The Music Room at Hatchlands Park

Piano in the Music Room at Hatchlands Park, Surrey. Piano in the Music Room at Hatchlands Park, Surrey.

Our organ at Hatchlands Park is situated, appropriately, in the Music Room. One of Lord Rendel’s major additions, the Music Room, built in 1903, was created because Rendel wanted ‘to add to Hatchlands a music room with an organ in it’. The room was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, and the organ built and installed by J.W. Walker and Sons.

The physical structure of Hatchlands that you see today is largely down to Lord Rendel, including the creation of the Music Room. Rendel bought Hatchlands in 1888 and moved here with his family. Ever tactful and charming, Lady Rendel gave her first impressions of Hatchlands in her diary, ‘the house is perhaps the ugliest ever seen but with much capability.’ Perhaps it was her influence that led him to make so many architectural changes to the house.

The room was built on the site of an old courtyard, which used to be screened off from the garden with a high wall. The new room was designed in an architectural style often described as ‘Wrenaisssance’ or Edwardian Baroque, heavily influenced by the work of Christopher Wren. 

The ‘Wrenaisssance’ exterior of the early 20th century Music Room
The exterior of the Music Room at Hatchlands Park, Surrey
The ‘Wrenaisssance’ exterior of the early 20th century Music Room

Reginald Blomfield was not a fan of Robert Adam, the architect responsible for the rest of Hatchlands’ interiors. He considered Adam’s work ‘though skillful, was essentially decadent’. He felt that the regrettable fact that Hatchlands was built as early as 1760 should not be allowed to hamper him in pointing out a better way. A sometimes-overlooked fact about Blomfield, is that he was responsible for the design of electricity pylons that we see, and ignore, right across the country. 

The room today is still dominated by the organ and is decorated with prints showing a wide range of different composers collected by tenant, Alec Cobbe. Mr Cobbe wanted to ‘create a sort of Valhalla of musical heroes to compliment the collection of instruments.’ The frames were specially made as a matching set by John Davies of Norfolk. You can also find a portrait of J.S. Bach by Alec Cobbe, after an original by Haussmann, hanging in the room.