Silverlands

Sepia photograph of the South Front of Silverlands from the West

Silverlands is located in Lyne, South West of Chertsey, close to Holloway Hill road, and adjacent to Foxhills and Botleys Park.

It is not known precisely when Silverlands was built. At the time of the Chertsey/Beomond Enclosure map of 1814, the land was owned by R. Porter Esq., a prominent citizen of Chertsey, and owner of Porter & Sons brewery at the time. The house was built some time between this date and 1825, when the mansion appeared on an Ordinance Survey map of the area. The first owner is likely to have been Vice Admiral the Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hotham (pronounced Hutham, 1777 – 1833). The Admiral’s father, Lord Beaumont Hotham, was an important Chertsey figure. A memorial to him is in St. Peter’s Church, Chertsey.

Vice Admiral the Rt. Hon Sir Henry Hotham had a highly successful naval career. He was a contemporary of Lord Nelson, and, having joined the Navy at a young age, rose swiftly through the ranks until he was eventually made Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean in 1831. He was based in Malta, where he died in 1833, aged 56 years, after a short illness. His widow, Lady Frances Anne Juliana, remained at Silverlands after his death, and the 1841 census records her with their two sons, Beaumont and Frederick as well as 13 personal staff, 2 lodge staff and 73 estate staff. Their eldest son, Henry John Hotham, was not residing at the house at the time of the census. Lady Frances continued to live at Silverlands until she died in 1859, aged 68 years. Lady Hotham was buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church, Lyne, built on land the family had donated to the village in 1849. A memorial plaque also exists to Vice Admiral Hotham and Lady Hotham in St Peter’s Church, Chertsey. It is likely that Silverlands remained in the ownership of the Hothams until the death of their second son, the Reverend Frederick Harry Hotham M.A. in 1887.

From 1887 Silverlands was owned by Frederick Alers Hankey M.P. M.A. J.P, who used it as his country seat spending the rest of his time in London. Hankey became the first Member of Parliament for Chertsey Division of Surrey, and after his death in 1892, his widow, Marion Elizabeth Hankey remained in residence at Silverlands until 1905.

Silverlands, Chertsey

Silverlands, Chertsey, from a postcard postmarked 26 September 1909

Records show that from 1905 to 1907 Silverlands was owned by Philip Waterlow Esq., although little else is recorded. In c. 1907-8 the estate was bought by the Rt. Hon. Sir John Tomlinson Brunner, Baronet, a prominent figure in Chertsey and a Member of Parliament. There is evidence that he added to the structure of Silverlands, and he is also known to have spent large sums of money in improving the interior decoration, installing oak panelling in the Vestibule, the Grand Staircase and the Gallery. It is also likely that he had stained glass windows put in at this time, although they were removed after his death in 1919.

In 1919 the estate was sold by auction and was split in to separate holdings. The main entrance, Entrance Lodge House and the land around it was sold to Squires Garden Centre and is known as Silverlands Park Nursery. Silverlands Stone Centre was established on land to the south west, and Home Farm, Hardwick Court Farm and all the estate cottages were also sold off at this time.

In 1938 Silverlands was occupied by The Actor’s Orphanage, the president of which was Noel Coward, who was reported to have visited Silverlands on numerous occasions. Many famous stage and screen stars of the day were involved in the orphanage which was founded in 1895 for the purpose of ‘raising money required to board, clothe and educate destitute children of actors and actresses and to fit them for positions later in life’.

However, at some time in the early 1940s it became Government policy to transfer orphans from Britain to the comparative safety of Canada or Australia. At this point in time the orphanage was closed down and the Army requisitioned the house.

After the War the Health Authorities, particularly St. Peter’s Hospital, used Silverlands for various purposes. In 1950, a three-year nursing course with St. Peter’s Hospital was inaugurated. It took some time to build accommodation for nurses and it is believed that it was at this time that Silverlands became the School of Nursing and the Nurses’ Living Quarters. By 1991 it had amalgamated with other Schools of Nursing in Surrey and Hampshire to become the Frances Harrison College of Nursing and Midwifery, an extension to the School of Nursing in St. Luke’s Hospital, Guildford. The college moved out of Silverlands when a new self-contained facility opened in Guildford, close to the University of Surrey.

In 2002 local campaigners successfully challenged a move to locate the Wolvercote paedophile clinic in the mansion, on the grounds that the house is situated in a highly residential area, and so instead Silverlands was restored for private sale.

References:

An album of photographs at Chertsey Museum, showing views of Silverlands around 1910 both inside and out records the completed decoration.
Manwaring, R.A., ‘The History of Silverlands’