|HCC Site ID.||1631||Parish:||Warsash|
|Designations:||SSSI (part)||Area:||c130 acres mid C19; 45 acres early C20|
Location and Site
Warsash House (Passage House) once stood on land on the northern edge of Warsash village, on high ground overlooking the mouth of the Hamble River. This would have given lovely views with the gardens sloping down towards the river edge and Hamble village opposite. The house main entrance carriage drives leading to the house were to the east on Brook Lane.
The ownership of Passage House dates from the mid 18th century when it was probably a farm house. By the early eighteen hundreds, Captain Edward Foote RN had purchased the house and also bought several other properties to add to the estate. Ten years later, Cochrane Johnson was the owner and it is likely that he had the pigeon house constructed. Within a few years the property and estate had been sold to Captain Archibald Swinton, an employee of the East India Company, who greatly improved the house and purchased 9 acres of foreshore. By this time it was a substantial estate of around 130 acres. In the mid-late 19th century, major changes were carried out under the ownership of Edward Sartoris, a wealthy French banker. Sir Frederick Leighton redesigned the house and garden. The drawing room opened out onto an Italian garden with a Florentine font and, nearby, there was a sunken rose garden. The house was renamed Warsash House. Many trees were planted in the surrounding parkland. A model farm was also constructed during his occupancy. Before the turn of the century, George Shenley, a wealthy American, made further improvements to the estate, including building a large number of cottages for estate workers, the water/clock tower, and a dairy near the farm. The demise of the estate began during the 1st world war, when it was bought by a local solicitor, who sold many of the houses and cottages, reducing the estate to 45 acres. There were two more owners before the house and grounds were sold to a property developer in 1934. Three years later the house was demolished. The water tower and stables were sold separately and the latter converted into a garage (Warsash Heritage Notes; Woodford 2006; Woodford 2009).
The house no longer exists. However, the water tower and some of the stable block, once a car sales show room, remain, as do some of the boundary walls on Shore Road. The pigeon house is now used as a garage and stands at the entrance of a house in the upmarket housing estate built within the original park land. Some of the foreshore that was once part of the estate is now a Conservation Area.
Summary and significance
The redesign of the mid-late 19th century substantial house, park and garden overlooking the River Hamble, is attributed to Sir Frederick Leighton. All that remains is the imprint on the shape of the housing development that ensued, the water tower, pigeon house and a few boundary walls.
HGT research: July 2016
Warsash Heritage Museum Notes consulted at the Heritage Museum.
Woodford, Bryan, 2006 Warsash and the Hamble River, A History & Guide published by Warsash Heritage Museum
Woodford, Bryan, 2009 Images Warsash and the Hamble River published by Warsash Heritage Museum