Ranger's House


 Chesterfield House 1884, Anthony de Bree. Museum of London


Ranger’s House was built around 1720 and took several names, including Chesterfield House, before becoming the official residence of the Ranger of Greenwich Park in 1815. The back of Ranger’s House overlooks the Rose Garden. 

The strip of land it is on was once part of the park but was secretively developed by Andrew Snape around 1670 after Charles II lost interest in Greenwich. In 1722, Vice-Admiral Francis Hosier rebuilt Snape’s original house in the Palladian style, and by 1748, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield had added the two rounded side wings to create the house we see today. He also planted the tree-lined Chesterfield Walk that leads towards Blackheath and gained permission to enclose part of the park for his private use. 

The Duchess of Brunswick occupied the house from 1806. Her daughter, the Princess of Wales, lived next door in Montagu House and was Park Ranger. Together they enclosed the entire south-west corner of the park as a private garden called the Ranger’s Field. When the Princess of Wales left England with her mother in 1814, Montagu House was demolished, and Ranger’s House adopted its land. 

The new Park Ranger, Queen Victoria’s aunt, Princess Sophia Matilda, occupied Ranger’s House in 1815. She was very popular with the local people, and when she died in 1844, her state funeral procession starting from Ranger’s House was very well attended. 

The role of Park Ranger was abolished in 1896, Ranger’s House was put up for sale and its private garden returned to Greenwich Park. Ranger’s House was bought by the London County Council in 1900 and was used as a teahouse, a conference centre and changing rooms for the nearby tennis courts. Since 1986 it has been in the care of English Heritage.