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Southside House Merton
   

Southside House

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Southside House has a long history, and is associated with many historical figures. The façade of 1687 incorporates an earlier building, and the house was extended and altered in 1776. In 1750 Prince of Wales stayed here, the room prepared for him largely unchanged, and later Horatio Nelson and the Hamiltons were neighbours. The garden largely recreates that of Hilda Pennington-Mellor and Dr Axel Munthe who lived here in early C20th, restored post WWI by their son Major Malcolm Munthe. It comprises a series of 'rooms' linked by water and pathways, with sculptures and temples, a small grotto and the Servitors' Cemetery where various of the family's pets are buried. In front of the house is a reclining statue of Major Munthe's older brother Peter.
   
Previous / Other name:
Site location: 3-4 Woodhayes Road, Wimbledon Common
Postcode: SW19 4RJ
Type of site: Private Garden 
Date(s): garden: early C20th
Designer(s):
Listed structures: LBII*: Southside House; LBII: Coach house to north side of Southside House
Borough: Merton
Site ownership: The Pennington-Mellor-Munthe Trust
Site management: The Pennington-Mellor-Munthe Trust
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: Guided tours of house Easter Sat to last Sun in September on Wed, Sat, Sun, BH at 2pm/3pm/4pm. Group visits by arrangement. Garden also open for NGS
Special conditions: Admission charge (2011: £6, children/student concession £3, family ticket £12).
Facilities: Schools and group visits by prior arrangement
Events: Special events throughout year include lectures, concerts, workshops, candle-lit tours. Events in garden
Public transport: Rail: Wimbledon; Raynes Park. Tube: Wimbledon (District) then bus. Bus: 200, 93.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/01/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.southsidehouse.com

Fuller information:

Southside House has a long history in the ownership of the Wharton family, with associations with many historical figures whose personal possessions remain in the house. A family member married the only heiress of Anne Boleyn, another the heiress of the Duke of Wharton and another descendent, John Pennington, was in Paris during the French Revolution and 'played Scarlet Pimpernel, snatching aristocrats from the jaws of the guillotine'. In 1750 Prince of Wales had stayed here, the room prepared for him remaining largely unchanged. Horatio Nelson and the Hamiltons were neighbours and Emma reputedly performed her 'attitudes' at Southside House. The house façade of 1687 incorporates an earlier building, and was extended and altered in 1776 (Pevsner).

The garden as visible today largely recreates that of Hilda Pennington-Mellor, great grand-daughter of John Pennington, and Swedish doctor Axel Munthe, who lived at Southside House in the early C20th, having married in 1910. Dr Munthe was famous for his book 'The Story of St Michele'. Southside House was later restored by their youngest son Major Malcolm Munthe. In WWII he was member of the S.O.E, working behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied Scandinavia, and took part in the Allied landings at Anzio. Suffering from war wounds, he eventually retreated to Southside, which he painstakingly restored. The gardens comprise a series of 'rooms' linked by water and pathways, with sculptures and temples, a small grotto constructed by Belinda Eade, and the Servitors' Cemetery where various of the family's pets are buried including a 'vast wolfhound', a black cat called Loki, and Romulo, a Roman owl. In front of the house is a reclining statue of Major Munthe's older brother Peter.

Work continues on the development of the kitchen gardens at the bottom of the orchard. There are plans to extend the growing area up the bank bordering the school playing fields, and introduction of a bee hive in the orchard is being considered.

Sources consulted:

See Southside House website. Barnaby Rogerson, 'Major Munthe's Garden at Southside House, Wimbledon Common' in The London Gardener Vol 4 1998-99; Southside House leaflet
Grid ref: TQ233705
Size in hectares:
   
On EH National Register : No
EH grade :
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
No
 
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: Yes
Conservation Area name: Wimbledon West
Tree Preservation Order: Not known
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: Yes - Archaeological Priority Zone
Other LA designation:
   

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