Calverley Park was laid out and built in the late Georgian period to designs by the architect Decimus Burton. The land was part of the 874 acre Calverley Estate, acquired by John Ward in the 1820’s. Decimus Burton is famous for many London landmarks including the Athenaeum Club, The Wellington Arch and the Ionic Screen at Hyde Park Corner. He also worked with Nash on a number of the villas in Regents Park. A good account of Burton’s life and work can be found in the book “Decimus Burton Esq. Architect and Gentleman” written by Philip Whitbourn.
Calverley Park consists of 24 villas of various styles, all built from locally quarried sandstone arranged in a great arc all with a general southerly aspect. The houses are in four main styles, Italianate, Grecian, Old English (Picturesque) and Gothic. Each is set within its own landscaped garden overlooking informal open parkland.
The effect provides the illusion that the view from most of the villas is over the countryside (“ancestral acres” according to Dr Whitbourn). Yet the whole scheme is bang in the middle of the town. Truly a “rus in urbe” environment.
The houses were built in partnership with Messrs Bramah & Co and were let on long leases right up to 1945, when the freeholds were sold.
All the villas are listed grade II* and the parkland is English Heritage listed grade II.
Originally, visitors to the estate were admitted by three lodge gates. The grandest of these being the stone Arch onto Crescent Road. This consists of a Roman Arch, with Greek Doric columns and Egyptian windows. Tucked in behind the Arch is a 1920’s lodge house added to improve the accommodation for the lodge keeper.
Ownership and Management
All the villas and two of the gate houses are privately owned. The exception being Victoria Lodge, (The Arch). This, plus the carriageway and parkland, are held by the Calverley Park Trust on behalf of the residents.
The parkland is managed as undisturbed meadowland and is home to a number of rare plants and insects and other wildlife. The grass is cut, baled and taken away just once a year in late August, after the wild flower seeds have set. There are over 90 trees in the Park and all of the larger ones are covered by a Tree Preservation Order.
As the Park is private, all the costs of maintaining the parkland, Arch and carriageway are met by the residents.
The Park is closed on Sunday afternoons from midday to 5pm and all day on Good Friday.
There is no public right of way through the Park but visitors are able walk through when the Park is open. Gatherings and picnics are discouraged and the area is part of an Alcohol Control Zone.
Dogs, (other than residents’ dogs), are not allowed to be brought into Calverley Park. Calverley Grounds is a public park adjacent to Calverley Park and is equipped with litter bins for dog walkers and also has a café.
The carriageway and area by the Arch is for residents’ cars only and an effective parking control scheme is in force. There is no vehicular access to and from Grove Hill Road, Prospect Road or Calverley Road. The only access is through the Arch in Crescent Road. A turning area is provided at the Grove Hill Road end of the Park.