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Former Brewhouse, Link Block, Pump House and Fire Engine House Range in the Service Yard at Wrest Park House

A Grade II Listed Building in Silsoe, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 52.0038 / 52°0'13"N

Longitude: -0.408 / 0°24'28"W

OS Eastings: 509380

OS Northings: 235128

OS Grid: TL093351

Mapcode National: GBR G3S.CNJ

Mapcode Global: VHFQV.WW5R

Entry Name: Former Brewhouse, Link Block, Pump House and Fire Engine House Range in the Service Yard at Wrest Park House

Listing Date: 21 May 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1403022

Location: Silsoe, Central Bedfordshire, MK45

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Silsoe

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Silsoe

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

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Former Brewhouse, Link Block, Pump House and Fire Engine House range located within the service yard at Wrest Park, now storage and office building. 1834-39, with mid-C20 remodelling and alterations. Original design by Thomas Philip Weddell, 2nd Earl de Grey, assisted by James Clephan, architect, acting as Clerk of Works.


MATERIALS: yellow brick with stone dressings and slate coverings to mansard and pitched roofs.

PLAN: the building is L-shaped on plan, and forms a semi-detached component of the service yard of Wrest Park.

EXTERIOR: the building is comprised of a number of different elements, with a narrow single-storey range incorporating an open passage at its west end giving access from the stable block (q.v.) and its courtyard into the service yard. This section extends from the stable block to link with a taller mansard roofed range now with dormer windows This has a louvered lead-covered cupola and a tall side wall chimney. To the west of this is a narrow taller two-storey section with multi-pane sash windows set beneath gauged brick heads within its north wall. Its end wall has two inserted sash windows at ground-floor level and shallow corner pilasters. Against the south wall is a modern shallow single-storey lean-to extension, above which are three tall multi-pane sash windows. There are other inserted window openings with metal frames and concrete lintels. The lean-to abuts the west wall of the wider mansard-roofed section of the building. This has full height double doors to its west wall and a lower segmental arched double doorway to its east elevation facing onto the stable block courtyard.

INTERIOR: much altered with modern finishes and inserted partitions, and now used for storage and office accommodation. There is no surviving equipment related to the former brewing and pumping functions.


Wrest Park belonged to the Grey family from the Middle Ages until the early C20. In 1833, Thomas Phillip Weddell, later Earl de Grey, inherited Wrest, having already spent much time there as a young man demonstrating his early abilities as an amateur architect in the design of the two lodges at Silsoe in 1826 (both Grade II). Although he had great respect for the gardens this did not extend to the house, which he demolished. The present house was constructed approximately 200m north of the old house in 1834-9 by the Earl with the assistance of James Clephan. The service ranges and stable block to the east and the walled gardens (Grade II) to the west were added to the new house between 1834 and 1839.

The service range at the east end of the house was also designed by the Earl and included the provision of a brewhouse and an open-ended horse-driven pump house aligned east-west, and linked to the stable block located to the west. A large double-height shed was also built at right angles to this range to house a horse-drawn fire engine. Both parts required horse power and were conveniently located close to the stabling. The brewhouse was connected to the main house by a beer pipe, and the pump house adjoined a well in the courtyard. By 1934, the building contained water softening equipment. In recent times the building has been considerably altered, with offices formed within the brewhouse and the pump house completely enclosed.

The former Brewhouse, Link Block, Pump House and Fire Engine House range forms a group with Wrest Park (Grade I) the stable block (Grade II) and the walled garden (Grade II).

Reasons for Listing

The former Brewhouse, Link Block, Pump House and Fire Engine House building at Wrest Park is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: the building was designed as part of the ensemble of mansion, service ranges, gardens and garden structures developed by the Earl de Grey between 1834 and 1839;
* Estate Planning: the building was designed to perform specific functions as part of the service provision for the mansion at Wrest Park. Its siting within the service yard adjacent to the stable block reflects the requirement for horse power for the Pump House and Fire Engine House;
* Group Value: the building forms a prominent feature of the service courtyard to the west of Wrest Park, and is attached to both the stable block to the east, and other service buildings on the south side of the service yard.

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