'a vast esteat to entertain soe many'
Demolition for gravel
In 1926 a grand old 18th century house, Orleans House, was demolished. The site once included all the land now occupied by Orleans Park School. It had been bought by a gravel merchant who dug out 200,000 tons of gravel from the site.
Only the Octagon, one wing and the stable block now survive. The Octagon and wing are elegant examples of ‘baroque’ architecture – highly decorated and ornamented.
Who lived here?
Over the years many families had lived in the house. Louis Philippe, Duc d'Orleans, later the French King lived here for 2 years in the 19th century.
New uses for the Octagon
The Octagon was used in a television version of Great Expectations by Dickens.
Today the Octagon and remaining buildings of the Orleans House Estate, including the stables have become an art gallery. The Gallery shows work by local artists and exhibitions of prints and original paintings of the area. The gardens are allowed to grow wild as a peaceful haven.