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Sandy Lodge

Sandy Lodge about 1900 [Z50/99/3]
Sandy Lodge about 1900 [Z50/99/3]

Sandy Lodge is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. However, it was built as a private house. Sir William Peel, son of the former Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, lived at Sandye Place, then at a property called Swiss Cottage, today’s entrance lodge. His brother Arthur Wellesley, 1st Viscount Peel, inherited the property living there from at least 1862 to at least 1869. He then built Sandy Lodge which was completed in 1870. Building News of 1869 says Henry Clutton submitted the lowest tender for it. Swiss Cottage then became, in effect Sandy Lodge lodge!

Sandy Lodge was listed by the former Department of Environment in December 1979 as Grade II, of special interest. The two storey building is constructed of yellow brick with a clay tile roof and was built in what the department termed the Neo-Elizabethan Style. Above the door are the arms of the 1st Viscount Peel and of Adelaide, daughter of Sir William Stratford Dugdale.

Viscount Peel died in 1912 and was succeeded by his son William Robert Wellesley Peel, 2nd Viscount who became 1st Earl Peel in 1929. 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. Sandy, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting The Lodge [DV1/R78/10] found it owned by Viscount Peel and occupied by Colonel Sidney Cornwallis Peel, J. P. and Lady Delia, his wife. The paid rent of £600 per annum, including shooting rights over about 1,100 acres.

The accommodation comprised: a hall measuring 20 feet by 18 feet 6 inches; an inner hall, passage and stairs, panelled, with a stone fire place and a “long, funny shape”; a gun room; a lavatory (in the sense of a place to wash); a w. c.; a billiard room measuring 20 feet 4 inches by 28 feet (“good room to watch”) facing east; a drawing room measuring 30 feet by 18 feet facing south; a library measuring 24 feet by 18 feet, facing south; a dining room measuring 20 feet 9 inches by 27 feet, facing south; a w. c.; a boudoir measuring 15 feet 6 inches by 16 feet 3 inches; a school room measuring 16 feet by 19 feet 6 inches facing south-west; a house maid’s cupboard; a still room with a range (a later hand has amended this to flower room); a housekeeper’s room; a store cupboard; a kitchen (“good light”) measuring 21 feet by 19 feet 6 inches; a small larder; a good scullery; a men’s room (a later hand has written bathroom and w. c.); a servants’ hall; the butler’s room; the butler’s pantry and the back stairs. In the basement lay the wine cellar.

Up the main stairs on the first floor lay a south facing bedroom measuring 18 feet square; a good dressing room; a “small” bedroom (22 feet 6 inches by 18 feet!); Lady Delia’s bedroom measuring 21 feet by 19 feet 6 inches; a bathroom (“old fashioned bath”) and w. c.; a good dressing room measuring 16 feet 9 inches by 15 feet; a good bedroom facing north and measuring 18 feet 3 inches by 18 feet; another dressing room; a w. c. and bathroom; “end of passage and 6 steps” the south facing night nursery; a south facing bedroom measuring 16 feet by 18 feet 6 inches; a good south facing bedroom measuring 21 feet by 15 feet 9 inches and two beds; a good bedroom measuring 18 feet 9 inches by 13 feet 9 inches; a w. c.; a bathroom (a later hand has written “now maids’ workroom”); “through door” three servants’ bedrooms; a w. c.; three more servants’ bedrooms; “down steps” a servants’ bathroom and a bedroom used for lumber (“big”).

Outside lay: a brick and tile range comprising three loose boxes (amended to read harness room and two loose boxes), a garage for two cars, a five stall stable with a clock tower and loft over; a brick and tiled garage for two cars, with glass over forming a washing place; a brick and tile motor house, engine house and battery room; a big brick and tiled room used as a store; three wood and corrugated iron kennels; a walled-in kitchen garden with a heated lean-to glasshouses measuring 14 feet by 46 feet and 14 feet by 46 feet 6 inches “Both good houses with range of Potting sheds etc. at rear”; a heated fernery measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 32 feet (“poor”); two wooden hovels; and a later hand has added a brick and slate apple room, a place for cooked fruit, a potato store, a box store, a potting shed, an office and a vegetable store.

The valuer commented about the grounds: “Very well laid out grounds. Pretty terrace in front of house. Good walled in kitchen garden, tennis lawn, nice approach drive through rough bracken and trees”. Of the house he opined: “An attractive house very well planned. Faces south in a high position. Pretty grounds. Electric light. 1½ miles from station. On two floors, four baths. Only disadvantage social position”.

A few years later, in 1934, three years before Earl Peel’s death, the Sandy Lodge estate was put up for sale in two parts and The Lodge itself was bought by the brick making tycoon Sir Malcolm Stewart, founder of Stewartby. He died in 1951 and was succeeded by his son Sir Ronald Stewart who sold Sandy Lodge to the RSPB in 1961.

Every few years from the middle of the 19th to the middle of the 20th centuries a directory was produced for the county. Consulting these gives the following list of occupiers of Sandy Lodge:

  • Arthur Wellesley Peel, later 1st Viscount Peel 1885, 1890, 1894; 1898; 1903; 1906; 1910;
  • Mrs Farley 1914; 1920;
  • Sidney Cornwallis Peel CB, DSO, TD, DL and Lady Delia Peel 1924; 1928; 1931;
  • Sir Percy Malcolm Stewart, bart, OBE, LL.D, DL, JP 1936; 1940.

Sandy Lodge about 1900 [Z50/99/2]
Sandy Lodge about 1900 [Z50/99/2]