The Late 1870s


In 1877 Sir Charles Price of Spring Grove, Richmond, sold some land to the west of Temple Sheen, adjoining Sheen Common, and here three houses were built, two being designed by Ingress Bell. One, named Longfield from the field name, was built for J. L. Ovans and was illustrated in The Architect in 1879. The journal described the site as adjacent to the grounds of Sir Henry Taylor, the poet, and referred to the architect as having built several somewhat similar houses in the neighbourhood. The other, known as Hindley Cottage, was built for Octavius Leigh Clare MP, of Hindley, Lancashire. The architect's drawing was exhibited at the Royal Academy exhibition in 1882. A contemporary report in The Architect stated that, though but little more than a cottage in size, the staircase, mantels, ceilings and wainscoting gave the interior all the character of a gentleman's residence, and externally all the moulded brickwork was hand-wrought. It concluded, "Mr George Easton of Mortlake was the builder and he has done his work well." Easton has also been mentioned as the builder of Longfield.

The third house was built by Sir Montagu Ommanney, a grandson of Sir Francis Ommanney who had figured prominently in Mortlake life earlier in the century. He followed in the tradition of Thomas Hare and Lady Taylor and designed the house himself. He called it Manaton after his great-grandmother's family. Sir Montagu started his career in the Royal Engineers and ended it as Permanent Under-Secretary for Colonial Affairs.