Oaklands Park House
Toggle site summary [+/-]
What: Late-Victorian mansion
Where: Newdigate, Surrey
Built: c. 1890
Abandoned: c. 1998
Last Known Condition: Derelict, in danger of collapse.
Page Updated: December 2017
The Victorian mansion at Oaklands Park was built c. 1890, probably for Capt. Richard Elliott Palmer (b.1853), formerly of the Kerry Militia, and his wife Mrs Minnie Merritt Palmer (b.1856) a cycling enthusiast and patron of the arts.
The estate comprised formal gardens, a landscaped park with ornamental ponds and pheasantry and a 124-acre dairy farm, where Capt. Palmer kept a prizewinning herd of pure pedigree Kerry cattle. The Elliott Palmers seem to have been well liked in society, hosting charitable events, dinners and even a 'bicycle paper chase'. They appear not to have had any children of their own, but adopted a daughter, Miss Violet Elliott, who in 1917 married a Major Nicholls, DSO, master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers.
Richard died in 1931, aged 78, leaving the estate to Minnie; on her death in 1934, it appears to have passed to her executor, Harold Harris
Bailey (1878-1962), an eminent ornithologist and author of several publications on American birds.
The Bailey Family held the estate for many years, running a successful dairy herd. The house itself seems to have fallen into disuse after being sold in 1998 for £565,000. Local rumour has it that the buyer was a local hunt master, who was ultimately unable to foot the bill for renovations. The last Mr Bailey to live at Oaklands Park died around 2000 and the rest of the estate was sold to a neighbouring farmer, who dispersed the dairy herd to concentrate on beef instead.
Twenty years of abandonment have left Oaklands Park derelict, damp and dangerous. There are gaping holes in the floors and some parts have fallen in on themselves; a large section of the roof now rests at the top of the main stairs and the North wing has collapsed inside from top to bottom, leaving fireplaces, pipes and even a toilet cistern stranded halfway up the algae-stained walls. Unsurprisingly, I didn't feel much like going upstairs here.
So hopeless is the condition of the mansion that the future can now only include demolition or major structural failure; a sad end to a fine old house.