American Ambassador LondonAmbassador of the United States to London
Senior gardener Stephen Crisp, who has been working there for over 20 years, showed the members around. I heard Stephen talk about the first time he worked at Winfield Houses. Worked at Leeds Castle in Kent in the early 1980s when he was informed of a large London home whose owner needed someone to "take care of the gardens and arrangement the flowers".
Within a short period of space of time, it seemed as if he was in the London royal palace of the US ambassador and his spouse, then Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Price II. As Stephen Crisp came to Winfield House for the first glimpse, the rest of the area had been released.
In the last two years he has meticulously and enthusiastically built the splendid garden that enriches the building today. Stephen told us how he had taken the heavy leandii away to make the most of Nash's bouncy entryride.
There' s a subtile American design in the rhombic ivy formed over the front shed. Beside the street at the front of the building there are shade-tolerant forest types that shield the building and create sound insulation against outdoor noise. It is Stephen's belief that John Nash was probably inspired by Repton in his design of the facility in the early 1800s, and that the building and the view were placed in a pasteoral setting.
The Ha-ha wall still exists and Stephen has retained the pasteoral atmosphere with the vast lawn areas at the back of the home, unburdened by two rolling hills to provide a wide view of nature. Today it bears the name Parterre Garden. At the heart of the Parterre Garden is a small sculpture of a young Barbara Hutton, the beneficiary who bought the home and land to the American administration for $1 in the 1940s. In 1979, the sculpture was accidentally found by Ambassador Price and his wife while visiting Italy.
Walking through the Winfield Houses lawn will reveal the intricacies of Stephen's shrubbery plantation. Again and again new outlooks open new outlooks on the building. There' also a view of the miniature train and the cupola of the Central London Mosque overlooking the garden. A number of deciduous species were destroyed in the 1987 and 1990 storm and Stephen had over 100 new ones plant, mainly deciduous wood from Europe, to improve the view of the lawn from the back of the cottage.
A small lake and well, created by Morgan Wheeler, was erected on the opposite side of the ground floor garden area. Ambassador Robert Holmes Tuttle's latest installation for modern artwork is on the patio. Every year, around 6-7,000 crops are grown in Winfield House's glasshouses, half of them in connectors.
It is Stephen himself who takes care of the greenhouses and waters the crops by hands. The Stephen plant stays about an hours a week in the greenhouses, where cyclamen, primroses and Cinneraria are cultivated. They estimate that this will allow them to pay less than 2000 per year on planting the home and land.
No boreholes are drilled in the garden and Stephen heavily depends on the use of debris to keep the ground free of weeds and prevent dehydration. Wood chips from one of the city' s own nurses are turned into chips and Stephen and his crew are composting all their garden wastes. Only Stephen and two wizards maintain this beautiful haven, which, he says, is "one thing about low-maintenance technologies that know where to save, and with appropriate plantings and mulching".
The Winfield House in Regent's Park is the London Ambassador's formal home to the United States at the Court of St James. At the beginning of the 19th centrury, when the 19th centrury architecture firm John Nash founded The Regent's Park, eight large mansions were constructed (out of 50 initially planned). On the site where Winfield House now resides, his edifice, "Italian Art and a Certain Sublimity through the Hexa Stylistic Gate of the Order of Corinth", was located.
There was a Pearson's new "blind army" education center and workshop in the mansion, and the building gave its name to the association. Later, St Dunstan's Cottage was abandoned and destroyed by fire in the 1930'. Then it was bought and torn down by the American Woolworth heir Barbara Hutton, who constructed a complete new home on the site on the basis of the old one.
The name of Hutton's Winfield Home was after her grandpa Frank Winfield Woolworth. On the 12 hectare site several thousand tree were at this point implanted. But Barbara Hutton didn't last long at Winfieldhouse. The building was clad during the Second World War and used by a RAF fall protection group. At the end of the conflict, the building was in bad condition and Barbara Hutton paid the American administration the symbolic price of one US Dollard.
Finally, the building was renovated and has been the American Ambassador's formal London home since 1955. U.S. embassies in large capital cities are often a rewards for providing policy assistance and services, and many embassies were affluent business people and wives. One of the better known US envoys in London was Walter Annenberg, ambassador from 1969 to 1974, a billion-dollar tycoon who, together with his spouse Lee, spent a lot of time renovating the building and its interior and content.
Annenberg later donated a foundation to preserve the aesthetics of the building. Robert Holmes Tuttle, the present US ambassador, is a seasoned business man and former advisor to the deceased President Ronald Reagan and is closely associated with President Bush. Holmes Tuttle and his wife are collecting works of present-day and period artwork, some of which are currently exhibited in the building.
Ambassador come and ambassador go, but Stephen Crisp has been the head gardener of Winfield House since 1987.