|The old house and gardens in 1710 shortly before the new building was begun|
|Wanstead House at it's finest|
|Sir Richard Child & family at Wanstead House|
By William Hogarth, 1738
created in the extensive grounds. Naturally Catherine had many suitors whom she rejected, including the future William IV, uncle to Queen Victoria. Eventually she succumbed to the charms of William Wellesley-Pole, nephew of the Duke of Wellington. The man was a complete scoundrel and as soon as he got his hands on the huge fortune he began to throw lavish parties and spending at an alarming rate. He eventually gambled away all of the money. At the age of 34 Catherine died of either suicide or a broken heart. Her ghost is said to haunts the area nowadays.
Today the beautiful wild park is a tranquil place to stroll around the lakes or in the woods full of oak and sweet chestnut trees. There is plenty of wildlife to see including stoats, weasels and herons. A large part of Wanstead Park is now a golf course. The ruined grotto was where Robert Mitchum filmed the denouement of The Big Sleep. Although within in the London Borough of Redbridge it is officially a part of Epping Forest and is administered by the City of London Corporation. Many of the young families enjoying the bluebells and playing with their children have no idea of it's past and sad history.
|All that remains on the grounds today are the ruined Grotto and the Temple, now a Museum|