28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
HistoryThe Estate was originally created by James Gardiner who acquired the property in 1865 on his return to England from the East Indies. The development of the property was based upon a large principal residence in the classic style and landscaped parkland laid out by the renowned Humphrey Repton.
Charles Howard acquired the estate in 1898 and a stud complex was added to the property to support the Howard family interest of breeding and racing horses.
The stud produced many high quality racehorses, in particular Willonyx, who won 5 principal races in the 1911 season. By 1920 the estate comprised 670 acres.
The property was used as a rest and recuperation centre for the United States Air Force during the Second World War and had by that time been passed to Mrs Lillian Howard upon the death of Charles Howard.
Following the war years because of the large capital cost of refurbishment, the main part of the house was demolished leaving the existing house.
It is a compact residential estate extending to about 125 acres in total. It occupies a ring fence which, unusually for a property of its size, has no public rights of way. The Estate lies just to the north west of the village of Whitchurch on Thames near Pangbourne with extensive river frontage.
The above was shamelessly taken from the estate agents brochure, I will also add that the estate was last owned by a Mr Martyn and Mrs Ursula Deaner. Martyn born around 1945 was a former oil industry diver who made his fortune constructing a semi-submersible rig for use in the offshore oil industry and hiring it out in the far east.
Now to say the man has had fingers in many pies is an understatement, he even founded an energy company Midland and Scottish resources, however not all his business ventures went to plan and he was bankrupt by 1994/95.
Some details about some of his failed business ventures can be found here : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/all-at-sea-on-the-rig-of-doom-1538550.html
and failed promissed "donation" to a private school due to his bankruptcy here : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/bunhill-unpopular-bankrupt-1440437.html
Despite being bankrupt in 1994 its interesting to note that Coombe Park was not repossesed until 2016! Probably due to the fact his son now runs a very similar company to his father with his father a "consultant" in the business (http://www.shipeco.co.uk/the-company/technology-partners )
The ExploreGiven the exposure this place got in the time leading up to this weekend I knew it was going to be busy but the oppurtunity was there and it wasn't far away so decided to give it a go! On arrival we were greeted by @Gromr123 on the roof and given the heads up on getting in despite him thinking the Youtube brigade had arrived, at first we thought we had been locked out so decided to explore the grounds first and return to the manor later, turns out access was a little "stiffer" than expected (As someone found out leaving, didn't catch your name but hope your hand is feeling better...).
With 125 acres it took a while to explore all the different outbuildings on the estate, with some notable features like the full size Football pitch with its own pavillion for home and away teams (I am told Martyn's son wanted to play for the team so his father bought the team, money talks huh?), an indoor tennis court that had been converted into the "pleasure dome" likely for the 2006 World Cup complete with its own bar and big screen, a memorial and burial place of the famous horse "Willonyx".
Oh and theres the hidden excavator that had been cannibalised for parts to help build a replica tank that was being built in the basement of the manor, fair play Mr deaner your boys toys are definately better than mine!
The photos were taken over two days due to a viewing cutting short our first visit, it's also worth noting the coach house seems to still be in use and if it is occupied by who I suspect it is I have been told he is a nice chap so would leave him be.
Now what these were used for I don't have a clue but they were located near a maintenance shed at the edge of the site, some sort of telescopic aerial masts, look similar to the sort used on some bunkers, any ideas?