The estate that the coach house is situated on was first documented in 932 when King Athelstan gifted it to Alfred, an Anglo-Saxon thegn. The coach house used to be located inside a large deer park just outside of Southampton. Records show that the park has existed since 1329 and deer were living on the site since 1334. The park was owned by the Abbot of Hythe but after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII this land was transferred to the greatest landowner of Hampshire at the time, Sir Thomas Wriothesley. A fire broke out and destroyed the farm buildings on the estate in 1874. The coach house and stables were then converted into housing.
A Second Fire
Firefighters were called to the coach house at 1.15 am in August 2020 after a fire broke out. The fire was finally extinguished by 10.30 the same morning. The derelict building could not be saved by the crews from 15 Hampshire stations. The damage to the three storey building was extensive. A man was arrested for arson in connection with the fire. Thankfully, nobody was injured.
We didn’t know much about this explore before heading inside. The site had been spotted from a main road and was clearly fire damaged. The house is located on a live building site with new housing being built so we visited under the cover of darkness once the builders had gone home. As it is a live building site there were a number of CCTV cameras around entrances and main pathway.
There was not a lot that remained of this historic building due to the blaze. Unlike similar buildings we have explored there were no possessions left behind to tell the story of those who once lived within the walls. Also the fire damage made this explore trickier. Not only did we have to take extra care when walking around the site due to structural damage but our torches beamed through the open roof giving our position away to any neighbours. We were efficient in our explore for this reason. We entered through the front of the house which was fairly simple – there was no wall in this section.
The upper floors of the house were completely destroyed and the flooring hadn’t survived but one member of group risked heading up the stairs to take some photos. Unsurprisingly, the floor that remained was very unstable and so they didn’t spend too long upstairs. The back part of the house had fared slightly better than the front. In this section we found the old-fashioned oven that had partly melted and burnt but remained in tact. The tiles behind it were blackened but still whole and attached to the wall. In the lean to a shelving unit had managed to survive and the net curtains were still attached to the windows. This part of the house gave us the most privacy along with the curtains on the windows, the glass roof had survived.
A planning application was submitted in 2019 to convert the coach house into retirement accommodation. The proposal was that the building was going to remain unchanged in outside appearance. This application was granted in September 2020, a month after the devastating fire. The development company have not announced an update on their plans for the building so who knows what the future holds for this historic place.
Last Updated on 2 May 2022 by Michael