The Entrance Facade
The House from an 1897 photograph
The Billiard Room from an 1897 photograph
The Winter Garden from an 1897 photograph
Built / Designed For: Baron Alfred Charles de Rothschild
House & Family History: Baron Lionel de Rothschild purchased the Halton estate in 1853; his son, Baron Alfred, built the current house in the 1880s in the French château style. In 1918 the Royal Air Force purchased the Estate and village; the House is today RAF Halton Officers' Mess. Baron Alfred's famous Winter Garden was a huge domed conservatory (with nine smaller domes) that burst with luxurious tropical foliage and flowers at all times of the year. The Winter Garden was demolished in the 1930s and replaced in 1935-37 by the West Wing, designed by Vincent Harris as accommodation for single officers. A Northeast Wing was added in 1958. The Salon, soaring to two stories, is in gold and white with crimson silk panels. Most of the interiors are in the style of Louis XIV and Louis XVI; the Smoking Room is in a Moorish style.
Collections: Halton contained important collections of French furniture and porcelain and 18th century English portraits.
Garden & Outbuildings: There are formal gardens close to the House, with woodlands beyond. The grounds contain an ornamental a circa 1880 cast iron bridge, a Summer House of 1887-88 called The Chalet, Dog Kennels, and a Skittle Alley. Though now demolished, there was also a skating rink, a circus ring, and a menagerie. The Trenchard Museum on the grounds of Halton preserves and displays items that relate to the early history of Royal Air Force. Named after Lord Trenchard, known as the father of the Royal Air Force, the museum opened in 1999 and is also a Recruit Training Site where the new airmen and women do 10 weeks basic training before graduating. The museum's collection celebrates the history of RAF Halton, the origins of which go back to 1913, when the Royal Flying Corps were given permission by Alfred de Rothschild to use Halton for practicing manoeuvres. The museum has two complete aircraft, many models of aircraft, a number of aero engines, weapons and other equipment on display. There are a large number of photographs, a mock-up of barrack rooms, and the uniforms worn by those stationed at Halton over the years. The James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre, also located at Halton, is another historical building with flight simulators.
Country Life: I, 664, 1897.
House Listed: Grade II*
Park Listed: Grade II
Past Seat of: Baron Lionel de Rothschild, 19th century; Alfred de Rothschild, 1880s-1918.
Current Ownership Type: Government
Primary Current Ownership Use: Other
Ownership Details: Today RAF Halton Officers' Mess
House Open to Public: Limited Access
Historic Houses Member: No