Thrale/Thrall history

Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England



 


Tree: UK Thrale family

Notes:

Streatham Park was purchased and built by Ralph Thrale MP in 1730, and was home to his son Henry Thrale. daughter-in-law Hester Thrale their children and for a while Dr. Samuel Johnson too. It was sold by the Thrale family in 1825 and was demolished in 1863.

Purchase of the estate

Ralph Thrale MP purchased 89 acres of land from the local Lord of the Manor - the fourth Duke of Bedford. It was rumoured that the sale price was a ten-year supply of ale and porter for the Duke’s home, Woburn Abbey.

Location

The estate was six miles from London on the edge of the common between Streatham and Tooting in a district which then was green and rural. The land that formed Streatham Park is now bounded by Tooting Commons to the north, Thrale Road and West Road to the west, and the London to Brighton railway to the east. The area is still known as Streatham Park today.

Construction & building (1730)

Streatham Park, or Streatham Place, was built by Ralph Thrale MP in 1730. A sweeping drive of a hundred yards led from the lodge gates to a compact three-story brick house. Streatham was a comfortable country house, though far removed from the luxurious mansion it later became; for it then had no spacious parlour or library, no extensive lawn, pond, or summer house. ­These - together with a white stucco exterior covering - were added as the family and income increased. The house finally consisted of a main central block with a pedimented front; two low extensions, with a balustrade on both sides. Between 1771-1773 several improvements were made, including the addition of a library and several other rooms.

Grounds, lake and outhouses

The house was in a park of 89 acres. The grounds were elegantly planted, with a two-mile-long circular gravel walk, shrubbery and a ha-ha. An extensive meadow was later created which was separated from the adjoining heavily wooded park by a three-acre lake. The lake contained an island and accommodated a boat and drawbridge. In winter the lake was used for skating. At the back of the home were farm buildings, domestic offices, large greenhouses, stables, and an ice-house.

Kitchen garden

Behind these and to the west was the kitchen garden which was surrounded by a fourteen-foot-high brick wall and had forcing­-frames for grapes, melons, peaches, and nectarines. The kitchen gardens were Henry’s pride.

Accounts of life at the house

On 12 October 1790, Hester wrote of Streatham in Thraliana
On the Morning of this Day twenty seven years ago I first opened my Eyes in this House, to wch my Mother, myself, my Uncle & distant Relation the Rev: Thelwall Salusbury who had married us—were brought by Henry Thrale to reside. And what a House it was then! a little squeezed miserable Place with a wretched Court before it, & all these noble Elm Trees out upon the Common. Such Furniture too! I can but laugh when it crosses my Recollection. Yet how serious and how thankful should every Thought of my heart be, at the Remembrance that every Year has produced some singular Improvement, & that here I am, blessed with Health to enjoy all that has been done by both my Husbands for my Satisfaction and Comfort. Poor Piozzi has sure enough, a little over-done the Business; & put us into a little Distress for Money, to pay these last Bills: which amount to no less than two thousand Pounds.
On 3 January 1791, Hester Thrale wrote in Thraliana
Streatham looks divinely itself; my present Master has been an admirable Steward for my past Mistresses, who I hope will approve his Works, tho’ I’m told they always censure mine. Our Nursery Garden, Shrubbery &c. is in the finest Order I ever yet saw them; & the House has an Appearance of Gayety never attempted in Mr. Thrale's Time. Constant Company, elegant, expensive and tasteful Furniture; splendid Dinners and fine Plantations. I am glad that Hanover Square house is let, or going to be Let to Lord Dumfries; our Establishment here is too magnificent for the admission of other Expences, and if we are prudent even Bath must be given up for this Season, for one cannot do every thing; tho’ by Dint of Management I see that a great Deal may be done with 3000£ o’Year. Mr Piozzi is a capital Manager
On 17 September 1791, Hester write in Thraliana on Queeney’s 27th birthday, Hester Thrale wrote of the improvements at Streatham since her birth 27 years previously in 1764…
Here was then neither Lawn, nor pond, nor Shrubbery without doors; nor Eating Parlour, Drawing Room or Library within—but a little Brick House with four Walls, & there a Gate. The Park divided into Fields or Closes, & all the Pleasure Ground Common.

Johnsonian connections

Dr. Samuel Johnson lived here in his own apartment as part of the Thrale family from 1765. Henry Thrale's Streatham Park home became the focal point of the Thrale’s social life, and a country retreat for Samuel Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds and other distinguished members of Thrale’s intellectual and artistic circle.

After James Boswell first visited on 6 October 1769, he wrote …
I found, at an elegant villa, six miles from town, every circumstances that can make society pleasing. Johnson, though quite at home, was yet looked upon with awe tempered by affection, and seemed to be equally the care of his host and hostess. I rejoiced at seeing him so happy.
On 24 July 1771, Samuel Johnson asked the builders to leave about 100 loose bricks as …
I can think of no better place for Chimistry in fair weather, than the pump side in the kitchen Garden.
In August 1777 Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu wrote …
On Wednesday I dined at Streatham … We had a most elegant dinner, and the best of all feasts, sense and wit and good humour. Mrs Thrale is a woman of very superior understanding, and very respectable as a Wife, a Mother, a friend and a Mistress of a Family … Mr Thrale has a fruit garden and a kitchen garden that may vie with the Hesperian Gardens for fruit and flowers.
In August 1778, Fanny Burney first visited Streatham. She wrote …
I have now to write an account of the most consequential day I have spent since my birth: namely, my visit. Mr. Thrale’s house is white, and very pleasantly situated, in a fine paddock.

Mrs. Thrale was strolling about, and came to us as we got out of the chaise. “Ah,” cried she, “I hear Dr. Burney’s voice! and you have brought your daughter?—well, now you are good!” She then received me, taking both my hands, and with mixed politeness and cordiality welcoming me to Streatham. She led me into the house, and addressed herself almost wholly for a few minutes to my father, as if to give me an assurance she did not mean to regard me as a show, or to distress or frighten me by drawing me out.

Afterwards she took me upstairs, and showed me the house, and said she had very much wished to see me at Streatham, and should always think herself much obliged to Dr. Burney for his goodness in bringing me, which she looked upon as a very great favour. When we returned to the music-room, we found Miss Thrale was with my father. Miss Thrale is a very fine girl, about fourteen years of age, but cold and reserved, though full of knowledge and intelligence.
On 23 August 1778 Fanny Burney also said of Streatham Place:
I know not how to express the fullness of my contentment at this sweet place.

Johnson’s room

In July 1773, Samuel Johnson’s new room - a bow windowed room above the library - was completed.

Summer house

Streatham Park featured a summer house, loved by Johnson who did much of his writing there.



Summer House at Streatham Park by George Frederick Prosser..

On Queeney’s16th birthday in 1780, Hester wrote in Thraliana
It is this day given me by God to see my first born offspring, my dear Hester,—sixteen Years old— virtuous in Heart, prudent in Behaviour, pleasing in Person, & accomplished in Knowledge…

We always have a Dance on her Birthday for the Servants, and they shall have it this Year too—in spite of past Sorrows. Mr Johnson’s Birthday is the next day to hers, & we keep them together, &. fill the Summer House with Food, Fiddles &c, today being Sunday, the Balls must be tomorrow & Tuesday. Sure nothing will ever happen that will keep me from rejoycing on the 17: & 18: of September, the Birthdays of my Daughter & my Friend.,—.
In 1826, the summer house was moved by Susannah Arabella Thrale to her home at Ashgrove in Knockholt, Kent. In 1962, it was bought in a tumbledown condition by Mr. W.H. Wells who presented it to London County Council (The Times newspaper 5 May 1984.) In 1968, after restoration it was relocated to Kenwood House.



The Times, 25 Sept 1968. Relocation of the summer house.

Sometime after 1984, the summer house was destroyed by fire. A replica of the summer house was built by a Johnson enthusiast in 1999.

Tenancy & decline

After Henry Thrale’s death the Thrale family lived in Grosvenor Square and Streatham Park was leased in two periods:

  • 1778 - April 1790 and
  • 1795 - 1828.

Prestigiously, in September 1782 the tenant was Prime Minister Shelburne.

Gabriel and Hester Piozzi returned in April 1790 until they departed again in 1795. Much damage was done during the first 7½ years it had been rented.

In April 1790, Gabriel and Hester Piozzi returned to Streatham. On account of the damage, £2,000 was spent on restoration which was completed by the time of their seventh wedding anniversary when the Piozzi’s threw a grand party.

On 12 October 1790, Hester wrote of Streatham in Thraliana
On the Morning of this Day twenty seven years ago I first opened my Eyes in this House, to wch my Mother, myself, my Uncle & distant Relation the Rev: Thelwall Salusbury who had married us—were brought by Mr. Thrale to reside. And what a House it was then! a little squeezed miserable Place with a wretched Court before it, & all these noble Elm Trees out upon the Common. Such Furniture too! I can but laugh when it crosses my Recollection. Yet how serious and how thankful should every Thought of my heart be, at the Remembrance that every Year has produced some singular Improvement, & that here I am, blessed with Health to enjoy all that has been done by both my Husbands for my Satisfaction and Comfort. Poor Piozzi has sure enough, a little over-done the Business; & put us into a little Distress for Money, to pay these last Bills: which amount to no less than two thousand Pounds.
After 1795 Streatham Park was leased for 25 years until 1820.



Streatham Park circa 1820 by J. Landseer after S. Prout.



After the lease ended, and just before Hester died in 1821, she wrote to Fanny Burney
You would not know poor Streatham Park, I have been forced to dismantle and forsake it; the expenses of the present time treble those of the moments you remember; and since giving up my Welsh estate my income is greatly diminished. I fancy this will be my last residence in the world, meaning Clifton, not Sion Row, where I only live until my house in the Crescent is ready for me … The village of Streatham is full of rich inhabitants, the common much the worse for being spotted about with houses.
By the time of Streatham Park’s decline in the mid-nineteenth century, the local population had risen tenfold. In 1811 Streatham’s population numbered just 2,729. Around this time, regular coach services commenced running to Westminster.

All full list of Streatham Park's tenants is here.

Sale

Contents

The famous library portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds were sold by Hester Thrale in May 1816. After Hester died in 1821, the other library contents were sold in Manchester on 17 September 1823.

Michael Shepley (1825-1828)

In 1825 the property was sold to Michael Shepley, and the deeds of sale included the below plan …



Streatham Park deed sale plan of 1822..

Sir Henry Meux (1828-1841)

In 1828, Streatham Park was sold to Sir Henry Meux, a brewer. Meux continued to live at the house until his death in 1841.

Sir Henry Meux Jr (1841 - 1852)

Upon his death, the house passed to his son Sir Henry Meux

Metropolitan Board of Works (1852)

In 1852 Sir Henry Meux Jr leased Streatham Park to London’s Metropolitan Board of Works. Between 1852 and 1856 the Metropolitan Board of Works used the property as a public park, open to the enjoyment of the residents of London. They made some improvements to the park during this time, including:

  • Laying out new paths and walkways
  • Planting trees and shrubs
  • Providing seating and shelter for visitors.

They used Streatham Park for public events, including concerts and fetes.

In 1856, the Metropolitan Board of Works acquired full ownership of Streatham Park.

Demolition & redevelopment 1863

In May 1863 the Metropolitan Board of Works demolished the house and sold the demolished materials. The site of the estate was replaced by a combination of a public recreational park and a residential area of housing known as Streatham Park.

London County Council 1946

In 1946 the houses came under the control of the London County Council.

Address : Latitude: 51.4278954, Longitude: -0.1424568


Media

Photos
Streatham Park by Edward Walford
Streatham Park by Edward Walford
Illustration from Old and New London by Edward Walford (Cassell, c 1880).
Streatham Park by J. Landseer after S. Prout.
Streatham Park by J. Landseer after S. Prout.
Streatham Park by William Ellis in 1792
Streatham Park by William Ellis in 1792
Streatham Park by W. H. Brooke
Streatham Park by W. H. Brooke
Streatham Park by Augustus Butler
Streatham Park by Augustus Butler
Inscribed. Streatham Park, Surry, the residence of L Jordan. Engraving by Augustus Butler 1854.
Streatham Park
Streatham Park
This is the only known photograph of Streatham Park taken in 1863, just before demolition.
Streatham Park c1775 by C Stansfield and engraved by E Finden
Streatham Park c1775 by C Stansfield and engraved by E Finden
Streatham Park by unknown artist
Streatham Park by unknown artist
Summer House at Streatham Park by William Clarkson Stanfield
Summer House at Streatham Park by William Clarkson Stanfield
Summer House at Streatham Park with Dr Samuel Johnson depicted in the Summer House he often used.
Streatham Park by J. Landseer after S. Prout c. 1820
Streatham Park by J. Landseer after S. Prout c. 1820
Summer House at Streatham Park by George Frederick Prosser.
Summer House at Streatham Park by George Frederick Prosser.
Streatham Park c. 1775
Streatham Park c. 1775
Engraved by E Finden from an original by C Stanfield.
Edwin Sandys, 1773.
Edwin Sandys, 1773.
2nd Baron Sandys by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
William Henry Lyttleton, 1772.
William Henry Lyttleton, 1772.
By Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Arthur Murphy by Joshua Reynolds.
Arthur Murphy by Joshua Reynolds.
Samuel Johnson by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1772.
Samuel Johnson by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1772.
Edmund Burke by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1774.
Edmund Burke by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1774.
Charles Burney by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1781.
Charles Burney by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1781.
Giuseppe Marc' Antonio Baretti by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1773.
Giuseppe Marc' Antonio Baretti by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1773.
David Garrick by Joshua Reynolds, 1760/1.
David Garrick by Joshua Reynolds, 1760/1.
Sir Robert Chambers by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Sir Robert Chambers by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Sir Joshua Reynolds (self-portrait), 1775.
Sir Joshua Reynolds (self-portrait), 1775.
Oliver Goldsmith by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1772.
Oliver Goldsmith by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1772.
Henry Thrale in 1777
Henry Thrale in 1777
Painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds. One of the Streatham Worthies.

Hester Thrale bequeathed the portrait of her husband to her daughter Susannah Arabella Thrale, who in turn gave it to her sister Queeney. Queeney passed it to her daughter Lady William Osborne. On her death in 1892 the portrait passed to the Lansdowne family with Tulliallan Castle.

During the early 20th Century the portrait was sold at Christies by the Marquis of Lansdowne. Hester Lynch Thrale wrote verses about this portrait.

Documents
Streatham Park survey in 1822
Streatham Park survey in 1822
See also later survey.
Streatham Park survey, 1825.
Streatham Park survey, 1825.
Relocation of the Summer House
Relocation of the Summer House
The Times, 25 Sept 1968

Histories
Hester and Gabriel Piozzi's seventh anniversary party
Hester and Gabriel Piozzi's seventh anniversary party
At Streatham Park on 28 July 1790
Streatham Park tenants
Streatham Park tenants
Streatham Park's tenants, during two periods of rental:
  • 1778 - April 1790 and
  • 1795 - 1828.
Streatham Park library and the Streatham Worthies
Streatham Park library and the Streatham Worthies
Henry Thrale's will
Henry Thrale's will
Henry Thrale died on 4 April 1781 between 5 am and 6 am. The will, dated 17 March 1781, was read by the male executors on 5 April 1781. his wife, Hester, was later informed of its provisions by Samuel Johnson.

Executors

Dr. Samuel Johnson's close friendship with the Thrale family.
Dr. Samuel Johnson's close friendship with the Thrale family.
Samuel Johnson’s close friendship with Henry and Hester Thrale began in 1765, declined in 1781 after Henry’s death and mostly ended 1784 just before Hester married Gabriel Piozzi.

Their works
Verses 'Robin Redbreast' by Hester Lynch Thrale
Verses "Robin Redbreast" by Hester Lynch Thrale
Sophia Thrale's verses on Streatham,
Sophia Thrale's verses on Streatham,
With added lines by Hester Lynch Thrale.

Birth

Matches 1 to 8 of 8

   Last Name, Given Name(s)    Birth    Person ID   Tree 
1 Thrale, Anna Maria  1 Apr 1768Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I217 UK Thrale family 
2 Thrale, Cecilia Margaretta  8 Feb 1777Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I96 UK Thrale family 
3 Thrale, Frances Anna  4 May 1775Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I91 UK Thrale family 
4 Thrale, Henrietta Sophia  21 Jun 1778Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I82 UK Thrale family 
5 Thrale, Lucy Elizabeth  22 Jun 1769Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I218 UK Thrale family 
6 Thrale, Penelope  15 Sep 1772Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I219 UK Thrale family 
7 Thrale, Ralph  8 Nov 1773Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I220 UK Thrale family 
8 Thrale, Sophia  23 Jul 1771Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I95 UK Thrale family 

Death

Matches 1 to 5 of 5

   Last Name, Given Name(s)    Death    Person ID   Tree 
1 Cotton, Hester Maria  18 Jun 1773Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I683 UK Thrale family 
2 Thrale, Frances Anna  9 Dec 1775Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I91 UK Thrale family 
3 Thrale, Henrietta Sophia  25 Apr 1783Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I82 UK Thrale family 
4 Thrale, Lucy Elizabeth  22 Nov 1773Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I218 UK Thrale family 
5 Thrale, Penelope  15 Sep 1772Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I219 UK Thrale family 

Property

Matches 1 to 1 of 1

   Last Name, Given Name(s)    Property    Person ID   Tree 
1 Thrale, Henry M.P.  10 Apr 1758Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I83 UK Thrale family 

Residence

Matches 1 to 1 of 1

   Last Name, Given Name(s)    Residence    Person ID   Tree 
1 Salusbury, Reverend George  1777Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England I1673 UK Thrale family 

Note

Matches 1 to 2 of 2

   Family    Note    Family ID   Tree 
1 Piozzi / Salusbury  20 September 1782 - 1 October 1782Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England F52 UK Thrale family 
2 Piozzi / Salusbury  28 Jul 1790Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England F52 UK Thrale family 

Residence

Matches 1 to 2 of 2

   Family    Residence    Family ID   Tree 
1 Piozzi / Salusbury  1782 - Apr 1790Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England F52 UK Thrale family 
2 Piozzi / Salusbury  1795 - 1828Streatham Park, Streatham, Surrey, England F52 UK Thrale family