Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


Ordnance survey map of BAYFORDBURY
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Hertfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 31536 10448



1/27 Bayfordbury 20.10.52


Country house. 1759-62 for Sir William Baker a rich London merchant, altered to present appearance 1809-12 for William Baker II MP to designs by Francis Aldhouse, leased to Dr. Barnado's after death of Admiral Sir Lewis Clinton-Baker in 1940, sold to John Innes Horticultural Institute 1945, bought by Hertfordshire County Council 1967 and used by Hatfield Polytechnic, for sale in 1985. Originally red brick house and 2 separate service pavillions, gaps infilled 1809-12 and house entirely faced in stucco (Parker's cement). Portland stone porticos and string courses. Low pitched hipped slate roofs in graduated courses hidden by parapets. Upper slope of Mansard roof on each pavillion in copper. Very long Neo-Classical house set in parkland on the brow of a hill, facing N. 7 windows wide centre part of 2-storeys basement and attics is the original house. Symmetrical lofty single-storey links, 4 windows wide, raised on basements, project slightly to front and rear, and are higher than the 2-storeys, 5 windows wide pavillions, set back at each end from N front. Double-pile plan to centre with a room in each corner, and central projection from entrance hall to stair hall (axial passages going off to E and W) and large saloon with canted projection on S front echoed in its N wall. Service pavillions originally stables (W) and kitchens etc (E). Alterations of c.1812 infilled the W link with the Great Library facing S, 2 small rooms facing N, and an arcaded and top lit domed passage between. Similar passage in E link with new Dining Room facing S designed to hang the Kit Kat Club portraits (now in National Portrait Gallery, London) in 2 rows. 2 small rooms to N front. The W stable pavillion was appropriated to domestic use and a new stable block built some way to W (q.v.). Architecturally the transformation is striking. Symmetrical N front with alternating projection and recession of parts. 7 windows middle block has its slight 3-windows central projection repeated in the parapet or high blocking course pierced by 3 windows in wide segmental recesses. Lower, 5 windows end pavillions are set back with slight 3 windows central projection with triangular pediment and cupola to each (at E end a bell in cupola and clockface in pediment: at W a wind-vane with wind-dial in pediment). The added infill blocks stepping up to centre each project a little to front of main house, continue its base, and have a cornice level continuing that of the outer pavillions which is also continued across the main house at 1st floor level and breaking forward as a deep single-storey, pedimented, tetrastyle Greek Doric portico, approached by 10 steps, with fluted columns and paired columns flanking the centre. Echoing this the infill blocks have tripartite fronts in elongated triumphal arch motif, the centre a tetrastyle Greek Doric screen in antis with wide segmental opening above (with bust) and a central round-headed niche in a recessed wall, flanked by windows. The outer elements are wide niches with windows at the back. Recessed sash windows, with square heads, and 6/6 panes generally, but 3/3 in end pavillions. The garden front simpler with same wide segmental recesses at attic level in main house echoed in wide segmental shallow recess to centre of each 3-windows infill block. Segmental full height bay to middle of main house and single-storey hexastyle Ionic portico with central flight of 8 steps, and upper level extended by railed balcony on short iron columns along front of Great Library and Dining Room, ending in swept stairs down to garden. Unemphasised rear of each pavillion. Garden front extended by colonnaded conservatory to E and blind colonnading of wall to service yard at W. Original C18 interiors survive in entrance hall (vigorous plaster ceiling and carved stone chimneypiece in baroque taste, and diagonal chequered black and white marble floor) and small NE room (deep coved ceiling with vigorous plasterwork). Heavy mahogany doors general in main house, with egg-and-dart carved enrichment around 6 fielded panels. Simpler moulded panelled doors in 1812 work. Cantilevered wooden semi-circular staircase with ironwork balustrade rising in toplit, domed, cylindrical shaft to upper landing. Fixed at W end of saloon a large pietra dura table with foliate gilt supports and mirror below. Enriched plaster cornices and moulded architraves skirtings and dados. Polished hardwood plank floors. Egyptian style chimneypiece in red granite for Great Library presented to William Baker II by Robert Fagan British Consul in Palermo after his daughter married Baker's son. Displayed wings motif on crosspiece and opening flanked by 2 standing male ancient Egyptians acting as caryatids supporting the moulded shelf. Chimneypiece dismantled in NE room when inspected. Also there, are: (1) a large marble classical plaque of a warrior on a couch with shield, a female seated leaning over kissing his arm, and a male figure in background turning away; (2) a plaster copy of (1); (3) two marble stands originally supporting busts in the Great Library; (4) two carved stone tripods of differing heights. Enriched moulded window shutters have been re-used on N front at basement level. A collection of small oval relief plaques is set in wall in passage backing onto Great Library within a tripartite arrangement of grey scaglioli columns (unfluted Greek Doric) with central segmental arch. (VCH (1912)419: Kelly (1914)50-1: Pevsner (1977)90-1: RCHM Typescript: Country Life 17.1.1925, 92-9; 24.1.1925, 124-133).

Listing NGR: TL3153610448


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Doubleday, A, The Victoria History of the County of Hertford, (1912), 419
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 90 91
'Country Life' in 24 January, (1925)
'Country Life' in 17 January, (1925), 92-99
'Kellys Directory' in Hertfordshire, (1914), 50 51
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 21 Hertfordshire,


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 15 Feb 2003
Reference: IOE01/08857/35
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr A. Gude. Source Historic England Archive
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