Stoke Newington Church Street, London, N16. Photo © Roger Dean 2013
Reliques of old London suburbs north of the Thames – H.B. Wheatley, 1898:
GROVE HALL LUNATIC ASYLUM, BOW
The visitor to this interesting old house has a surprise in store for him. He passes out of the Bow Road into Fairfield Road, and, after walking by some small suburban houses, he comes to a high wall on the right-hand side of the road. He rings the bell and is admitted at the gate. He then sees a large lawn and garden with shady trees, and in the far distance the imposing outline of Grove Hall.
When he comes up to the front, he finds a handsome specimen of a late seventeenth-century house, whose wings have been added in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries.
On entering the house he comes into a hall which fills the whole depth of the building, and he finds that the original front was that which […] looks upon the river Lea. This front is certainly superior to the other in architectural effect.
Within there is a fine old wooden staircase, but this has been placed at the side of the house, and is not made a feature of the interior.
There is much good oak carving and handsome mantelpieces in the different rooms, but the oak has been thickly painted over and grained in imitation of oak. The oak panelling has also been spoiled by having wall-paper pasted over it.
This is a fine specimen of a merchant’s mansion, when Bow was a highly appreciated residential neighbourhood.
[ Grove Hall was owned and established as a private ‘lunatic asylum’ by the Byas family somewhere around 1820. In my, admittedly limited, research into Grove Hall it appears that the building was still standing in 1898 but around 1906 the house and it’s notably planted park-like gardens were purchased for the public. In 1909 they were opened as a public park, presumably minus the fine Grove Hall itself. The aptly named Grove Hall Park remains to this day. R.D.]