DiCamillo Companion

The Oaks

  • Garden & Outbuildings: A famous, and very elaborate, temporary Neoclassical garden pavilion, designed by Robert Adam for the 12th Earl of Derby, was unveiled on June 9, 1774 for a grand fête-champêtre on the grounds of The Oaks. The 12th Earl (see “Images” section) was great fan of the turf (his racing colors were black with a white cap) and his influence on horse racing was huge: he founded the Oaks and Derby races, the former in 1778 after a dinner party at The Oaks (the first running was the next year and Lord Derby’s horse, Bridget, won the race). Not surprisingly, the estate lent its name to today's Oaks Stakes for three-year-old fillies, run annually at Epsom Downs Racecourse (the race once ran through The Oaks Estate). The Derby Stakes, also known as the Epsom Derby or the Derby, was founded by the earl in 1780 and remains the most prestigious of the five British Classics (Group 1 horse races run during the traditional flat racing season). Though the house was demolished in the 1950s, the bake house, the stableblock, and some outbuildings are extant.

  • Architect: Robert Taylor

    Date: Circa 1770
    Designed: Dining Room or Ballroom for General John Burgoyne
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: Robert Adam

    Date: 1774
    Designed: Temporary garden pavilion

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    Architect: Adam Brothers

    Date: Circa 1777-78
    Designed: Castellated additons to House for Lord Derby

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  • 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. IV, 1821. Vol. II, 1819.

  • Title: Sir Robert Taylor: From Rococo to Neo-Classicism
    Author: Binney, Marcus
    Year Published: 1984
    Publisher: London: George Allen & Unwin
    ISBN: 0047200286
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Demolished

    Park Listed: Destroyed

  • Past Seat / Home of: Thomas Gosling, 18th century. Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby, 18th century. General John Burgoyne, 18th century. Sir Charles Grey, 19th century. H. Berkeley James, late 19th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Demolished

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Demolished

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No