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Thursday, 27 November 2014
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The Golden Age Orleans House
'a vast esteat to entertain soe many' Date: 1710
The Octagon, designed by James Gibbs for Mr Secretary Johnston in about 1718
 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.
the Octagon and stable block have become our local art gallery
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.
Things to do
  • Visit Orleans Gallery and the current exhibition. Explore the wild gardens – there may be sculptures among the trees.
  • Tillemans painting, of the river at Twickenham, is held in the collection of original paintings at Orleans Gallery. It is not always on display, but you can view it with descriptions of the scene.
Read more about Orleans House (for older children and adults).

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