Even spending time behind the wheel (how I hate those roundabouts!), I could not locate Suttons, the Smith estate which papa Charles Smith purchased (reportedly, for £15,725) in 1787. It was sold out of the family in the 1950s.
A healthcare facility at the time of its closure in early 2002, the building and its seven acres was put up for auction. The auction guide estimated a selling price in excess of £1.6 million and described the property as:
‘a substantial detached Grade II listed former care home… Second floor: 8 rooms (all with bathroom/shower facilities), Mezzanine floor: 3 rooms… First floor: 11 rooms… Ground floor: 14 rooms, kitchen…, Basement: Boiler room, games room, sauna, kitchen, lockers, shower/WC. … for refurbishment and conversion back to residential use – 10 flats’.
Five of those ten flats are now [July 2008] up for sale, through Savills in Chelmsford (Essex); asking prices begin at £375,000. If only the exchange rate was two pounds to one dollar (instead of the other way ’round)…
For those of you with a heavy purse, here’s an exterior shot (which can be found at www.savills.co.uk).
As a side note of interest, in the 1851 census, Mary’s brother Robert Gosling has listed the following household staff at his country estate Botleys (near Chertsey, Surrey):
a Swiss governess
two lady’s maids
two nurses [they did have many, many children]
Twenty-four staff; and some must have lived out or not been home that night (for instance: there’s an underbutler, but no butler? kitchen maids but no scullery maid, and – especially – no cook? no gardener and his staff?). Ten years later and the family are resident at No. 5 Portland Place; the head count that night: “only” 17. Hmmm… gotta watch some old episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs, I think.