The Homes of Agnes Fox

My great great aunt Agnes Fox’s scrapbook includes a whole host of photographs of their family home, Coombe Springs in Kingston upon Thames. My great great grandfather Alfred Octavius Kirby was living in Coombe Neville on Kingston Hill around 1900. I wonder if this close proximity had anything to do with my grandfather Claude marrying Agnes’ niece Rosemary Wright.

I’m not sure when they left Coombe Springs to move to Kippington Grange in Sevenoaks. It was probably when Sir Douglas retired, but she was sent this cartoon above about a pathetic incident on Kingston Hill. I’ve no idea who sent it to her though. There’s also a pen and ink drawing of Coombe Srings I found in the Scrapbook, but I’ve no idea whether this was one of Agnes’ sketches or not.

Sir Douglas also seemed to have a London residence at 12 Queens Gate Gardens, but I don’t how long they lived there for although I assume the family engineering firm was based in London.

he photograph below is of their Kippington Grange home in Sevenoaks, Kent. I think it maybe Agnes and her dog in the photograph.

I’m not sure whether or not the picture below is of Agnes’ Wield View House on Bayley’s Hill, Svenoaks. It seems to be in the same style as the water colour below it of Anges’ ‘Weald View’ garden.

The scrapbook contains newspaper clippings from the Svenoaks Chronicle praising Agnes’ garden and her replying to thank them for their appreciation. There’s also a letter from what looks like John Burgess of Clapham Common addressed to ‘The Proprietor of that Delightful Spot “Weald View”‘. There another clipping from Agnes to the Chronicle on the 8th August 1915 saying she can hear the guns in flanders. She also mentions that her little ‘wild’ garden is open to the public and there’s other loose clippings mention this too. Again I’m not sure who painted this water colour,  but I think it’s probably a self portrait by Agnes.


5 thoughts on “The Homes of Agnes Fox

  1. Mr. Kirby, I just read your blog entry “The Homes of Agnes Fox” dated February 12, 2012, in which you mention that your great great grandfather lived at Coombe Neville in Kingston upon Thames around the year 1900. I would be very interested to hear anything you can tell me about Coombe Neville at the time your relative lived there. Old Ordnance Survey maps show a property called Coombe Neville at the corner of Warren and George Roads but I have never been able to figure out exactly what it was. I am interested in this because I lived in the same location from 1966 through 1970, on the street named Coombe Neville. It was (and still is) composed of 12 houses which must have been built on the site of your relative’s property. I’ve made quite a study of the area and would love to learn more.
    Max Kuniansky

  2. Justin, I’ve found some details about Coombe Springs, including the connection to the Fox family. How would you like to receive it? If by e-mail, just let me know your e-mail address and I’ll send it along.

  3. Justin, here’s the information I obtained regarding Coombe Springs and the connection to the Fox family.

    The property was located on the north side of Coombe Lane West, Kingston upon Thames, in the area around Coombe Conduit (historic water supply system for Hampton Court Palace) and Lord Chancellor’s Walk.

    House was built around 1870 for the Du Cane family. Du Cane was a Major General in Royal Engineers and assistant supervisor for the Great Exhibition of 1851. He was later appointed surveyor of prisons and designed Wormwood Scrubs.
    1883 – sold to Mr Charles Douglas Fox. It had 3 reception rooms, 13 bed and dressing rooms, capital domestic offices. Stabling with men’s rooms, gardener’s cottage. Beautifully laid out and well grown grounds with paddock, in all about 6 acres with a lease for 85 years.
    1889 – Fox elected as an alderman onto Surrey CC. Died in 1921.
    1903 – Premises bought by Hwfa Williams, owner of Sandown Park Racecourse. His wife Florence was well known as a hostess, holding lavish parties at the house. He was shot and wounded in Pall Mall but survived.
    1937 – Premises of British Coal Utilization Research Association until 1946
    1946 – Acquired by Institute for Comparative Study of History, Philosophy and the Sciences (John Godolphin Bennett).
    1966 – transferred to Idries Shah
    1969 – Sold for development.
    Circa 1970 – house demolished. Grounds are now the site of modern houses and Lord Chancellor’s Walk. Coombe Conduit still stands on a small parcel immediately adjacent; apparently that parcel is currently for sale.

    My thanks to Robin Gill of the Maldens and Coombe Heritage Society for his research.

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