DescriptionGertrude Jekyll describes how she investigated the site of some derelict cottages in Bramley and found an overgrown garden which looked over the woods of her old home, Bramley Park. She bought the site and built Millmead, largely as a speculative venture, but also as an exemplar of the ‘best small house in the whole neighbourhood’, both in its architecture and planting. Lutyens wrote to Lady Emily that she had made ‘a very unfair bargain (to herself) with the builder’ (August 30, 1905). Millmead is L-shaped, Early Georgian in style, with a hipped roof, set, with Lutyens’s usual element of surprise, behind a high stone wall. Miss Jekyll described it as being ‘reminiscent of some of the small houses of good type built in England under Dutch influence in the early years of the 18th century’. The Entrance Court represents the best surviving Jekyll planting of the ‘quiet’ type with ‘good green foliage’ that she preferred for entrances; her bergenias, ferns, hellebores, Solomon’s seal, Viburnum tinus, clematis and vines are still massed again the house walls, much as she described them. (Amery et al., 1981, cat no.165)
Along Snowdenham Lane, SW of the cross-roads, is MILLMEAD, by Lutyens, 1904–7 for Gertrude Jekyll as a building speculation. Small, L-shaped, still with a piquant garden wall screening the house from the street, with small roofs at each end belonging to outbuildings in the corners of the garden court behind. The service wing on the l. side is still the Surrey vernacular of Bargate walls with deep tiled roof but the main block away from the road is now classical, here very agreeable and personable Early Georgian; pedimented stone doorcase, channelled brick quoins. The garden front is a petite delight, four bays, with central segmental pediment with foliage tympanum and tall segmental-headed windows on the ground floor. A domed lobby behind the entrance starts one of Lutyens’s typical off-centre approaches. Complicated changes of levels too. (O’Brien et al., 2022, p.150)
BibliographyAmery, C., Richardson, M. and Stamp, G. (1981) Lutyens, the Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944): Hayward Gallery London, 18 November 1981-31 January 1982. London: Arts Council of Great Britain.
O’Brien, C., Nairn, I. and Cherry, B. (2022) Surrey. Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Also Cited InWeaver, L. (1913) Houses and Gardens by E L Lutyens. London: Country Life.
H, A.T., 1907. MILLMEAD, BRAMLEY: AN EXAMPLE OF BUILDING AND BUILDING BYE-LAWS. Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), 21(540), pp. 674-677.