Kingswood, Dulwich

Kingswood, Dulwich

Coordinates: 51°25′50″N 0°04′55″W / 51.430484°N 0.0818181°W / 51.430484; -0.0818181

Kingswood House, formerly known as King's Coppice, is a Victorian mansion in West Dulwich at the southerly tip of the London Borough of Southwark, England. It is a Grade II listed building.[1] In 1811 William Vizard (the solicitor to Queen Caroline in her divorce from George IV) was granted a 63 year lease for Kingswood Lodge. When Vizard returned to his native Gloucestershire in 1831, others were granted the property leases.

From 1891 the house was owned by John Lawson Johnston (inventor of Bovril) who extended the house and remodelled the facade including adding battlements. Johnston acquired the nickname Mr Bovril and because of its castellated features Kingswood became known locally as Bovril Castle.

In the First World War Kingswood was used as a convalescence home for wounded Canadian soldiers. At this time it came to the notice of Lady Vestey who was doing social work in connection with the soldiers housed there. In 1919 her husband Sir William Vestey was granted an 80-year lease and in 1921 when he was raised to the peerage he became Baron Vestey of Kingswood in the County of Surrey. Kingswood was the Vestey's main home until Sir William's death.

In 1956 London County Council acquired the site by compulsory purchase. Lord Vestey's estate had by now been developed into a large residential area with the grounds occupied by houses, flats and shops. Ownership of the house itself was vested in the Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell and it was opened as a community centre and library. In 1965 it became the property of the London borough of Southwark. It underwent substantial refurbishment in the 1980s and 1990s, and is still owned by the council and in use for conferences, meetings, and civil marriages.

In the grounds in front of Kingswood House, there are still some remains of the Pulham features.[2]


External links

  • KIngswood House community website

Further reading

A History of the House and its Estate by Patrick Darby ISBN 0-9511491-2-1