Sunday, 11 March 2018

Greville MacDonald, Wildwood and Electoral Rolls

Greville MacDonald moved to Haslemere upon retirement and lived in Wildwood, a house on Weydown Road, which still bears this name today.  However, having looked at the electoral register for Greville MacDonald, it's interesting to see that before moving to Haslemere, Greville was living in a house also called Wildwood, on North End, Hampstead, London.

Tooley's Farm, Hampstead Heath,
also known as Wildwood
old postcard
This property was on what was previously called Wyldes Farm, which was divided in 1903 into 3 farms, one of which was called "Tooley's or Wildwood" (Hampstead Heath net).  The property seems to suit Greville's literary tastes.  It has a blue plaque to the artist John Linnell and to William Blake.  MacDonald greatly admired Blake and wrote various articles on him such as "William Blake: His Critics" (vol. 2, p558), "William Blake: His Masters" (vol. 2, p626) and "William Blake: The Practical Idealist" (vol.5, p98) in The Vineyard.  The City of London writes here that: "Wyldes soon became the destination of eminent people. In the earlier part of the 19th Century several well-known artists of the day either stayed at or visited Wyldes, including: 

  • John Linnell
  • William Henry Hunt
  • William Collins (whose son Wilkie, the novelist, used to play in the garden when a child)
  • George Romney
  • John Constable
  • William Blake"
from Wyldes Farm, Hampstead

It appears that Greville must have had some happy association with the name 'Wildwood' and transferred it from Hampstead to Haslemere.  

Looking at Greville's other addresses on the electoral roll:

Hollywood House, Kingstonhill

  • From 1889 Greville is registered at 47 (or sometimes 49) Queen Anne Street, Marylebone.  
  • In 1892 Greville moved to nearby 85 Harley Street.  
  • In 1910 Greville is still registered at 85 Harley Street, but is noted as living at Holmwood, Kingstonhill  This house might be what is now called Holmwood House, and was previously owned by Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones, as reported in The Daily Mail here.
  • Between 1906-1914 Greville is registered as a qualifying property St George's Cottage, Haslemere
  • In 1915 Greville is recorded at Wildwood, North End, Hampstead
  • In 1920 and 1921 MacDonald is registered at 17 Duke Street, the Peasant Arts Society HQ, but is noted as "abode, Wildwood, Haslemere".

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