The earliest papers we have found about Linden House, Romsey are leases and mortgages in the early 1700’s from a gentleman, Mr Fitzgerald, who lived in London. The earliest plan shows a small rectangular house at the corner of The Hundred and Linden Road with a formal garden along the Hundred. The rest of the garden was a field and there were several small cottages in the orchard along Linden Road. It was obviously not the permanent dwelling of said Fitzgerald, but we gather, from history discovered by his descendants, who live in the Antipodes, that Beauchamp House was built by the family within the estate, as a school for his children.
Sometime during the 19th century the house was extended along Linden Road, obliterating an arch that had allowed a carriage-way through into the garden between the present dining room and kitchen. The arch can be seen in the wall on the garden side. The Victorian extension provided two corridors to allow passage from the front to the back of the house without going from room to room. Around about this time it became a doctor’s house with small waiting and consulting rooms where the present pantry and inner pantry were situated. (See closed up door on Linden Road aspect) It was a two storey extension with maids’ bedrooms and a bathroom built upstairs. There was a fireplace in the consulting room with a chimney that went up the outside of the bathroom and so there was an internal window opening into the stairwell to provide borrowed light in this room. When a later single story extension was built providing another consulting and waiting room, the chimney was removed and the window put into the bathroom outside wall and the rooms below returned to the family for their use.
In 1926, when Dr Bartlett retired from the practice, Dr George Johnson became the senior partner, and together with his wife Madeline and their eldest son Peter, aged six, they moved into Linden House. Michael and Alan, the two younger sons were born in the house.
The cottage had, by that time, been constructed from the stable/coach house and was the home of the pharmacist who worked in the practice. The dispensary, for patients who did not live within the town, was the first room past the side door along Linden Road.
After the Second World War when Peter was demobbed he married his fiancé, Katherine Broadfoot and took up residence in the cottage and in the “little” consulting room, his father working from the library to the west of the front door. Hence the practice became :- Drs Johnson, Lalonde, Knight and Johnson. When Michael qualified as a Doctor he joined a practice in Stockbridge.
Eventually, with the growth of Peter’s family and Alan following his brothers, to study medicine at Middlesex Hospital, there were only two inhabitants of the big house and six in the cottage. So they did a swap. After Alan had finished his National Service, Dr Johnson senior retired at the age of seventy and Dr Peter moved into the big consulting room and Dr Alan took over the little one.
In 1964 the partners decided that they would like to all be in one place instead of scattered about the town in the separate surgeries in their houses and so a purpose built surgery was constructed in the vegetable garden at the far end of the garden that fronts Alma Road. Dr’s Peter and Alan moved out of Linden House and the family moved into the vacated rooms.
Norman and Gillie Oldmeadow have bought Linden House from the executors of Dr Peter’s estate and have spent two years obtaining planning permission to repair and extend the house and cottage. The Architect’s brief was to make the house the same level on each floor as there had been several steps down to the Victorian extension along Linden Road. We also wanted the back door not to enter straight into the kitchen and to be able to go into the garden from the kitchen.
The cottage has an extension which provides a bigger kitchen and utility room with a new bedroom and bathroom above and a downstairs cloakroom and new front door at the other end of the house. The garden wall was only one brick deep and so we have put insulating plaster on it to improve the heat retention. Most of the plaster in the cottage has needed to be replaced as it came away with the wallpaper.
We have not discovered any exciting archaeological artefacts but the Conservation officer has been interested to keep an eye on our progress.
This site was last updated 03/04/06