The History of Cassiobury Park
In 2014 a book was published called “Cassiobury: The Ancient Seat of the Earls of Essex”. This was written by Paul Rabbitts and Sarah Kerenza Priestley and contains lots of information about the history of Cassiobury Park. The information below was written before 2014 and does not draw on the book, although it uses some of the same source material.
The Earls of Essex lived in Cassiobury House for more than 250 years. By the start of the 20th century the house was no longer used as a permanent residence and the estate began to be sold off.
In 1909, 184 acres of parkland were sold by the 8th Earl of Essex, mostly to Watford Borough Council for housing and the public park. More land for the park was purchased in 1930.
Construction of the residential Cassiobury Estate began. The land was made subject to restrictive covenants stipulating that only good quality detached or semi-detached houses would be allowed. Most activity was in the 1930s, though building still continues, mostly of “infill” housing on former back gardens. The park is bounded by Parkside Drive and Coningsby Drive on the north, and Cassiobury Park Avenue on the south.
On Thursday 8 June, 1922, at 2.30 p.m. at 20 Hanover Square, “By direction of the Right Honourable AdГЁle, Countess Dowager of Essex”, “Cassiobury Park estate including the historical family mansion, Little Cassiobury, and the West Herts Golf Links, embracing in all an Area of about 870 Acres” was auctioned by Humbert & Flint, in conjunction with Knight, Frank & Rutley.
Having remained unoccupied and unsold, the house itself was demolished in 1927. Only the stable block remains: this has been converted to Cassiobury Court, an old peoples’ home, which still exists in Richmond Drive. The grand staircase (said to be designed by Gibbons but since attributed to Edmund Pearce) was removed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Other materials from the house were used to restore Monmouth House in Watford High Street. Posters advertised “To lovers of the antique, architects, builders, etc., 300 tons of old oak: 100 very fine old oak beams and 10,000 Tudor period bricks”.
In 1967, even the quaint, castellated entrance gates on the Rickmansworth Road were demolished to make way for a new traffic system.
Parts of the content of this page taken from Wikipedia (released under GNU Free Documentation License).
Some images on this page are taken from Watford Museum’s Cassiobury Collection.