particulars for the house survive from the 1920s where it is described as
semi-detached residence occupying a splendid position within a few minutes walk
of East Croydon Railway Station with main line service."
This stylish house was built in the second half of the 19th century
on land previously owned by the East India Company. The company was connected to Croydon as it was here in Addiscombe that they had a substantial military presence and college for cadets. Several roads built on the company's estate are reminiscent of men connected with Indian history, such as Clyde and Canning (see footnote). One hundred and seventeen was one of a number of such pairs of houses built along the Upper Addiscombe Road. The original occupants would have been Victorians of some standing and employing servants. The servants would have
occupied the upper story of the four and "below stairs" would have been the semi
basement area of the ground floor, where the kitchen and other facilities were
located. The first and second floors were lofty and were obviously designed for
the main occupying family. In particular the impressive porch, entrance hall and
staircase created a palatial impression to visitors.
The top floor
comprised three rooms and the first and second, two, with a WC at the rear on
the first floor, adjacent to the garden access stairs. Below stairs the ground
floor included kitchen with a range, scullery, breakfast room, pantry and coal
cellar beneath the front door steps. There was an outside WC beneath the garden
stairs and a side drive suitable for carriages. Later the accommodation was
modified to include bathrooms and to provide flats on the upper floors.
The tenure in the
1920s was leasehold and this was due for renewal in the early 1960s. There was a
ground rent of twelve pounds ten shillings p.a. The owner at the time was a Miss Eastern.
In May 1928 Tom
Osborne was looking to purchase the lease as a home for his wife and daughter after remarrying in 1920. The purchase price
was 850 pounds, which represented a substantial sum at the time; it would have
bought two substantial detached houses in Reigate for example. There was clearly
a need to raise over half the asking price as a mortgage or loan and for a
farrier this would have created intense pressure on resources. Tom Osborne and family moved in in 1929 and were to remain in residence for over 50 years.
The house was
demolished after Eileen Osborne left for Pulborough in 1980. She sold out to a developer for just over forty thousand pounds. There now stands a block of flats
on the site. The last picture known was taken in 1979 and shows the house with
the horse chestnut trees removed from the front garden and a blue sky above. The only known surviving artifacts are the iron cover to the coal shute, now set in concrete on the porch of Pipers Brook, Eastham, Worcs. and ironstone rockery stones now around the lamp post in the garden of Tower House, Tadworth.
Footnote: Concerned at the continuing threat to the unique local character of Victorian properties on the site once occupied by the East India Company training barracks in Addiscombe, Croydon Council in 2008 formally designated the six parallel roads as the East India Estate Conservation Area. This legally enforceable planning procedure affords a higher level of protection for properties originally laid out in the late 19th century. The safeguarding means that special consent is required by anyone intending to demolish any buildings in Clyde, Canning, Elgin, Havelock, Outram and Ashburton Roads. It also gives the council greater control over the form of any development proposed in the area.
The Heron mansion house (at the corner of Outram Road and Mulberry Lane) was rebuilt in 1702 by the Draper family. In 1809, the then owner, Emelius Henry Radcliffe sold the house to the East India Company and the mansion became surrounded by other college buildings. Other sites locally are connected with the College: Addiscombe House in Mulberry Lane had an underground passage to the mansion. Its garden contained the stump of a Mulberry tree - the first ever imported into England by Peter the Great who stayed here. The tree gave the name to Mulberry Lane. The East India Company came to an end with the Indian Mutiny of 1857, and Addiscombe House was pulled down around this time. Over 100 years later 117 suffered the same fate as Addiscombe House.