Douglas House, Petersham
House is an early 18th-century Queen Anne style house in Petersham,
London, now the site of the German School London.
is located on the north side of Petersham Avenue leading west from the
A307, Petersham Road to Ham House. A boundary wall encloses Douglas
House and formal gardens, and the buildings enjoy generous open grounds
which front the
River Thames to the north. Ham Polo Club is situated to the west.
The house was originally known as Hall Place or Petersham Place
until acquiring its present name in the 1890s. Some sources state that
the house was built in about 1680 but the manorial rolls that record of
sale of the plot of land on which it stands during the late 17th century
do not mention a building until 2 May 1717 when they record the sale of
land and "brick messuage etc. built by Nathaniel Halhead" to Lord
After his death in 1725, Carlton's nephew,
Charles Douglas, 3rd Duke of
Queensberry inherited the house and, with his wife, Catherine
"Kitty" Hyde, the couple played host to literary and artistic figures of
the time including John Gay who is reputed to have written and rehearsed
the Beggar's Opera in 1728 whilst at the riverside summerhouse in the
grounds. Their children having predeceased them, the house passed to
their niece, Lady Jane Scott, following the death of the Duchess in 1777
and Duke in 1778.
The house subsequently passed to Lady Jane's
niece, Lady Frances Scott, daughter of Francis Scott, Earl of Dalkeith
who became the second wife of
Archibald Douglas, 1st Baron Douglas. The house then passed in 1817
to their daughter, Lady Caroline Lucy and her husband Vice Admiral Sir
George Scott. Although the couple lived at the house, Caroline made her
brother, Rev. James Douglas, 4th
Baron Douglas part owner in 1827, but following both their deaths in
April 1857, it was younger sister, Mary Sidney Douglas(1),
who inherited. The house then passed through her to the Drummond-Moray(2)
From the late 19th century the house was home to George
Tournay Biddulph (1844–1929), son of Robert Biddulph, MP and banker with
Cocks, Biddulph & Co. Biddulph was appointed one of the Dysart Trustees
on the death of Algernon Gray Tollemache in 1891 and helped oversee the
management of the Tollemache estates, both locally in Petersham and Ham
George Tournay Biddulph and Lady Wilfreda Biddulph were keen supporters
of the burgeoning Scouting Movement. Petersham’s Sea Scouts still have
their hut on land to the east of Douglas House. In the Biddulphs’ day,
Scout Rallies were held on the Douglas House Meadows.
The house, stables and cottage were Grade II
listed in 1950 and the house's designation upgraded to Grade II* in
The Federal Republic of Germany bought Douglas House and
grounds in 1969 and built a school around it. The German School London
was then founded in 1971. New buildings were erected in the grounds, but
the original house and stables have been preserved.
|The entrance to Douglas House
||Douglas House and stables
||Douglas House stables
|by George W. Hooper (1910-94)
1. Mary Sidney Douglas married Robert Douglas
of Strathandry (d1844) about whom little is known.
2. In 1891 Douglas House is the residence of
Charles Stirling-Home-Drummond-Moray esq. In Sep 1899
Lady Anne Home Drummond Moray and Col. H.S. Home Drummond of Perthshire
are the residents.James Douglas, gardener
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