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Kempston Hoo

Kempston Hoo in 1931 [Z50/67/3]
Kempston Hoo in 1931 [Z50/67/3]

Kempston Hoo was built in the 1840s by Thomas John Green [CRT130Kempston3]. It was purchased about 1849 by Bedford banker Talbot Barnard. Barnard married Mary Fitzpatrick, granddaughter of Sir William Long in 1850 [CRT130Kempston13]. He died in 1867 and his widow moved to Ealing, his nephew Talbot Barnard junior inherited the estate. He sold the estate to Robert Orr Campbell in 1884. The sale particulars [Z808/3/1] described the house as follows:

Situate in a healthy and favourite part of the County, in the Parish and close to the pretty Village of Kempston, Two Miles from the Parliamentary and County Town of
Where there are first-class Stations on the Midland and North-Western Railways, both affording excellent services by fast trains to London, which is reached in little over an hour,


324 acres, 2 roods, 14 poles,

Approached, intersected, and bounded by capital roads; it possesses unusually attractive features and natural advantages, rendering it in every respect fitting as the SEAT OF A GENTLEMAN OF POSITION. The Society in the district is good, and the situation for Sporting advantages excellent.

of Elizabethan Design,
Occupies an elevated and delightful position, near the centre of a small beautifully undulating and well-timbered Park, skirted by thriving belts of well-assorted trees, and intersected by a running Stream;

The principal Entrance to the MANSION is by a RECESSED PORCH,


Entrance Hall, 36 feet by 16 feet 6 inches, with Polished Oak Floor and Gallery, having Ornamental Oak Front on the Bed Room level, Inner Hall with Door opening on Lawn, Lavatory, and W. C.

The Principal Staircase ascends from the Hall, is of Solid Oak, with Spiral Balustrades and Open Roof surmounted by Lantern Light.

Dining Room, 26 feet 3 inches by 18 feet (including Bay), with Carved Oak Chimney-piece, Register Stove and Glazed Door opening to CONSERVATORY HEATED BY HOT WATER

Drawing Room, 27 feet 3 inches by 16 feet 6 inches (including Bay), with handsome Statuary Marble Chimney-piece and polished front Register Stove, Rich Ornamental Ceiling and Centre.

Morning of Breakfast Room with Carved Chimney-piece and Register Stove.

Library with Stone Mentel and Grate.


Approached by the Principal and Secondary Stairs, opening to the Gallery, are Five Principal Bed Rooms, Two Dressing Rooms, Bath Room, Nursery, and W. C.; Small Bed Room, Two Store Rooms, Housemaid's Closet with hot and cold water laid on.


Five well-proportioned Bed Rooms, Lumber Room, and Two Servants' Apartments.

are conveniently arranged, approached by a side entrance from the Court Yard, and include: Kitchen fitted with Range, Hot Plate, Dresser, Cupboards, &c.; Scullery with hard and soft Water, Force Pumps, Copper, and Sink; Larder, Servants' Hall, Pantry with water supply, Cupboards, Presses, &c., Man-servant's Bed Room over Kitchen and other Offices.

The Basement contains Wine and Ale Cellars, Store Room, Cool Larder, Wood and Coal Stores, &c.

The Residence is very conveniently fitted throughout with Cupboards, Closets and Store Rooms.

There is an excellent supply of Spring and Soft Water, raised to Cisterns in the Roof, and laid on throughout the House.

Are conveniently placed in rear of the Residence; they surround an Enclosed and Paved Yard,
Three and Four-Stall Stables and Loose Box, with Loft over; two Coach Houses, harness and Coachman's Rooms and Loft, Open Shed, Two Tool Houses, and other Offices, with an abundant supply of Water.

Above the Buildings, in a conspicuous position, is a TURRET CLOCK.

Surround the Rseidence; are laid out with great taste, intersected by shaded and other walks, and well clad with fine specimen Conifers, Shrubs and Trees of luxuriant growth.

Are very productive, one of which is walled in, and well stocked with choice varieties of Wall and other Fruit Trees.


Range of Forcing Houses, Brick Pits, Potting Shed, &c.

Containing SIX ROOMS, with Brew House and other Outbuildings;
including Two Loose Boxes, Open Cattle Shed, Hay House, Piggeries, Mixing and Poultry Houses, and Enclosed Cattle Yards;


Containing FOUR ROOMS, occupied by WILLIAM GARNER.

Robert Orr Campbell died in 1892. The estate was then sold to Hugh D’Oyley Tweedy. Tweedy died in 1898 [X67/360] and the house was purchased, once more, by a member of the Barnard family, Thomas Henry Barnard .

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting The Hoo [DV1/R25/28] found it owned and occupied by Colonel Oscar L. Eugster DSO. The ground floor comprised: a hall measuring 35 feet by 16 feet; a lobby; an ante-room measuring 8 feet by 16 feet; a back hall; a kitchen measuring 15 feet by 20 feet; a scullery; a pantry; a larder; a boot room; a servants’ dining hall; a housemaid’s parlour; a dining room measuring 23 feet by 18 feet (“with serving hatch”); a billiard room measuring 24 feet by 15 feet (“used for Badminton”); a conservatory (10 feet by 20 feet); a drawing room measuring 23 feet by 15 feet (“+ bay a large Recess”); a play room measuring 15 feet by 22 feet and a library measuring 15 feet square (“Good staircase”).

The first floor comprised: two store cupboards; a housekeeper’s bedroom measuring 15 feet square; a bedroom measuring 16 feet by 24 feet with a bay; a bedroom measuring 15 feet by 13 feet; a dressing room; a bedroom measuring 16 feet by 15 feet; a bedroom measuring 13 feet by 16 feet; a W. C.; two bathrooms (“one quite nice”) and two more bedrooms (“fairly good”). Four attic bedrooms lay above (“good landing”) along with a servants’ bathroom.

A washhouse stood outside along with a coal shed, a W. C., a three-stall stable (“used for coal”), a four-stall stable (“storage”), a coachhouse (“garage 2 cars”), a small workshop and a bicycle store. The house had its own electricity supply generated in a brick and slate engine house measuring 23 feet by 26 feet and a brick and slate battery house measuring 13 feet by 14 feet which featured a four kilowatt dynamo (“100 volts 40 amps”). Also in the grounds was a gardener’s cottage built of brick and tile and containing a parlour, a living room, a kitchen and four bedrooms above (“one over yard”). Additional features included two glasshouses measuring 13 feet by 60 feet (“new and heated”) and 75 feet by 8 feet (“old, heating apparatus fallen into decay”) respectively. There were eight loose boxes (“used as store”) and two small stores as well as a wood and corrugated iron store, a kitchen garden of one acre and a hard tennis court (“red”). The grounds comprised 6.671 acres and the whole site 7.671 acres.

The valuer commented: “Very good house. Very good grounds. Situation high. Electric Light. Modernised” and “Situation nice and High. Pleasant outlook. 2 bathrooms and maid’s bath. Own Electric lighting. About 3 miles from Bedford Station. No Town Drainage. Structure Sound”. Another hand has added: “Rather on the large size”.

The Hoo was put up for sale in 1931 and the sale particulars [X67/360] described it as a:

Most Attractive Freehold Modern
Known as
“Kempston Hoo”
and situated about two miles from Bedford Town and Station, with its excellent Express Service on the Main Midland Railway, one hour from London.

The Property offers
Unique Educational Facilities
The famous Schools being within a convenient distance.

The Property has been the subject of lavish expenditure and is in exceptional order.


Which is built of stone with a tiled roof, with its steep pitched gables, and mullioned and transomed windows is of particularly pleasing appearance, and occupies an elevated and delightful position near the centre of

Beautifully Undulating and Heavily Timbered Park
Skirted by thriving belts of well-assorted trees, intersected by a running stream, and approached by

Two Carriage Drives

One with ORNAMENTAL LODGE, built in character with the House, and containing Six Rooms, the main drive ending in a sweep opposite the front door.

The House is entered through an open recessed Porch, supported by pillars, leading to

Large Hall
36 feet by 16 feet 6 inches, with polished oak floor, at the far end of which is an

Inner Oak-panelled Hall
with door opening to Gardens. W. C. with Lavatory and Cloak Room.

Capital Dining Room
measuring 26 feet 3 inches by 18 feet, with carved oak chimneypiece, and opening to the conservatory

Charming Drawing Room
27 feet 3 inches by 16 feet 6 inches, with carved oak chimneypiece

Morning Room
measuring 22 feet 6 inches by 16 feet, with carved oak chimney piece

measuring 16 feet by 15 feet 6 inches, with stone mantelpiece

On the other side of the Conservatory is a full-sized

Billiard Room
measuring 26 feet 6 inches by 18 feet


Reached by a HANDSOME SOLID OAK STAIRCASE, with carved balustrading and lighted from the roof by lantern light, are

Five Principal Bed Rooms
measuring 16 feet 3 inches by 15 feet 9 inches, 15 feet 6 inches by 13 feet, 14 feet by 14 feet, 17 feet 6 inches by 15 feet, 20 feet 6 inches by 17 feet 6 inches.

Two Dressing Rooms
11 feet by 8 feet 6 inches and 15 feet 9 inches 12 feet.

TWO BATH ROOMS (hot and cold [running water]) fitted basins, W. C., NURSERY, SMALL BED ROOM, TWO STORE ROOMS, Housemaid’s Closet with hot and cold supply and W. C.

Two Well proportioned Bed Rooms,
and FOUR SERVANTS’ ROOMS and BATH ROOM. There is a Secondary Staircase.

are spacious and conveniently arranged, and include KITCHEN with double oven range, dresser, cupboards; SCULLERY with hard and soft water laid on, and sink; LARDER; SERVANTS’ HALL, with fireplace; BUTLER’S ROOM over kitchen.

In the excellent Basement, Wine and Beer Cellars, Store Room, Larders and Wood and Coal Store, Boiler House etc.

The Stabling
is very conveniently placed and surrounds an enclosed paved yard, and the buildings are surmounted by a turret clock. The accommodation consists of Coach House, Garage and standing for 6 horses. There is, in addition, a Range of Ten Modern Loose Boxes and Corn Stores.

The Grounds
are particularly attractive, and include Wide Lawns for Tennis and Croquet, Hard Tennis Court, an exceptional Rock Garden, Herbaceous Borders and Flower Beds, and are clothed with a Wonderful Growth of Shrubberies and Fine Forest Timber, and in addition there is a

Woodland Walk
nearly a mile in length, surrounding the Park

There are
Two Walled Kitchen Gardens
abundantly stocked, with a modern range of Glasshouses.
Excellent Cottage for Gardener
containing Six Rooms, and small enclosed Garden

The Hoo did not have long left. As the estate was gradually covered in housing, and the house itself demolished, in the 1930s [PK1/6/1 and PK1/5/21]. Today the houses in Barnard Avenue, Brook Drive, Deacon Avenue, Ditmas Avenue, Durler Avenue, Eugster Avenue, Hill Rise, Lodge Avenue, The Dell and The Hoo stand on the site of the house and its grounds.

As one drives up Eugster Avenue one is following the line of the carriage road to the house until one reaches the intersection with Deacon Avenue, at which point the drive curved off south-west. The Hoo itself stood in the area now covered, roughly, by 36 to 40 Deacon Avenue and 35 and 37 Ditmas Avenue and their respective gardens. Many trees which stood in the grounds survive; part of the grounds now form a small park and another section is now allotments. The Lodge survives, standing on the main road between Eugster Avenue and Hill Rise. Hastingsbury and Ridgeway Schools stand within the grounds at the rear of the site of the former mansion.

Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year but every few years from the early to mid 19th century until 1940. The following list of occupants of The Hoo can be compiled from directories:

1847: Robert Hobson;
1853, 1854 and 1864 Talbot Barnard;
1869: Mrs. Barnard;
1877, 1885 and 1890: Robert Orr Campbell;
1898: Mrs. Campbell
1903, 1906, 1910, 1914: Thomas Henry Barnard;
1920: Mrs. Barnard;
1924 and 1928: Lieutenant-Colonel Oscar L. Eugster DSO.