.’. Holland House .’.

The Holland House was built in 1605 for Sir Walter Cope, a courtier of King James I, and was known as Cope Castle. It presided over a 500 acres estate that stretched from Holland Park Avenue to the current site of Earl’s Court tube station, and co…

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The Holland House was built in 1605 for Sir Walter Cope, a courtier of King James I, and was known as Cope Castle.

It presided over a 500 acres estate that stretched from Holland Park Avenue to the current site of Earl’s Court tube station, and contained exotic trees imported by John Tradescant the Younger.

Following its completion, Cope entertained the king and queen at it numerous times; in 1608, John Chamberlain, the noted author of letters, complained that he was “not allowed to touch even a cherry because the queen was expected”.

Following the death of King James I’s son Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales in November 1612, he spent the night at Cope Castle, being joined the following day by his son Prince Charles and granddaughter Princess Elizabeth, and Frederick V, Elector Palatine.

Cope’s son-in-law, Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland eventually inherited the house. He was later beheaded for his Royalist activities during the Civil War and the house was then used as an army headquarters, being regularly visited by Oliver Cromwell. After the war, it was owned by various members of the family and renamed Holland House. In 1719, Joseph Addison, the English essayist, poet and politician, died in the building.

Holland House passed to the Edwardes family in 1721. Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland died at Holland House in 1774 and thereafter it was inherited by his descendants until the title became extinct with the death of Henry Edward Fox, 4th Baron Holland in 1859; however, his widow continued to live there for many years, gradually selling off outlying parts of the park for development.

In 1874, the estate passed to a distant Fox cousin, Henry Fox-Strangways, 5th Earl of Ilchester. Through his son Charles James Fox it became the social centre of the Whig Party in the 19th Century.

Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother and King George VI attended the last great ball held at the house a few weeks before the outbreak of World War II. In September 1940, the building was badly hit during a ten hour bombing raid and largely destroyed. It passed into the ownership, with its grounds, of the local authority. Today the remains form a backdrop for the open air Holland Park Theatre, home of Opera Holland Park.

Author: Dani Middleton

I was born in Brazil in 1981 and lived there for 23 years before emigrating to the UK in 2005. I had read about England’s history since a young age however I moved here purely due to the history of London itself. Everything in this city fascinates me; from its parks, pubs and buildings to street names, post boxes and bollards. Watching children “beating the bounds” or the rose ceremony, you can never be tired of London. I love the quirkiness of the little alleys, the secrets of the forgotten architecture and how wonderful it can be to simply turn a corner and suddenly find a whole new world. I have worked in some remarkable places in London: museums, palaces, galleries, archives, even digging for the MoL on the Thames foreshore but I now work for Tower Bridge where, daily, I can see the City from a different point of view. Working for the City, learning its history and stories makes me eager to learn more. London is a flowing, living organism, with the old and new together transforming it every day, but always with its history at your fingertips. One step, an intricate Victorian coal hole; another step, an old Police box; yet another, an office block built seamlessly onto an old roman ruin. I am just a girl, lost in London trying not to find the way out but a way deeper, further inside what makes this city so… special, so… unique, so… me. I am a Londoner.

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