An 1830 engraving of the entrance facade (before additions) from "Neale's Views of Seats"
The entrance facade (after additions) from a 1909 issue of "Baily's Magazine of Sports and Pastimes"
The garden facade from a circa 1907 postcard
The rear of the house when it served as a hospital during World War I
Earlier Houses: There was an earlier house on the site, parts of which were probably incorporated into the current house.
Built / Designed For: Sir John Comyns
House & Family History: During World War II the estate was the site of a German prisoner of war camp, while the house was used by the SAS (Special Air Service) as their headquarters. In 1962 Christine Hanbury, the last private owner of Hylands, died; in 1966 Chelmsford Borough Council purchased Hylands for the people of Chelmsford. The west wing, including the banqueting room, was damaged by a roof fire in 1963, which left it in a perilous condition. The council stabilized the exterior of the house in the 1980s; in 1998 the interiors were restored to their original neo-Greek design, complete with Thorvaldsen reliefs. The firm of A.G. Joy & Son was brought in to rebuild the intricate moldings, most of them in situ, incorporating as much of the original decorative plaster as possible. In 2003 Joy & Son were the recipients of the National Humber Salver Prize for excellence in solid plastering for their work at Hylands. The judges praised the leaves of the chandelier roses and said the paneled pilasters were the finest example of ornamental plaster they had seen that year. Joy & Son worked at Hylands earlier, in 1999, when they restored the plaster ceilings and cornices of the east wing. The final restorations of the house were completed in 2005.
Collections: Pierre Cesar Labouchère, a Dutch-born merchant banker who owned Hylands in the early 19th century, installed a collection of Neoclassical sculpture in the house, including works by Bertel Thorvaldsen.
Garden & Outbuildings: William Atkinson added greenhouses for P.C. Labouchère between 1819 and 1825. The house is set in 574 acres of parkland today.
Architect: William AtkinsonDate: 1819-25
John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. I, 1818.
Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
Author: Colvin, Howard
Year Published: 2008
Reference: pgs. 82, 779
Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Burke's and Savills Guide to Country Houses, Volume III: East Anglia
Author: Kenworthy-Browne, John; Reid, Peter; Sayer, Michael; Watkin, David
Year Published: 1981
Reference: pgs. 56-57
Publisher: London: Burke's Peerage
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Georgian: The Magazine of the Georgian Group, The
Year Published: NA
Reference: January 1999, pg. 14
Publisher: London: The Georgian Group
Book Type: Magazine
House Listed: Grade II*
Park Listed: Not Listed
Past Seat / Home of: Sir John Comyns, 18th century; John Richard Comyns, 18th century. Cornelius H. Kortwright, 1797-1815. Pierre Cesar Labouchère, 1816-39. John Attwood, 1839-58. Arthur Pryor, 1858-1904. Sir Daniel Gooch, 1904-20. John Hanbury, 1922-23; Hanbury family here from 1922 until 1962.
Current Ownership Type: Government
Primary Current Ownership Use: Wedding & Event Venue
Ownership Details: The grounds are used as a public park; the house and park are owned by Chelmsford Borough Council.