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Oaklands Park House

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What: Late-Victorian mansion
Where: Newdigate, Surrey
Built: c. 1890
Architect: Unknown
Abandoned: c. 1998
Listed: No
Visited: 2017
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.

West Front
West Front

Daily Telegraph from the 1990s
For some reason, the front rooms of the house are full of copies of the Daily Telegraph from the 1990s

French windows in one of the front reception rooms.
French windows in one of the front reception rooms.

[click images below to expand & enlarge]

From the east From the North Main stair Probably the dining room Dining room. The labelling suggests an auction of contents, or possibly restoration attempts Plaster ceiling rose in the dining room Looking out of the bay window along the west front A later extension on the N. side has almost completely collapsed. A later extension on the N. side has almost completely collapsed. Service corridor. Retro kitchen. Stove controls. Service wing stairs. Some sort of parlour. One of the few items left in the house. Window nook. Cellar, containing safe and boiler equipment. Basement window.

Though it is abandoned, it is far from quiet here; Planes from nearby Gatwick roar overhead every five or ten minutes, so loud that the sound can be felt even indoors; in the intervals, an electric fence ticks, horses whinny, farm dogs bark - I think they might be on to me, but their owners hush them, unaware of the intruder in their midst.

I cautiously test the floors as I move from room to room...twenty years of abandonment have left Oaklands Park derelict, damp and dangerous. Some parts have succumbed to the rot and 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.
So hopeless is the condition of the mansion that the future can now only include demolition or major structural failure.


The Derelict Miscellany: website and all content © D. A. Gregory unless stated to be otherwise.