Southside House, Wimbledon Common
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Southside House is a William and Mary mansion that has been the home of the Pennington Mellor Munthe families for generations. Well restored, it illustrates the family history down the generations. The same family owns another historic house, Hellens, in Herefordshire.
The house stands on the south side of Wimbledon Common. In 1687 Robert Pennington came to Wimbledon from London after the death of his son from Bubonic plague.
Perhaps he wanted a fresh start, or simply thought that Wimbledon, then a village, far from the urban squalor of London, might be a healthier place to live. He called upon Dutch architects to design a house based around an already existing farmhouse on the site.
The house was enlarged in 1776, but even before then the Penningtons were welcoming some of the most important figures in high society to their rural retreat. Frederick, Prince of Wales came here in 1750, and later visitors included Admiral Nelson, with Sir William and Emma Hamilton.
The interior features a galleried hall, with 17th-century fireplace, and a wealth of 18th-century panelling. Much of the original furniture remains, including a large collection of art.
The house passed from the Penningtons to the Munthe family when Hilda Pennington married Axel Munthe, a Swedish doctor. Axel was also the author of 'The Story of St Michele', one of the 10 best-selling books of the 20th century.
The house was damaged by bombs in WWII and carefully restored by Major Malcolm Pennington Munthe. Major Munthe served in the SOE, working behind enemy lines in Scandinavia, and was wounded in the Anzio landings.
He returned from the war to recover and spent years restoring Southside and Hellens to their historic best. The house is frequently used for musical events, art workshops, and as a creative resource by art groups.
Southside house is set in magnificent gardens created as a series of garden rooms linked by pathways and water features. Classical follies are dotted throughout the garden, with wilderness areas blending with clipped hedges and half-hidden statues to create a constant sense of surprise and delight.
The easiest way to reach Southside House is by rail or tube to Wimbledon station, then bus 93 to the Rose & Crown, in Wimbledon Village, followed by a 10-minute walk along the south side of the Common. There is no parking at the house, but there is ticketed parking along the south side of the Common.
Southside House was sold to new owners in 2022 and has been closed to visitors. Please do NOT make plans to visit! This article is online purely for archival purposes.
About Southside House, Wimbledon
Address: 3-4 Woodhayes Rd, Wimbledon Common, London, Greater London, England, SW19 4RJ
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: on the south corner of Wimbledon Common. Closest rail and tube is Wimbledon Station.
Website: Southside House, Wimbledon
Photo Credit: David Anstiss, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
Nearest station: Wimbledon - 0.9 miles (straight line) - Zone: 3
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum - 0.7 miles (Museum)
Morden Hall Park - 2.1 miles (Garden)
Richmond Park - 2.8 miles (Countryside)
Wandle Industrial Museum - 2.9 miles (Museum)
All Saints Church, Fulham - 3.4 miles (Historic Church)
Fulham Palace Museum & Gardens - 3.5 miles (Historic Building)
Ham House - 4.1 miles (Historic House)
Lumley Chapel - 4.2 miles (Historic Church)
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