|HCC Site ID:||1816||Parish:||Gosport|
|Designations:||House LB II||Area:|
|Access:||Access to Hotel||Ownership:||Private commercial|
Location and Site
Alverbank Hotel is bounded to the North and West by Stanley Park. The Hotel’s very reduced grounds still look down on Stokes Bay to the South. The soil is loam and clay.
Alver House was built for the Rt Hon. John Wilson Croker (1780-1857) around 1840. Croker was persuaded by his friend, Alexander Baring, first Lord Ashburton, to acquire the adjacent plot to his own in Alverstoke, as a summer residence. The house is shown on the Tithe map, 1840, together with the much larger plot of Bay House of Lord Ashburton. It is shown with a track running south to Stokes Bay, giving access to the beach. The Census, 1851, notes a retired Lt Gen, Henry Bunbury living in the house with a considerable staff. After the death of Croker in 1857, the 14 year old Prince Alfred Ernest, the future Duke of Edinburgh, stayed at Alver House for a year from October 1857-58 while he was pursuing naval studies. He was placed under the care of the Reverend W R Jolly of Alver Bank (1/8/1900 report of the life of Prince Alfred). His tutor whilst studying was Lieutenant Cowell.
The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent Supplement. (Sheffield, England), Saturday, November 28, 1857 reported that Prince Alfred was sojourning at an establishment named Alver Bank, a small but ample mansion. The Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle also reported that Queen Victoria proposed to buy Alver House and build a pier to run out opposite the residence for the use of the royal family for embarking from Osborne (19/12/1857). However, no sale took place though Victoria did visit Alfred there. Alfred passed his examination to the Naval Service in September 1858 and left Alver House soon after. White’s Directory (1859) noted Lord Dumfermline in residence. The Times, 19/01/1860, referred to a plateau next to Lord Ashburton’s plot on which stands Alver Bank, the late residence of His Royal Highness Prince Alfred. Birth notices in the Times, 1861 note the wife of an Edward Radcliffe of Alver House giving birth to a daughter and in 1863, the wife of Captain Commerell is also noted as giving birth to a daughter. There is reference to damage to the outer line of earthworks at Fort Gomer by pile-driving in front of Alverbank.
The 1st ed OS map, 25”, 1867,shows what appears to be an orchard in a square area, possibly walled to the North of the house and a long walled garden to the north-east. The gardens are bounded by trees but land further to the north was also part of the estate. In 1869, John Edward Commerell was recorded in the London Gazette as living at Alver Bank.
The 2nd and 3rd eds of the OS maps, 1898 and 1909 remain much the same as the 1st ed, though glasshouses in the walled garden are noted. A path northwards leading beyond the garden boundary towards what is now Western Lane, has appeared. The ‘orchard’ area of the 1st ed OS map, no longer appears to contain trees but is still marked as a square, separate part of the gardens. A row of trees between the house and the boundary trees to the South is shown on this edition as well as on subsequent editions of the OS maps. By the 3rd ed OS map, the house is noted as Alverbank.
Little more seems to be recorded of owners until 1907 when Edward Darell and Mrs Darell-Blount lived there. The house was sold in 1912 to Winifred Alured Comyn Platt, as part of a marriage settlement between Platt and Louisa Maria Atherley. The Platt family built an extension to the house (dated 1912 still seen on a plaque above the entrance doorway), though they did not move there until 1915 to avoid bombing raids. They returned to London in 1917 and let the house to Lt R Smith Barry of the School of Special Flying who used it as a home and an Officers’ Mess.
By the 4th edition OS map, 1932-33, the square area has been enlarged westwards to the walled garden and includes two glasshouses. Western Lane has now been created and the footpath from Alverbank reaches the road.
In 1947 Gosport Borough Council made an offer of £7500 for the house now called Alverbank with an accompanying 7.5 acres of park land including the walled garden and adjoining the newly created Stanley Park. As the offer was refused, a compulsory purchase order was made and the site became the property of Gosport Borough Council. 7 ½ acres of Alverbank land were added to Stanley Park, which had been created from the gift of 17 acres of Bay House parkland donated by Colonel Sloane-Stanley.
There followed a history of leases on Alverbank which included spells as a guesthouse and small restaurant. In the late 20th century the house became Alverbank Hotel.
Alverbank house is Gr II listed. Hampshire County Council’s historic buildings record notes that there are remnants of 18th and 19th century military defences in the grounds. The land falls away towards Stokes Bay and the original terrace wall which overlooks a moat with corner abutments can apparently still be seen. Having lost the walled garden and 7 ½ acres of its land in 1947, the gardens are no longer extensive.
The Summer residence of John Croker, built around 1840 overlooking Stokes Bay with gardens bounded by trees and a walled garden. Land and the walled garden became part of Stanley Park in the 1940s. The remaining grounds and Gr II listed house, are now a hotel.
HGT Research update: December 2013
Research by HGT, 1996
Times-on-Line, various dates 19th century
Hants Telegraph 19th century British Newspapers on-line, various dates
Gosport Borough Council information on Alverbank
Tithe map and apportionment, 1840 and 1841 – Hampshire Record Office
Gosport’s Historic Houses, http://www.fortgilkicker.uk/Alverbank
Photographs from 1960s-1996, Hampshire Gardens Trust