1901-03 – Danesfield House, Medmenham, Surrey

People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 28 of:

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Danesfield House is a Grade II listed building, and occupies a commanding position overlooking the River Thames near Marlow-on-Thames.   The present house was built in the style of the Italian Renaissance, regardless of expense, by Robert William Hudson, son of Robert Spear Hudson, the Victorian soap magnate and manufacturer of ‘Sunlight Soap’.   Building was completed in 1901, so It is assumed that the construction of the surrounding terraced gardens of some 65 acres took place c1901-03.

They were restored in 1989-91, and have been meticulously maintained ever since, which is great news, because there is no doubt that James Pulham and Son were responsible for their original construction.   There is an Orangery overlooking a grand, formal balustraded terrace along the back of the house, overlooking a parterre with a beautiful Pulham trefoil fountain at its centre.   The lawns below lead round to a magnificent terraced and balustraded Italian Water Garden, and there is an artificial rocky pool and stream running along the floor of the valley beyond.   These are excellent gardens to visit if one wants to see a wide range of Pulham features contained in one relatively compact space.

1-5-28-1 - Danesfield 07 Italian Garden

Italian Water Garden at Danesfield House   (Photo by Jenny Lilly)

Danesfield House was requisitioned by the Air Ministry for the RAF to set up a Joint Service Imagery Intelligence Unit during the Second World War, and was bought by the Air Ministry to become the Divisional Head Quarters for the 90 Group RAF (Signals) in 1948.   The house became a country house hotel and spa in 1991.


 An additional ‘Chapter’ was published each month over a period of five years on this website under the tag of ‘Where? / Site of the Month’, and these can now be accessed alphabetically under the comprehensive ‘Where? / Gazetteer’ tag, so don’t miss those.   Click on the link to see the complete list of Pulham sites described and illustrated by Claude Hitching.

Another link that you might like to refer to takes you to the ‘Press and Media / Book Reviews’ tag, where you can read all the reviews of ‘Rock Landscapes‘ written by professional critics in the National and Garden Press.

To check out the names of the People and Places featured and illustrated in any of the other Chapters, click the CONTENTS link to return to the main CONTENTS Page.   Click here to go direct to the ‘Book Shop’.   Happy Reading to all our followers


A full description of the work done by James Pulham and Son at Danesfield House – together with a number of pictures – can be found in Chapter 28 of Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy the critically-acclaimed and lavishly illustrated definitive story of the lives and work of James Pulham and Son.   Written by Claude Hitching, with featured photography by Jenny Lilly.   Published by Garden Art Press.

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