Portobello House



Portobllo House

Portobello House was one of the largest and most imposing of Mortlake houses. Its construction was the first incursion into the commonfield of Butts or Short Furlong. The house was built in 1747 for Vice-Admiral Perry Mayne and took its name from the naval action which resulted in the capture in 1739 from the Spanish of Porto Bello in the West Indies in which Mayne took part under Admiral Vernon. Mayne retired to this house on the edge of the village in grounds of about three acres with the fine gardens . He had flags and canon carved on the stone pediment over the front entrance. The entrance was in Worple Way.

After his death Mr Joseph Gandolfi resided in the house and the rate returns in 1782 record that he refused to pay on the assessment of 137 per annum and had it reduced to 120. In the next century Lady Constantia Mostyn lived here from 1842 to1849. She was a Roman Catholic and as at that time there was no nearby church to attend she fitted up a hayloft as a place of worship. To this small chapel came many of the Irish market garden workers. The Religious Census for Sunday 30 March 1851 lists that in the hayloft the attendance that day was 150 in the morning and 146 in the evening. It is a direct result of this need that St. Mary Magdalene's Church was built in Worple Way in 1852.

The illustration depicts the house about ten years before it was demolished in 1893. Vernon and Howgate Roads were laid out on the grounds in 1898.