Richmond Lodge was a large, conspicuous but short-lived villa residence on the edge of the Marsh, bounded on the west by Threefield Lane and on the south by Bridge Road (later Bernard Street). It first appears in St Mary's rate books as a new build in July 1831. It was demolished in the autumn/early winter of 1854. Rated at £35 per annum, the house was four storeys high, had 20 rooms and a large bow frontage on the south-eastern aspect. It stood in large, wooded and secluded grounds, with a sun dial at the intersection of its main drives. There was a double set of stabling at the rear. Richmond Lodge was one of the first products of the 1820s rackrenting by Queen's College, Oxford of its Southampton property. The process is summarized in J M Kaye, A God's House miscellany, 1984. Beneficial leases of closes and gardens in St Mary's parish which had potential for development were allowed to expire. The lands were divided up and let on building leases.

The final beneficial lease on Baker's Close (bounded by Marsh Lane, Terminus Terrace, Bridge Road and Threefield Lane) expired in 1823. Twelve building lots were subsequently auctioned on 31 July 1823 at the Star Inn: on condition that only one dwelling house was to be built per lot. The plot on which Richmond Lodge was later to be erected was sold on a 40-year lease to Daniel Brooks. He was in an ideal position to exploit the sale. A builder and architect, he had from c.1820 been surveyor to the Southampton estates of Queen's College, Oxford. Part of his remit was to value those tenements which fell for renewal. Furthermore, the auctioneer, Charles Brooks, was a younger brother.
Richmond Lodge was the sole villa to be built on the auctioned land. It soon became a liability: the wrong house in the wrong location. Its value as a villa residence greatly deteriorated when railroad and docks were built between the house and Southampton Water. The development of the area immediately to the south by George Laishley for close-knit terraced housing was more in harmony with the new environment. Determined efforts were made before the annual licensing meetings in August 1841 and August 1842 to obtain permission to convert the property into a first-class hotel.

The petitioning solicitor (Thomas Henry Croft Moody) - displaying "the abilities of the descriptive which would have excited the envy of Mr George Robins [the flamboyant London auctioneer]" - argued its convenience to travellers, the extent and seclusion of its grounds and the fact that it was capable of almost limitless extension. Both appeals failed. The desperation of the appeals may be due to pressing personal traumas. Daniel Brooks's only son - John Terry Brooks - had spent a large part of 1840 and 1841 in Southampton's debtors' gaol following his failure to pay £300 damages owed to Captain James Goodridge following conviction for the seduction of his youngest daughter.

This ill-founded allegiance between the two teenagers was an untoward consequence of the building of Richmond Lodge: the balcony of the Goodridge's house on Winchester Terrace overlooked the workshops behind Richmond Lodge in which John Terry often worked.
Daniel Brooks continued to live in Richmond Lodge until his death in May 1854. By December 1854 the house had gone. It was replaced by three bow-fronted terraced houses in continuation of Richmond Place.

Richmond Lodge and Richmond Place, 1844

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Detail from a drawing of Southampton in 1844 showing Richmond Lodge and Richmond Place in the centre left. From the Illustrated London News, July 20 1844.

see also

Further reading:
Southampton’s Historic Buildings, by R. J. Coles, p27. (HS/k)


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