Doughty House in Richmond is one of London’s most important heritage restoration and legacy projects, which will create a magnificent private palace.
It involves the transformation of a Grade II listed manor house, gallery wing and Dower House set in one acre of landscaped gardens – once the home of the Viscounts of Monserrate – into a 38,000 sq.ft 10 bedroom residence complete with heritage state rooms and world-class leisure amenities.
One of London’s most important stately homes, the three Storey Doughty House was originally built in 1769 in the finest Portland stone and London brick for Sir William Richardson, located at the crest of Richmond Hill, providing spectacular views of the River Thames. In 1786 the Georgian mansion, which resembles Highgrove House, was purchased by heiress Elizabeth Doughty and gained her name.
In 1849 Doughty House was bought by wealthy industrialist Francis Cook 1817-1901) who at the time was the third richest man in England and owner of Britain’s largest clothing manufacturer. In 1885 he purchased and restored Monserrate Palace in Sintra as his summer residence and was enobled as Viscount of Monserrate by King Louis of Portugal. In 1886 he was made a British Baronet for establishing Alexandra House, a college for art students.
From the early 1850s Sir Francis Cook started collecting priceless paintings and classical sculptures, and by 1876 had over 510 major works. In 1885, to house his art collection Cook added a two Storey skylit 125 foot long gallery to the house, inspired by the architecture of the long gallery at Buckingham Palace. By the 1870s the long gallery housed art by famous names including Reubens, Van Dyke, Rembrandt and Valezquez, with Roman mosaic flooring brought from the ruins of Pompeii. Doughty House effectively became a private art museum and visitors included members of the Royal family, aristocrats and art patrons.
In 1949 the fourth generation of the Cook family to live at Doughty House, Sir Francis Ferdinand Cook (1907-1978, 4th Baronet & Viscount) was forced to sell Doughty House. The purchaser, a developer, attempted to convert Doughty House into a scheme of luxury apartments and also considered transforming it into a hotel.
Planning and financial problems forced the company to sell Doughty House to another owner in 1953, but the mansion was never restored. Eventually specialist ultra-prime developer K10 Group purchased Doughty House and has spent the last four years working with architectural practice HTP and international luxury design house Argent, planning a major multi-million restoration project in order to transforming the property into London’s finest private residence – a 38,000 sq.ft palace – with the restoration works scheduled for completion in late 2019.
Under the current plans for Doughty House, the main house will be refurbished to provide an eight bedroom mansion with a series of magnificent ground floor state rooms. The grand two storey gallery wing will be converted to provide outstanding entertaining and leisure facilities. The two storey Dower House is being converted to provide a guest bedroom suites and living areas, bringing the number of bedrooms within the property to 10 in total.
From the garden façade of the main house a newly built sweeping Palladian style double staircase will lead down to the extensive gardens. The centerpiece of the 40 metre long main lawn will be a 15 metre long reflection pool, inspired by the one at Chatsworth House. Bordering the lawns there will be extensive mature planting and trees. Pathways will link the main gardens to a separate walled garden which fronts the Dower House.
During the initial restoration work K10 Group discovered, hidden beneath flooring and in perfect condition, the Cook family’s original Rolls Royce repair depot. The Cook family being one of the first Rolls Royce motorcar owners in the country.This history has inspired K10 Group to devise plans to create a spectacular underground car museum below the property. The new underground car museum will be accessed by a special car lift, with the complex having direct access into the main house.