Between 1925 and 2012 Western Lodge operated from it’s namesake “Western Lodge” at Clapham Common West Side. The property is a Georgian Mansion house and had a very interesting history with some very notable individuals residing there.
The first to live in Western Lodge was Thomas Whitaker, but in the year of Waterloo it was leased by “that genial buccaneer” Richard Thornton a prominent figure on the Baltic Exchange at Lloyd’s. A bachelor and a shrewd business man, he made a large fortune and when he died in 1865 he was said to be worth nearly three million pounds.
The next resident, in 1828, was Sir James Mackintosh, philosopher, historian and Whig parliamentarian who will always be remembered for his work for the repeal of many of the savage penal laws of his day. In November 1829 his niece Emma Wedgwood, who later married Charles Darwin, paid him a visit which his mother describes in a letter: “I have just heard of her arrival at Clapham, and seeing the dining room all lighted up as she drove into the court, and the Historian himself in full discourse (as she saw through the window) with a party of gentlemen. Emma, however, desired to be shown up to Mrs Rich’s room, where she had a very comfortable cup of tea and a chat with her. Fanny came up to ask Emma whether she would come down and see Mr William Wilberforce but she declined, and I dare say Mackintosh thought her a great fool for doing so.”
In 1843 the house was taken by Charles Trevelyan, then Assistant Secretary to the Treasury, and brother-in-law of Lord Macaulay whose favourite sister Hannah he had married in 1834. The Trevelayans lived at Western Lodge for eight years with their three children, and Macaulay was a frequent and much loved visitor.
Perhaps the most notable of Western Lodge’s previous residents is Adam Worth who purchased Western Lodge in 1875. On 26th May 1876 it is rumoured that he stole Thomas Gainsborough’s celebrated portrait of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. The rolled up painting supposedly remained in the Coach House on the grounds of Western Lodge for a decade
We are very proud of our heritage and history at Western Lodge. So much so that we have dusted off some off the pictures from our archive so you can see the the wonderful property we resided in between 1923 and 2012 on Clapham Common.