Stevenage Road (Fulham)

Jennifer Ayto

Edward Bulwer Lytton* of Knebworth House appears to have kept most of the letters he received.  There is certainly an impressive collection at HALS.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton

There are two from James Garrod who was managing another property owned by Lytton – Craven Cottage in Fulham.

The first, dated 29 August 1839, (HALS/ D/Ek C23/25/1) states that:   I have carefully examined your Cottage and premises at Fulham and am sorry to have to communicate that I find them in a very defective state of repair.  He identified – those repairs that I considered absolutely important for the security and preservation of the premises:

Thatching and making good timbers in roof

Cracks and defects in the walls

Repair and paint external woodwork

Clean the drains and gutters

Repair roofs and gutters in outbuildings 

He reported  that he attended that morning with builder in whom he had every confidence.

The tale of woe continued with the second letter dated 19 October 1839, (HALS/D/Ek C23/25/2).

Having removed the ivy he found that the whole of that end of the building ought to be taken down and noted that he was fearful that he would find several points of the building in a similar state.  The verandah had been constructed with rough branches of  poplar and willows, very unfit woods which will lead to using new timbers.

Some parts of the gutters  were so strangely out of place one would imagine they had been laid so mischievously.

On the plus side, I am pleased to inform you the Thatcher appears to be doing his work very well and making rapid progress   … he has asked for 40 or 50 pounds  but I put off the advance to next Saturday as I did not consider the work sufficiently forwards. 

There is another letter at HALS dated 27 August 1859  (HALS/D/Ek C23/79 ) from  J Hoile.  He was responding to a complaint from Lytton that he had to pay two men for a trifling job.  Hoile stated that the butler had ordered a new water butt and removal of an old one.  He had  brought a plumber to lay the supply to the pantry and a cooper to pitch the inside of an old one.

Hoile also commented that:

Your butler tells my workman that I have done a great quantity of work for you that I have never given him anything.  My prices will not admit feeing servants.

Lytton would appear to be living there in 1841.  Letters from his  publishers in USA, Harper and Brothers, New York, dated 1841 and 1842  were addressed to him at Craven Cottage.  There is also another from an elderly lady, Catherine Hutton, dated 12 May 1841, thanking him for his invitation to your “ pretty little place on the banks of the Thames” but she was now confined to her bedroom.

Letter to Edward Bulwer Lytton from his American publishers

Craven Cottage was built in 1780 by Baron Craven.  It was destroyed by fire in 1888 and replaced by a football stadium.

*Edward was baptised Edward George Lytton Bulwer.  On his mother’s death, in 1844, he fulfilled her wishes and took her name becoming Edward Bulwer Lytton.

This page was added on 19/07/2023.

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