James Wortley's Contribution


The second phase of the growth of East Sheen was attributable, in the opinion of Raymond Gill, to the activities of one man. In 1858 James Stuart Wortley took up residence at East Sheen Lodge. He had been Solicitor-General but a riding accident had compelled him to give up public life at the age of 51. He paid 11,500 for the 16 acres of East Sheen Lodge and he later purchased the adjoining estate of Percy Lodge with 12 acres for 10,300. He also acquired land in Stonetull field between the present Vicarage Road and Stonehill Road. Soon afterwards he sold off land on the west side fronting on to the road leading to Sheen Common on which three houses were built: The Cottage, Eastdale and The Halsteads .

Eastdale was designed by Edward Ingress Bell. The Halsteads was designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield. It has attained some fame in the history of English architecture as being one of the first houses to be built of concrete. The first English building contractor to develop the use of concrete was Joseph Tall, and he was sufficiently esteemed in architectural circles to be charged with the building of a thirty-room house at East Sheen.

At this point a new road was constructed from the entrance to Sheen Common as far as the wall of Richmond Park. This was the earliest part of what is now known as Fife Road and enabled the erection of three houses overlooking Sheen Common, of which the first was Durran Lodge, later Denmore, for the Hon. C. H. Sinclair.

Stuart Wortley gave land for the site of a new Vicarage, which was built in 1867 to the designs of another local architect, William Hudson, who lived in St Leonards. He was well known in the City as a surveyor and was responsible for many warehouses and City premises.