DiCamillo Companion
England

Witanhurst (Parkfield)

  • Earlier Houses: The current house incorporates part of Parkfield (in the Southwest Wing), an 18th century Georgian house. Parkfield was enlarged in 1881 by Allen William Block, a merchant, and again, in 1894, by his brother-in-law and the new owner, Walter Scrimgeour, a stockbroker/barrister, who sold it, 1912-13, to Sir Arthur Crosfield, chairman of soap manufacturer Joseph Crosfield and Sons and Liberal MP for Warrington.

    Built / Designed For: Sir Arthur Crosfield

    House & Family History: With 94 rooms and over 40,000 square feet, Witanhurst is listed as the second-largest residence in London, after Buckingham Palace. It was built in the Queen Anne style between 1913 and 1920 for Sir Arthur Crosfield, who renamed the House Witanhurst (which means "Parliament on the hill" in Old English). Sir Arthur is believed to have spent £1 million on alterations and additions to the House (approximately £90 million in 2016 inflation-adjusted values using the retail price commodity index). In 1951 Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) attended Lady Crosfield's pre-Wimbledon tennis party at Witanhurst. In 1963 Lady Crosfield died; her adopted son Paul sold Witanhurst in 1970 for £1.3 million. It was later owned by an Arab property trust based in Paris, which left the House unoccupied and untended, which resulted in it being listed on English Heritage's register of 1,500 listed buildings most at risk (one of 618 listed buildings in London). In July 2005 the Arab owners listed the House for sale for £32 million. In July 2007 Witanhurst was sold for about £31 million to property developer Marcus Cooper, who planned to restore and sell it as a £150 million private home; instead, Cooper placed the House back on the market for £75 million, with no restoration work completed. In July 2008 Witanhurst was purchased for a reported £50 million by Inteco owner Yelena Baturina, wife of Yuriy Luzhkov, mayor of Moscow.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The grounds include three gatehouses and listed gardens, all set in 5.5 acres.

  • Architect: George Hubbard

    Date: 1913-20
    Designed: House in Queen Anne style for Sir Arthur Crosfield, incorporating part of Parkfield (in the Southwest Wing), an early 18th century Georgian house.

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    Architect: Harold Ainsworth Peto

    Date: Early 20th century
    Designed: Italianate Garden for Crosfields

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  • House Listed: Grade II*

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" (2001 - TV movie). "Dead Gorgeous" (2002 - TV movie). "Tipping the Velvet" (2002 - TV movie). "Fame Academy" (2002-03 - TV reality series). "Eroica" (2003 - TV). "The Lost Prince" (2003 - TV mini series, interiors). "Dorian Gray" (2009 - wood paneled ballroom for the ball scene).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Yelena Baturina and Yuriy Luzhkov

    Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: Allen William Block, late 19th century. Walter Scrimgeour, early 20th century. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: Sir Arthur Henry Crosfield, 1st Bt., 20th century; Crosfield family here 1912-70.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No