Wakefield House

Pinner Village was originally a hamlet, first recorded in 1231 as Pinnora. The name Pinn is shared with the River Pinn, which runs through the village.

The oldest part of the village lies around the fourteenth-century parish church of St. John the Baptist, at the junction of the present day Grange Gardens, The High Street and Church Lane. Wakefield House is a short distance from the church on The High Street.

Wakefield House Circa 1870Before the present house there was a building on this spot by the year 1700, though it is not certain whether there was one earlier than that. It was an ordinary cottage. From about 1730 until 1760 it was run as a tavern called the White Hart by William and Mary Bellamy. Sometime after Bellamy died in 1760 it was bought by John Bodimead, who had a brickworks at Harrow Weald. He also invested in small cottages, like this one. He rebuilt it in 1773, presumably with his own bricks, and this is the present building. He insured it with the Sun Insurance Company, whose firemark is over the front door. The house was intended to be stylish and to be let to gentlemen. It was rented by a surgeon and later by a retired clergyman.

During the 19th century it became ordinary commercial premises like most other houses in the High Street. In 1842 it was rented by a tailor named Daniel Murch; from the late 1860s until about 1900 Harry Mayo carried on here as a newsagent and stationer. Charles Shirvell, furniture dealer lived here at the start of the 20th century, and was followed by antiques dealer Isaac Maunder, though whether either sold his goods here is not known. From 1915 to 1931 Mme Dussegne, milliner and corsetiere was the occupier.

Wakefield House circa 2000In 1935 it became a family house again when an architect named Harold Greenwood rented it. His wife, Alison, was a niece of William Heath Robinson, “the gadget king”, and had lived all her life in Pinner. She purchased the house in 1952. Since Alison Greenwood moved away in the early 1980s the house has been occupied by professional firms. It enjoyed fame during the late 1990s as the location of a legal firm in the TV series “May to December”, written by local author Paul Mendelson.

 

The house is a good example of later 18th century architecture, and retains many original features, including the whole of the facade, the panelling and decoration in the western ground floor room, though the fire-grate is damaged, most of the doors and dado rails, the fire surrounds in the lower and upper eastern rooms, and probably the staircase. Harold Greenwood introduced some architectural gems which came his way, notably a grand carved door-case dating from about 1720, and a shouldered fire surround and pieces of carving of the like date, all in the rear eastern room. He probably added the figures over the eastern downstairs fireplace. The ironwork outside the front door was also installed by him.

 

Wakefield House 2015In 2015, Wakefield House became the new home of EM Collins & Co, moving from their previous offices further down the High Street.