SHARDELOES

Shardeloes 1
Shardeloes .These days the Georgian mansion has been split into apartments. (Savills)

Shardeloes is a magnificent Grade I listed building of special architectural and historic interest set in around 50 acres of parkland grounds overlooking a lake and Misbourne valley on the edge of Amersham Old Town. The present mansion was once the ancestral home of the Tyrwhitt-Drake family. The Lord of the Manor, William Drake, had the house built between 1758 and 1766, mainly designed by Stiff Leadbetter from Eton who was among a group of architects responding to changing fashion within Country Houses. Wanting the latest décor Drake engaged the rising architect Robert Adam to complete much of the decoration and plasterwork. Further interior work was carried out by James Wyatt from 1773. The house was finally built of stuccoed brick, one and a half storeys high, with a top balustrade and a grand pedimented portico of stone, with Corinthian columns and pilasters.

Shardeloes - The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News - 29 December 1928
When the Old Berkeley met at Shardeloes in December 1928, the movie-cameras were present in force, for the occasion formed part of the Gaumont film, ‘The Devil’s Maze’. For the purposes of the picture, Mr.E. T. Tyrwhitt-Drake was superseded by Mr Davy Burnaby, who figured in the film as the Master of the Foxhounds. (The British Newspaper Archive)
Shardeloes The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News Nov 16 1929
Shardeloes was back in front of the camera in November 1929. ‘Making a sound-film for America of an English meet of foxhounds. The Paramount Pictures camera-man at work at Shardeloes’. (The British Newspaper Archive)

The Tyrwhitt Drake family fortunes declined in the 19th and 20th centuries and the house was auctioned off in the 1930s. It was requisitioned as a maternity home at the outbreak of World War II. Uninhabited and neglected by 1953 the newly formed Amersham Society fought for preservation and prevented its demolition. Subsequently the house and its adjoining stable block were beautifully and sympathetically restored and converted into apartments and houses, at first rented and then sold in the 1970s, with all owners sharing the freehold for 999 years.

Shardeloes - The Bystander - Feb 1 1911
Shardeloes in 1911. The residence of Mr W. Twrwhitt-Drake, Joint Master of the Old Berkeley (West) Hunt. He was said to cherish cushions that were left at the house by Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her stay there. (The British Newspaper Archive)
Shardeloes - A general view of the approach to Shardeloes - The Tatler 5 June 1940
June 1940. Shardeloes, home of the Drake family, had descended in direct male line, from the Great Admiral, who had once been one of England’s sheet-anchors, and, during the Squire’s days, was a fox-hunting centre. The squire ‘Teddy’ Drake was Master or Joint-Master of the Old Berkeley from 1921 to 1931. He died in 1933 and was appropriately buried at sea. Shardeloes was one of the first houses decorated by Robert Adam, and in 1940 was home to Captain Thomas and Mrs Tyrwhitt-Drake, whose family had owned it since the early part of the 17th century. It was offered to the Ministry of Health as a maternity hospital for evacuee mothers, and on the outbreak of war it was converted within 12 hours – the furniture stored in two rooms, the pictures removed and the wall spaces labelled, the library boarded up and provision made for 50 beds. In addition to supervising the gardens at Shardeloes (they were living nearby in Amersham), Mrs Tyrwhitt-Drake was Deputy President of the Buckinghamshire branch of the British Red Cross Society and the organiser of hospital supplies for Mid-Bucks. This image showed the general approach to Shardeloes. (The British Newspaper Archive)
Shardeloes - Drawing-Room - The Tatler 5 June 1940
The Drawing-Room was one of the largest wards after it was converted into a maternity hospital. (The British Newspaper Archive)
Shardeloes - The Orangery dating back to 1790 - The Tatler 5 June 1940
The Orangery, dating back to 1790, a perfect spot for convalescing patients. (The British Newspaper Archive)
Shardeloes - The Dining Room - The Tatler 5 June 1940
The Dining-Room was converted into the Medical Stores with the lady Doctor in charge. (The British Newspaper Archive)
Shardeloes - The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News - October 26 1934
Shardeloes was the home of the great sporting family, the Tyrwhitt-Drakes, who had been an household word in all branches of sport. In horse racing they were dominant and the stables provided a home to trainer Sam Bennet’s ponies, seen here going out for morning exercise. (The British Newspaper Archive)
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