From the book, Stanmore Past by Eileen M Bowlt ISBN 0 948667

Three houses built or owned by James Brydges, lst Duke of Chandos, are of particular interest: the Warren House, the Dower House and the Bowling Green House. James Forbes bought the first two about 1780′, and the Dower House developed into Stanmore Hall. This should not be confused with another house near it lower down Stanmore Hill which was given the name Dower House in 1923.

James Forbes (1749-1819) was in the service of the East India Company from 1765 to 1784 and while living in India took a great interest in all aspects of the life of the country. He returned to England in the 1780s with an enormous number of notebooks filled with landscapes and drawings of animals, plants and religious objects, which he used to create a book, Oriental Memoirs, which was published between 181315. A colleague in the East India Company, John Dalton, had married his sister and all three came to Stanmore where Dalton’s brother, James, was rector from 1781. It was probably in preparation for his retirement from the Company that Forbes had already in 1780 purchased part of the settled estates of Henry, 2nd Duke of Chandos’: the Warren House, Cloisters Wood and a house and grounds on the corner of Stanmore Hill and Wood Lane, which had been built by the lst Duke of Chandos for use by his wife during her widowhood should she survive him  in effect a Dower House.

THE  ORIGINAL DOWER HOUSE (on the Stanmore Hall site)

James Forbes married Rose Gaylord, daughter of Joseph Gaylord of Stanmore and by 1788 the two couples were settled in the Dower House, though he had a town house in Albemarle Street. The Brahmins of Hindustan had presented him with groups of oriental sculpture as ‘a greatful acknowledgement of his benevolent attention to their happiness during a long residence among them and this he placed in an octagonal temple or pagoda specially erected in his garden which extended to Dennis Lane. The sculptures probably excited a good deal of comment because Lysons remarked that they “are very ancient and the only specimens of Hindoo sculpture in this island.”

About 1800 Forbes bought the tongue of land between Dennis Lane and Cloisters Wood, joining the latter with the Warren House and his other land on the slopes of Stanmore Hill .6 Shortly afterwards, taking advantage of the break in the Napoleonic wars brought about by the Peace of Luneville and Treaty of Amiens (1802), he went to France, but was caught there when war broke out again and was imprisoned for two years. His daughter was married to a French émigré, the Comte de Montalembert, and their son, who was brought up by his grandfather, became a well known medieval historian. After the wars finally ended in 1815 Forbes probably spent much time in France and indeed died at Aix la Chapelle in 1819. He sold the Dower House, the Dennis Fields and Cloisters Wood to Roger Elliot Roberts of Upper Grosvenor Street, a colonel in the service of the East India Company in 1815.1

General Alexander Campbell of Menzie, Perthshire purchased the copyhold part of the estate in 1820 and presumably the freehold house as well and Edward Orme of Bayswater bought the estate in 1825 but sold it to the trustees of the marriage settlement of Lieutenant General Sir John Lambert who fought at Waterloo, in 1828. Lambert’s name appears as owner on the Sayer map of 1827, which strangely shows no house on the site. From him it went to Thomas Teed of Argill House, Richmond, Surrey in 1835 who sold the Dower House in 1842 to Matthew John Rhodes.


The next year Rhodes set about building a splendid gothic pile, replete with battlements and turrets more or less across the site of the kitchen garden. This new building was Stanmore Hall and replaced the Dower House which was demolished about 1850. The architect was the Irishman, John Macduff Derrick who was better known for his ecelesiastical work. A matching lodge, which still stands in Wood Lane, was occupied by Susan Day, the cook and her husband at the time of the 1851 census. Thomas Teed’s daughter, Ellen Julia, had married Robert Hollond MP for Hastings in 1840. He is famous on account of his interest in aeronautical science and a journey which he made in a hot air balloon from Vauxhall Gardens to Nassau in the Netherlands in 1836. The Hollonds purchased the new hall in 1847 and made it their chief home, but they were often abroad. Mrs Hollond was of a liberal turn of mind and interested in social and welfare work. She had a salon in Paris where she entertained other liberals and she founded the first créche in London in 1844.

Her husband died in 1877 and was buried in an ornate mausoleum in the old church. The decorative cottage beside the churchyard of Great Stanmore on the Uxbridge Road, designed by Brightwen Binyon, was built as a memorial to him in 1881, the land having been conveyed to Mrs Hollond by Lord Wolverton of Stanmore Park. Robert Hollond is also commemorated in a window on the south side of the present church. Mrs Hollond died at the hall in 1884.

Map of 1887 from 

During the Hollonds’ occupation farm buildings were erected on Wood Lane directly opposite the Spring Pond and a new laundry, stables and ornamental cottages were built on Little Common about 1863, the latter on the site of older cottages and gardens. Two older cottages near the laundry called Woodbine Cottage and Springlands and The Cottage (confusingly called the Dower House later) adjoining the hall on the south in Stanmore Hill, were also part of the estate, but were leased out rather than being occupied by servants and workers. Springlands had its own stable and coach house. The Cottage also had a stable and a gardener’s cottage and nearly five acres of meadow, while Woodbine Cottage had outbuildings. There were two other cottages with a plantation and meadow and the detached farm lodge in Dennis Lane was on the site of the present Hall Farm Drive.

Mr Hollond had also bought up property at the bottom of Stanmore Hill, including The Queen’s Head, a baker’s and a fishmonger’s shops and two gentlemen’s houses, Syon House and Elm House, the latter, now 17 Stanmore Hill, with a coach house beside the entrance gates.