3,539 19s. (£2,150 to Pitt; £1,389 19s. to Colt), 10 Oct 1825. By Dec 1825 Watts had completed 2 houses and had partly built 5 more; declared bankrupt 10 Jan 1826. Houses and lots transferred to the bankers, Pitt, Gardner & Co., 3 June 1828. Bank disposed of them as follows:
6 Evesham Road (1825). Sold (with 10 Evesham Road) to Joseph Pitt for £1,990, 17 Nov 1834. Auctioned after Pitt's death (30 Oct 1843, lot 2) and purchased by Henry Barton, Esq. for £640.
8 Evesham Road (1825). Sold to Thomas James Welles, Esq. for £1,250, 5 Apr 1834.
10 Evesham Road (1825 and c.1831). Completed by Pitt, Gardner & Co.; building certificate 5 Aug 1831. Sold to Joseph Pitt, 17 Nov 1834 (see 6 Evesham Road). Put up for auction after Pitt’s death (30 Oct 1843, lot 3); unsold, but later (1 Mar 1844) purchased by Revd Disney Robinson for £680.
12 Evesham Road (1825 and 1831). Partly built house to Abraham Tyler, builder for £430; conveyance of completed house, 16 July 1831. Sold same day to Col. William Larkins Watson, East India Co. for £1,200.
14 Evesham Road (1825 and 1832). Partly built house to Abraham Tyler, 24 Apr 1832 (price unknown); building certificate 4 May 1832.
16 Evesham Road (1825 and 1832). Partly built house to Abraham Tyler (price and date unknown); building certificate 1 Nov 1832.
18 Evesham Road (1825 and 1832). Partly built house to Abraham Tyler, 16 Aug 1832 (price unknown).
20 Evesham Road (1833). To Abraham Tyler for £165, 5 Dec 1833. House already built, sold same day to Joseph Overbury, Esq. for £1,500.
22 Evesham Road (1833-4). To Abraham Tyler for £165, 17 Apr 1834. House already built, sold same day to Selina Stewart, widow for £1,540.
24 Evesham Road (1833-4). To Abraham Tyler for £180, 9 Apr 1834; house ‘nearly completed’. Mortgaged to Major John Williams, HM Army for £1,000, 11 Apr 1834. Sold to Revd John Radford, Oxford and Charles Gunning, Esq., Chertsey for £1,680, 5 Aug 1834.
26 Evesham Road (1834-5). To Abraham Tyler for £180, 16 Dec 1834; house partly built.
28 Evesham Road (1835). To Abraham Tyler, 16 June 1835 (price unknown).
30 Evesham Road (1835-6). To Abraham Tyler for £175, 16 Feb 1836; house partly built. Sold to Revd Richard Greaves for £1,550, 27 July 1836.
32 Evesham Road (1835-6). To Abraham Tyler for £180, 6 Feb 1836; house ‘nearly completed’. Mortgaged to Revd John Bythesea, Cirencester for £1,000, 28 July 1836. Sold to Abraham Lowe, Esq., Bath for £1,500, 27 Dec 1837.
34 Evesham Road (1835-6). To Abraham Tyler, 1836 (exact date and price unknown).
36 Evesham Road (c.1832-4). Built by Lt.-Col. William Munro, East India Co.; lot purchased for £250. Originally Novar Lodge.
38 Evesharn Road (c.1830). Theodore Gwinnett, solicitor agreed to purchase several lots of land, Oct 1824, and later transferred this lot to William Clifford, builder for £400. Conveyance of lot and completed house to Clifford, 31 July 1831. Originally Cleeveland House; owned by Clifford until his death, 1843.
40 Evesham Road (1836-7). Built as ‘1 Cleeveland Parade’ by John Quarrell and Richard Wright, bricklayers. Quarrell and Wright declared bankrupt, Jan 1838; house and adjoining land put up for auction 17 June 1842, subject to a £400 mortgage to John Hayward, dated 18 May 1836. No further details.
Site of Anlaby House (1840-1), now Anlaby Court and 82-92 Evesham Road. Land originally to have been part of Cleeveland Parade, but 90 ft of frontage sold to Samuel Broom for £495, 11 Sept 1840 as site of a villa, to be completed within 9 months. House mortgaged to Francis Holland, Esq, Cropthorne (Worcs). for £1,600, 2 Mar 1841. An additional 125 ft of land north of house and 30 ft south of house conveyed to Broom for £755, 12 Oct 1841 as site of coach-house (south) and another villa (north). All 3 lots sold to Thomas Bodley, Esq., Brighton for £3,650, 2 Mar 1842. Further land north and south of house auctioned after Pitt's death (30 Oct 1843, lots 5-6) and purchased by Bodley for £270 (lot 5) and £711 3s. 5d. (lot 6); conveyed to Bodley, 28 June 1844. Land added to garden of Anlaby House, which now had a total frontage of 515 ft. House demolished c.1935.
108-110 Evesham Road (1844). Unsold at Pitt's death. Auctioned 30 Oct 1843 (lot 7) and purchased by John Roberts, builder (price unknown); conveyed 23 Mar 1844. Originally 1-2 Saxham Villas.
Blenheim House, 1 Evesham Road (1833-4). To Freeman Padmore, Esq. for £525 (also site of 3 Evesham Road; date unknown, but agreement dated 12 Nov 1833). Building certificate 3 Apr 1834.
3 Evesham Road (1834-5). See 1 Evesham Road; building certificate 6 Mar 1835. Known as 1 Caledonia Terrace or 1 Blenheim Parade.
5 Evesham Road (1836-7). To Thomas Fox, grocer and Anne Coleman, widow (date unknown, but agreement dated 27 May 1835). William Morgan, builder agreed to a transfer of the property for £100, 22 Apr 1836 and would ‘build and cover in’ a house in 9 months and complete in 18 months. Conveyed to Morgan, 21 Dec 1836. Mortgaged to Gales Dixon for £700, 23 Dec 1836. Sold to Nathaniel Hartland for £500, 22 Apr 1844.
7 Evesham Road (1836-7). To John Quarrell and Richard Wright for £210, 20 July 1836. House ‘now building’ mortgaged to John Roughton, Esq. (price unknown), 4 Aug 1836. Default made—house sold to James Boodle, solicitor for £650, 8 Jan 1850.
9 Evesham Road (1836-7). To John Broom, builder for £200, 18 June 1836; house ‘already covered in’. Mortgaged to Joseph Overbury for £800, 5 July 1836; debt still due in 1895 when house sold for £445.
11 Evesham Road (c.1836-7). To Job Broom, carpenter for £200 (date unknown, but after June 1836).
Originally known as ‘The First Central Cross Drive’; only called Wellington Road since c.1900.
Evesham House (c.1833). To Hon. Andrew Ramsay for £550 6s., 10 Dec 1833; occupied by Ramsay until 1841. Additional land to south of house sold to Major-General John Thomas Jones (then owner of Evesham House) for £800, 1 Sept 1841. Originally Banchory Lodge.
Pittville House (1826-7). Site originally to have been sold partly to John Forbes and partly to Edward Lambert Newman. Transferred to Juliana Charlotte Wade, widow for £500, 24 Feb 1827. House ‘now erecting and building’ to be completed by 24 June 1829; occupied by Mrs Wade until her death, 1835.
Halsey House (c.1828 and 1832). Site originally to have been purchased by Edward Lambert Newman. Transferred to John Gray, builder for £400 in 1828. Partly built house transferred to Captain William Broughton, RN for £2,500 (date unknown) and completed by Broughton as own residence. Conveyed 8 Aug 1832. Additional lot south of house sold to Broughton for £63, 8 Sept 1832. Originally Primrose Lawn.
Originally known as ‘The Central Carriage Drive’. The name ‘Pittville Lawn’ was first given to the terraces now forming nos. 29-37, 45-53 and 59-67 (originally 1-5, 6-10 and 11-15 Pittville Lawn respectively) and later to the entire roadway, including Segrave Place, north of Pittville Gates. The present nos. 1-15 originally known as 1-7 Segrave Place.
Pitfirrane House (1832-3). To Thomas Fox, grocer and Anne Coleman, widow for £215; agreement 1 Nov 1831, conveyance 8 May 1833. House ‘now being erected’ to be completed by 1 Nov 1833. Originally Pittville Mansion.
2 Pittville Lawn (1835). To Captain William Moore Beetlestone for £160; agreement 17 June 1835, conveyance 29 Mar 1836. House, part of ‘Segrave Place West’, known as Segrave House.
4-14 Pittville Lawn (1847-9). Land unsold at Pitt's death, Sold to County of Gloucester Bank for £1,080 at auction, 25 Apr 1845 (lot 1). Conveyed to Bank, 12 May 1847; land divided into 6 lots and sold to Thomas Cantell, stonemason, also for £1,080, 18 June 1847. Cantell built 2 houses and sold 4 lots to other builders, all of whom had begun building by June 1847. Nos. 6-14 originally 1-5 Clarendon Villas; details as follows:
4 Pittville Lawn (1847-8). To William Hart, carpenter and joiner for £186, 31 Dec 1847. Mortgaged to William Moles, ironmonger for a total of £1,350 between 18 Feb and 30 Sept 1848. House built as one of a pair with the existing no. 2 and called Napier House. Sold to Moles for £1,456 12s. 10d., 6 Nov 1851.
6 Pittville Lawn (1847-8). To Samuel Tovey, bricklayer (price unknown), 17 Dec 1847. 1 Clarendon Villas (otherwise Montague Villa).
8 Pittville Lawn (1847-8). To Jacob Baylis, builder for £250, 30 July 1847. Mortgaged to Rayner Winterbotham, Esq., Stroud, for £1,000, 2 Aug 1847. Sold to George Scott, MD for £1,100, 7 May 1855. 2 Clarendon Villas (otherwise Lothian Villa).
10 Pittville Lawn (1847-8), To Thomas James, builder (price unknown), 30 July 1847.
12-14 Pittville Lawn (1847-8). Built by Cantell; building certificate 1 Sept 1848.
1 Pittville Lawn (1833-4). To Robert Stokes, architect for £125 (date unknown, but agreement made c.Apr 1833). Building certificate 1 Aug 1834.
3 Pittville Lawn (1833-4). To James Creed, plumber and glazier for £115, 22 Aug 1834; house already built. Owned by Creed until his death, 1855.
5 Pittville Lawn (1833-4). To Matthew Lane, builder for £125, 17 Feb 1835; house already built.
7 Pittville Lawn (1833-4). Site of house originally part of the land at the rear of 2 Prestbury Road (see on). Land apparently transferred to Robert Stokes, who built the house; building certificate 1 Aug 1834.
9 Pittville Lawn (1833-4). Site of house originally part of the land at the rear of 4 Prestbury Road (see on). Land and 4 Prestbury Road transferred, at the request of Thomas Weston and William Gurner Jnr, carpenters, to William Gurner Snr, Stroud, yeoman for £563 16s., 12 June 1833. Gurner Snr to build a house ‘of such elevation as hath been drawn by Mr Robert Stokes’ within 18 months. Mortgaged to Richard Packer, Stroud, Civil Engineer for £400, 20 Mar 1834. Gurner Snr died 3 Sept 1837. 9 Pittville Lawn and 4 Prestbury Road sold to William Gurner Jnr for £1,100, 10 Aug 1839.
11 Pittville Lawn (1833-4). To Nathaniel Walford, carpenter for £130, 28 Sept 1833; house ‘now erecting’ to be completed by 24 June 1834. Mortgaged to John Merrett, woollen draper for £750, 12 Oct 1833.
15 Pittville Lawn (1841-2). To James Creed for £499 (includes site of no. 17), 31 Mar 1841. To build a house in 12 months. Occupied by Creed in 1851.
17 Pittville Lawn (1841-2). See 15 Pittville Lawn; Creed built a villa, known as Weston House; owned by Creed until his death, 1855.
19-21 Pittville Lawn (1839-40). Land originally to have been the site of ‘1 Segrave Villas’, to be built by Robert Stokes, 1833, but no conveyance ever made. To James Creed for £420, 2 Oct 1839. Mortgaged to Nathaniel Hartland and Jonah Thompson for £2,000, 2 Nov 1839. Originally 1-2 Berkeley Villas; owned by Creed until his death.
23-5 Pittville Lawn (1833). To Robert Stokes for £430, 10 Dec 1833; houses finished except for interior decoration. Originally 2-3 Segrave Villas. No. 25 sold to Corbet Holland, Esq., Bricklehampton (Worcs) for £2,180, 30 Apr 1834. No. 23 sold to Captain George Schreiber, Esq. for £1,990, 22 Mar 1836.
Kenilworth House, 27 Pittville Lawn (1834). To Thomas Blizard, builder for £450, 17 Feb 1835; house already built.
29-37 Pittville Lawn (1826-7). Sites of 5 houses sold to a consortium of 5 men for £790 (£158 each), 18 May 1827. Houses already begun, to be completed ‘according to a plan on the back of this document’ (see photograph in Baseless Fabric above) by 24 June 1829 and ready for habitation 24 June 1831. Nos. 29-35 mortgaged to Henry Headley, Devizes, MD for £3,100, 21 May 1827. Deed of partition, 1 June 1827; further details as follows:
29 Pittville Lawn (1826-7). To Edward Lambert Newman, solicitor, subject to £900 debt to Headley. Sold to Mrs S. Newman and Miss M. Newman for £1,980, 5 Nov 1830.
31 Pittville Lawn (1826-7). To John Forbes, architect, subject to £650 debt to Headley. Mortgaged to William Pitt and Edward Lambert Newman as security for loans up to £1,000 and £600 respectively, 13 June 1828. Sold to William Pitt for £856 19s. 1d. (the sum owing to Pitt, who had also assumed Forbes’ debt to Newman) and £50 payable to Forbes and subject to the debt to Headley (total price £1,556 19s. 1d.), 5 Apr 1833. Sold by Pitt to Revd John Browne for £1,670, 26 Nov 1834.
33 Pittville Lawn (1826-7). To William Pitt, banker subject to £900 debt to Headley. Sold to Edward Lewin, Esq. (price unknown), 18 Oct 1828.
35 Pittville Lawn (1826-7). To George Hayward, Lymington (formerly Cheltenham), surveyor, subject to £650 debt to Headley. Sold to Joseph Pitt for £2,800, 1 June 1827 and by Pitt to Anne and Henrietta Pitt for £1,600, 6 Apr 1836.
37 Pittville Lawn (1826-7). To John Hayward, Devizes, surveyor. Sold to John Bailey for £2,225, 10 Dec 1830.
Pittville Lodge (1836-7). To Col. Michael White Lee for £650, 10 May 1836. Site of house staked out, to be built within 18 months. Originally Pittville Lawn Villa; occupied by Lee until his death, 1847.
45-53 Pittville Lawn (1836-7). Land contracted to be sold to Thomas Phipps Thomas, plumber and glazier for £2,400 (includes sites of 59-67 Pittville Lawn), 3 Oct 1836. Each lot transferred to builders as follows:
45 Pittville Lawn (1836-7). Built by John Morgan (occupation unknown); no details.
47 Pittville Lawn (1836-7). To William Watts, carpenter and joiner for £275 (£240 to Pitt, £35 to Thomas), 3 Oct 1836. House ‘now erecting’ mortgaged to John Garrett, Esq, Chesham (Bucks). for £1,200, 6 Oct 1836. Sold to John Lewis, Esq. for £1,389 19s. 3d. (= mortgage and outstanding interest), 7 Mar 1853.
49 Pittville Lawn (1836-7). To Thomas Millward, bell-hanger for £300 (£240 to Pitt, £60 to Thomas), 3 Dec 1836. House ‘now erecting’ to be completed by 25 Mar 1837. Mortgaged to Daniel Edge, Esq., Evesham for £1,000, 10 Dec 1836. By Sept 1837, Millward also owed William Montague and Charles Church, Gloucester, ironmasters £304 10s. for ironwork, some of which they had delivered to Thomas Phipps Thomas, in lieu of money owed by Millward to Thomas for plumbing, glazing and painting undertaken by Thomas on Millward’s house. Millward declared bankrupt, 15 Sept 1837; completed house sold at auction, 20 Oct 1837 and purchased by William Montague for £1,400; conveyed 1 Jan 1838.
51 Pittville Lawn (1836-7). To Benjamin Smith, bricklayer for £300 (£240 to Pitt, £60 to Thomas), 19 Oct 1836. House ‘now erecting’ to be completed by 25 Mar 1837. Mortgaged to Denne Salmon, Bathampton, widow for £1,000 and Frederick Salmon, London, surgeon for £200, 15 May 1837. Sold to William Halford, timber merchant for £1,300, 10 Jan 1838.
53 Pittville Lawn (1836-7). To John Stephens, builder for £300 (£240 to Pitt, £60 to Thomas), 31 Dec 1836. Mortgaged to John Williams, Esq. for £1,200, 9 Jan 1837 and to Thomas Phipps Thomas for £300, 26 Apr 1837. Sold to Samuel Hornidge, gent., London for £1,650, 31 Mar 1838.
Wyddrington House (1836-7). To Thomas Smith, gent. for £650, 21 June 1836. House to he built in 12 months.
59-67 Pittville Lawn (1836-8). See 45-53 Pittville Lawn. Each lot transferred to builders as follows:
59 Pittville Lawn (1836-8). To Thomas Matty, blacksrnith for £315 (£240 to Pitt, £75 to Thomas), 22 Apr 1837; house ‘now erecting’. Mortgaged to John Garrett for £1,000, 29 Apr 1837. Matty unable to complete house; transferred 28 Jan 1838 to William Montague and Charles Church, who agreed to repay the mortgage and to release Matty from a debt of £669 1s. 6d. owed to them for materials. House completed by Montague and Church.
61 Pittville Lawn (1836-7). To John Gilder, carpenter for £310 (£240 to Pitt, £70 to Thomas), 7 Jan 1837. House ‘now erecting’ to be finished by 25 Mar 1837. Mortgaged to Houston Wallace, Esq. for £1,000, 9 Jan 1837. Sold to John Brend Winterbotham, solicitor for £1,200, 29 Sept 1837.
63 Pittville Lawn (1836-7). To Richard Hewett, builder for £300 (£240 to Pitt, £60 to Thomas), 22 Nov 1836. House to be completed by 24 June 1837. Mortgaged to Charles Wheeler, butcher for £1,000, 1 Dec 1836. Sold to Agnes Purefoy, widow for £2,020, 22 July 1837.
65 Pittville Lawn (1836-8). To William Baldwin, stonemason for £325 (£240 to Pitt, £85 to Thomas), 25 Apr 1837. Mortgaged to Benjamin Pratt, gent., Bengeworth (Worcs) for £1,000, 27 Apr 1837; house to he finished by 29 Sept 1837. Sold to Richard Townsend, Coleford, stone merchant for £1,272 5s. 5d., 16 Oct 1838.
67 Pittville Lawn (1836-7). To Thomas Millward for £300 (£240 to Pitt, £60 to Thomas), 18 Oct 1836. House to be completed by 25 Mar 1837. Mortgaged to Denne and Frederick Salmon for £1,200, 15 May 1837. Default made, so house sold at auction, 9 June 1843 to Major John Hailes, East India Co. for £1,050.
Regency Lodge, 69 Pittville Lawn (c.1835). To Henry Haines, builder for £250, 18 Nov 1834. Sold to Lt.-Col. William Elliott, Esq., Reading for £1,350, 22 Nov 1839. Originally Heathfield Lodge.
Malden Court (1838). To Stubbs Wightwick, Esq., Bloxwich (Staffs) for £657 10s., 21 Mar 1839. House, known as Capel Court, already built; illustrated in S. Y. Griffith, History of Cheltenham and its Vicinity (1838), which records that the house was ‘designed by Paul and Sons’ (i.e. Rowland Paul & Sons of 9 St Georges Square) and ‘built by Haines and Son’ (i.e. Henry Haines & Son of 38 Winchcombe Street). Occupied by Wightwick until c.1858. See photograph in The Creation of the Estate.
Ellingham House (1840-1). Solomon Sims, timber merchant agreed to purchase lot for £550 before Dec 1839; on 17 Dec 1839 he agreed with Susan Dawson, Brislington (Som), widow to build a house by May 1841, and to sell it to her for £3,452 15s. Sims subsequently agreed to transfer lot to Richard Townsend, also for £550, to whom lot conveyed 23 May 1840. House ‘now erecting’ in June 1840. Sold to Susan Dawson for £3,452 15s., 8 May 1841. Land south of house sold by Pitt to Susan Dawson for £556 10s., 2 Oct 1840, and added to garden (now site of Ellingham Court).
Dorset Villa (1839-40). To Edward Billings, builder for £550, 22 Jan 1840; house ‘now erecting and building’. Sold to Hon. Andrew Ramsay for £2,800, 27 June 1842.
Lake House (1833-4). ln May 1833, Robert Stokes agreed to purchase land for £652 (includes site of Ravenhurst). Stokes transferred this lot to Helen and Emma Thornhill, spinsters for £304 10s., 17 Sept 1833. House ‘now erecting’ to be completed by May 1835. Two additional lots of land south of house added to garden for a total of £182, by conveyances 12 May 1835 and 30 Apr 1839. Emma Thornhill sold her half part of the property to her mother, Helen Thornhill, widow for £1,700, 22 Jan 1837; occupied by Thornhill family until c.1881. Originally 1 Essex Villas.
Ravenhurst (1833-4). See Lake House; conveyance of this lot to Robert Stokes, for £347 10s., 22 Oct 1834. House ‘nearly finished and completed’. Sold to William Walcot Squire, Esq., Peterborough for £3,220, 13 Feb 1838. Originally 2 Essex Villas.
Part of the turnpike road to Prestbury and Winchcombe. Nos. 8-30 originally 1-12 Leamington Place. Nos. 34-60 originally 4-17 Pittville Villas. Nos. 62-66 originally Pittville Place; renamed 1-3 Pittville Villas, 1840.
2 Prestbury Road (1827). Lot originally purchased by Edward Lambert Newman; transferred to James Bruce Walker, painter and glazier for £160 (£130 to Pitt, £30 to Newman; also included site of 7 Pittville Lawn), 20 Dec 1827. House already built, known as Pittville Cottage.
4 Prestbury Road (1827). Thomas Weston and William Gurner Jnr agreed to purchase lot including future site of 9 Pittville Lawn (see on), for £143 16s. (date unknown but by Dec 1827). House, known as Segrave Cottage, conveyed by Pitt, at Weston and Gurner's request to William Gurner Snr. for £563 16s., 12 June 1833 (included site of 9 Pittville Lawn; see on). Occupied by William Gurner Jnr in 1851.
6 Prestbury Road (1833-4). Edmund Miller, Prestbury, builder agreed to purchase lot for £90, 19 Aug 1831 and began building a house. On 15 Feb 1833, unfinished house transferred to a trustee, who was to sell it for the benefit of Miller's creditors. Reconveyed to Joseph Pitt, 12 Aug 1833, who sold it to Nathaniel Walford, for £150, the same day. Walford was to demolish the partly built house and build a new one by 25 Dec 1834. Mortgaged to Nathaniel Hartland for £700, 10 May 1834 and an additional £300, 11 Nov 1834. Mortgage still due, 1913. Originally Leamington House.
8-30 Prestbury Road (1839-41). William Gregson Pitt agreed to purchase land to be divided into 13 building lots, for £800, 13 Apr 1839. To be called Leamington Place. Lots 1-5 to be shops, in line with Leamington House; lots 6-11 to be a terrace of private houses; lots 12-13 to be a pair of semi-detached villas. Land also included site of Christie College. Lots resold as follows:
8 Prestbury Road (1839-40). To Nathaniel Walford, carpenter for £80, 2 Nov 1839. Partly built house mortgaged to Robert Middleton, Esq. for £300, 30 Nov 1839, and to Thomas Umbers, gent., Stratford-on-Avon for £300, 28 Apr 1841. Sold to Thomas Umbers for £610, 22 Aug 1843.
10 Prestbury Road (1839-40). To George Weaver, stonemason for £90, 2 Nov 1839. Mortgaged to Catherine Ball, widow for £300, 5 Nov 1839. Sold to John Nixon, Esq. for £500, 18 Feb 1842.
12 Prestbury Road (1839-40). To Charles Vale, blacksmith for £100, 2 Nov 1839. Mortgaged to Catherine Ball for £300, 5 Nov 1839 and another £300 (date unknown). Sold to John Nixon for £500, 27 Oct 1843.
14 Prestbury Road (1839-40). Possibly built by Joseph Wakefield, baker (no details).
16-18 Prestbury Road (1839-40). Probably built by William Halford, builder.
20 Prestbury Road (1840-1). Thomas Whitehead, attorney's clerk agreed to purchase site of nos. 20-30 for £340, pre-Oct 1839. This lot sold to Thomas Phipps Thomas for £100, 30 July 1840. Mortgaged to John Miles, victualler for £300, 16 Mar 1841. Still due at time of Thomas’ bankruptcy, 1858, when house sold for £365.
22 Prestbury Road (1839-40). See no. 20; lot sold to John Harris, plumber and glazier for £100, 30 July 1840.
24 Prestbury Road (1839-40). See no. 20; lot sold to William Morgan, builder for £100, 30 Oct 1839. Mortgaged to John Miles for £400, 12 Dec 1839.
26 Prestbury Road (1839-40). See no. 20, lot sold to Edward Tyler, plumber for £100, 2 Nov 1839. Mortgaged to John Merrett, draper for £400, 13 Dec 1839. Sold to William Morgan for £498, 14 Nov 1840.
23-30 Prestbury Road (1840-1). See no. 20; two lots sold to Edward Tyler for £170, 4 Aug 1840. Mortgaged to John Ricketts, Cowley, farmer for £700, 28 Jan 1841.
Christie College (1839-40). To Edward Cope, builder (price unknown), 21 July 1840. House, known as Alwington Villa, already built. Sold to John Bird, Esq., East India Co. for £2,060, 17 Mar 1847.
Southend House, 32 Prestbury Road (1840-1). Abraham Tyler, builder agreed to purchase lot for £300, but later arranged its transfer to Charles Cary, gent., 18 July 1840. House not yet begun. Mortgaged to Revd Oliver Cary, Charlton Kings for £1,000, 22 July 1840 and another £500, 18 Nov 1840.
34-6 Prestbury Road (1840-1). To Abraham Tyler for £78, 18 July 1840. Transferred to Edward Tyler for £290, 13 Aug 1840. Two unfinished houses mortgaged to John Batten, gent., Plymouth for £1,000, 16 Aug 1841. Originally 17 and 16 Pittville Villas.
38-44 Prestbury Road (1839-40). To Abraham Tyler for £300, 24 Dec 1839. Four partly built houses mortgaged to Revd Oliver Cary for £2,800, 26 Dec 1839 and £417, 28 Aug 1840. Sold to Revd Cary for £3,267, 9 Feb 1841.
46-8 Prestbury Road (1839). To Abraham Tyler for £200, 31 July 1839. No. 48 (unfinished) mortgaged to Mary Ackers, widow for £3,600, 2 Aug 1839. Sold to Benjamin Norman, ironmonger for £950, 25 Apr 1840. No details of no. 46.
50-2 Prestbury Road (1838-9). Abraham Tyler agreed to purchase several lots; these 2 lots transferred to Edward Tyler for £236 (paid to Pitt), 8 Sept 1838; 2 houses ‘now erecting’. Mortgaged to Alfred Hartland for £1,400, 2 Jan 1839. No. 52 sold to Hester Smith, Winchcombe, spinster for £1,000, 16 Apr 1840. No details of no. 50.
54-6 Prestbury Road (1838-9). Built by Abraham Tyler. Sold to Mary Carden, widow (price unknown), 13 June 1839.
58-60 Prestbury Road (1837-8). To Abraham Tyler for £213, 3 Oct 1837; 2 houses ‘then erecting’. No. 60 mortgaged to Henry Buckle, yeoman for £750, 1 June 1838; no. 58 mortgaged to Richard Sims, butcher for £750, 1 June 1838. Both houses sold to Mary Carden for £1,900, 13 June 1839.
62-6 Prestbury Road (1827 and 1831). John Packwood and William Ridler, gents. agreed to purchase 4 lots, including sites of nos. 62-6; transferred to Richard Hague and Frederick White, painters c.1827 (price unknown). Two houses (nos. 64-6) partly built at time of Hague and White's bankruptcy, 27 Nov 1827, and known as Pittville Place. 3 lots (2 partly built houses and one vacant lot) sold at auction 13 Jan 1831 to James Wood, broker for £765. No. 66 completed by Wood and sold to Anne Powne Fletcher for £600, 9 July 1831. No. 64 and site of no. 62 transferred to John Garn, gent., Gloucester for £375, 9 July 1831. Garn completed one house and built the other. No. 64 sold by Garn's executors to Ann Strachan, spinster for £575, 10 Aug 1836. No. 62 sold to Joseph Middlemore Thomas, bank clerk (date and time unknown).
Originally known as ‘The Eastern Carriage Drive’, and extended north of Wyman’s Brook as Cleeve Path Drive, c.1844. Apart from nos. 2 and 28, all houses, including those in Pittville Crescent, post-date 1860.
Rothesay Mansion, 2 Albert Road (1841). To Thomas Blizard, builder for £500, March 1841; no further details.
28 Albert Road (1858-9). Land unsold at Pitt's death. Auctioned 25 Apr 1845 (lot 12) and purchased by Col. William Larkins Watson for £340; conveyed 1 Nov 1845. Sold to Thomas Cantell for £310, 16 Aug 1858 and transferred to Luke Baker, plumber and glazier for £320, 14 Jan 1859. Partly built house mortgaged to John Penrice Bell, gent. for £1,000, 2 May 1859. Originally Southern House.
WEST APPROACH DRIVE
Originally planned as Beaufort Place; laid out as West Spa Approach, c.1844. Land unsold at Pitt’s death. Auctioned 10 Sept 1845 (lots 1 and 2) and purchased by County of Gloucester Bank for £400 and £310 respectively; conveyed 28 May 1847. Lot 1 transferred to Thomas Cantell, stonemason for £400, 30 Apr 1851: 4 houses ‘in course of erection’ to be completed by 21 Sept 1851. Known as 1-4 Beaufort Villas.
Mount Sorrell (1851-4). To John Taylo, bricklayer for £180, 1 May 1851. Mortgaged to John Searle, Esq. for £1,000, 2 May 1851. Taylo failed to repay loan or to complete house; Searle expended £250 completing it and, on 26 Sept 1854, Taylo conveyed house to Searle to acquit his mortgage debt of £1,400 (principal and interest). 1 Beaufort Villas.
Beaufort House (1851-2?). To William Mills, stonemason for £180, 1 May 1851. Mortgaged to Alfred Harford Hartland, Esq., Clifton for £1,000, 19 Aug 1851. Sold to Anthony Temple Smith, Esq. for £1,300, 26 Sept 1854.
Cleeve House (1851-2?). Possibly built by Frederick Rudman, carpenter.
Lorraine House (1851-2?). No details.
EAST APPROACH DRIVE
Originally planned as Bathurst Place, with a set of baths (never built) to north. Laid out as East Spa Approach, c.1844.
Site of Marston Villa (1858-9), now St Ives’ Court. Land unsold at Pitt’s death; auctioned 10 Sept 1545 (lot 7) and purchased by County of Gloucester Bank for £400 (also site of Malvern Hill House). Conveyed to Charles Winstone, builder for £425 (also site of Malvern Hill House), 28 Mar 1858; house ‘now in course of erection’.
Malvern Hill House (1858-9). See site of Marston Villa; no further details.
Opening llustration: Cheltenham from Pittville - a detail of an engraving published by J. & F. Harwood in 1841.
Several of the houses along Pittville Lawn are recognisable, including 1-2 Essex Villas (now Lake House and Ravenhurst)
and the Gothic Revival Capel Court (now Malden Court).
Publication and production details (first edition)
Published by Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums © 1988
ISBN O 905157 15 X
Produced by Nimsfeilde Press Ltd., Nympsfield, Glos.
and typeset by Top Press Graphics Ltd., Cainscross, Stroud.
Cheltenham from the top of the Pittville Pump Room - an engraving by Joseph Fisher, published in S. Y. Griffith,
History of Cheltenham and its Vicinity (1838), but probably drawn several years earlier.
In the foreground are the ‘walks and rides’ on either side of the lake, and on the left is the large 1-2 Essex Villas
(now Lake House and Ravenhurst), built in 1833-4. In the background are further houses, including some of those in southern Pittville,
although the detail is insufficient to identify specific properties. On the skyline (left to right) are three of the town’s churches
—Holy Trinity, Cheltenham Minster (St Mary’s) and St Paul’s.