Every month CabbieBlog hopes to show you a little gem of a building that you might have passed without noticing, in the past they have ranged from a modernist car park; a penguin pool; to a Hanoverian gatehouse.
Called a castle, looks like a folly but is a memorial Severndroog Castle was built in 1784 by the widow of William James of the East India Company who died suddenly at his daughter’s wedding.
[F]rom the viewing platform this 60-foot high Grade II Listed building has 360° views across seven counties during winter when the trees are devoid of leaves. Its curious name derives from the island fortress of Severn Droog in India; it was here that the late Commodore Sir William destroyed a fleet of defending the stronghold of ‘pirates’ holed up in the island.
The Sevendroog Castle Building Preservation Trust has restored the castle, which fell into disrepair in the 1980s, with a £595,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The castle was never lived in by Lady James who resided at Park View Place, Eltham but could see the castle from her window. She set it up as a museum to her late husband, crammed with personal objects: his sword and models of his ships.
Sir William might have rid the Indian Ocean of pirates but before its restoration a pirate radio station attempted to put their antenna on the roof. With views across London to Bedfordshire it was used as a lookout tower during the Second World War.
Although it is 60-foot high it is incredibly well hidden during summer by the surrounding trees which make it a worthy inclusion in ‘Little Gems’.
Only 10 visitors are allowed admission at any one time but the tea room on the ground floor gives you a reason to await your turn as you clutch your timed ticket. At the top trees prevent a 360° panorama but it has unrestricted views of the City of London and the East End.
Situated in Oxlease Woods Severndroog Castle is open 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. The Castlewood Tea Room is open throughout the week apart from Mondays.
Main Photo: View from Severndroog Castle North-ish towards the Dome, the Thames and the Olympic Stadium (CC BY-NC_ND 2.0) from one of the best London bloggers Diamond Geezer. Sevendroog Castle by Sketches by Boz