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Ravenscourt Park

The origins of Ravenscourt Park lie in the medieval manor and estate of Palingswick (or Paddenswick) Manor, located on the site and first recorded in the 12th century.The historic name still exists today in the name of Paddenswick Road, which runs along the northeast boundary of the park.

In 1887, representatives of the Scott family sold the estate to a developer for building purposes, to be covered, as rumour had it, with working class dwellings.

Efforts were at once made to prevent the disaster, on the one hand by an attempt to repurchase the property by public subscription and on the other by an appeal for the necessary funds to the Metropolitan Board of Works.

Both these efforts failed and largely owing to the price demanded by the new freeholder, said to be well over £70,000, for his acquisition.

Fortunately, however, it happened that each of the ground-leases of the row of detached and semi-detached residences called Ravenscourt Park, extending southwards from No. 23 (then occupied by Mr Ebenezer Stanley Burchett, as owner of the unexpired term of the ground-lease) and including the late Mr. Frank Dethbridge’s picturesque house called “The Hermitage”, (also held on a ground-lease), contained a proviso giving the ground-tenants the right to forbid any building on the width of the park, opposite their frontages, extending almost halfway to the fine avenue of elms running north and south on the eastern side of the estate.

The new freeholder immediately took discreet steps to remove this obstacle to the complete building over of the property, by buying out, for small sums of cash down, the rights of prohibition attaching to the several ground-leases and in two or three cases ground-tenants were tempted into waiving their rights to block any building opposite their respective frontages, in return for a certain money payment.

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