St. Mary's Lodge

St Mary's Lodge. Photograph by Chris Hawkins 2022 


St Mary’s Lodge is a cottage orné located in the north-west corner of the park. It was built shortly after 1808 to designs by John Nash and replaced an older lodge that was in considerable disrepair.

The first occupant of the lodge was the park under-keeper, Thomas Stikeman, a former page to Caroline of Brunswick, who was the Park Ranger. She had ordered the construction of the new lodge following years of complaints about the state of the previous building. 

The cottage orné style was popular at the time and was meant to evoke a sense of rustic charm. The building is small, with a white stucco exterior (a form of rendering), hexagonal frontage, feature windows and a slate roof with broad eaves. The lodge was designed as a focal point at the bottom of The Avenue. 

A series of changes in the nineteenth century affecting the north-west corner of the park impacted the lodge and the surrounding area. The conversion of the Queen’s House into a school between 1807 and 1811 moved the boundary of the park further south. A new church, called St. Mary’s, was completed in 1825 on some of this newly obtained land, standing where the statue of King William is today. By 1830, King William Street had become the main northern entrance to the park, with wrought iron gates installed. This gate was called St. Mary’s Gate after the church, and The Avenue was re-routed with a bend, diverting it past the lodge. 

By the end of the nineteenth century, Nevada Street had been developed, and the lodge, now called St. Mary’s Lodge, had a music hall towering behind it. The lodge continued to be used as offices and accommodation for the park under-keepers until 1994 when it became a café called ‘The White House Café’.