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the history of Leyton and Leytonstone

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1688 to 1727, the reigns of William and Mary, Anne and George I

the design of houses for the wealthy

The Great House on Leyton High Road was probably built around 1705 to 1710 by Fisher Tench, and is not thought to have been altered in a major way before its demolition in 1905 (shortly after being recorded for the recently created Survey of London 1 ).  Built of deep red-brown bricks with a purple tinge, it had 2 principal storeys plus rooms in the roof and a basement half above ground level.  It was 13 windows across arranged in a central group of 3 bays under a pediment, flanked each side by 2 bays and the equivalent of wings of 3 bays at each end.  Brick pilasters divided each bay grouping. The upper and lower halves of the sash windows were each 3 panes across and 2 high.  The garden front was similar to the westward-facing street front.  The house was 2 rooms deep, with a central hall making it ‘triple pile’.   A cupola survives, now above the parish church of St Mary’s.  The basement was intended for storage other than a ‘heating chamber’ with a pump.  To the right of the entrance and carriage turning circle was a large stable block.

At some point in the 18th century or early 19th century the principal rooms were remodelled in the style of the Adam brothers, with one large drawing room created in the left wing from front to rear. However, features were retained from the style of Christopher Wren and his contemporaries, such as heavy pediments over internal doorways.  The exterior was rendered at some time, presumably when this became fashionable.

Surviving houses to which the Great House might be compared are Eltham Lodge, Cromwell House on Highgate Hill, Chevening in Kent and Carshalton House.

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1  The Great House, Leyton, by Edwin Gunn, architect, being the Fourth Monograph of the Committee for the Survey of the Memorials of Greater London