The historic Cherkley Court, a large country house in Leatherhead which previously belonged to press baron Lord Beaverbrook is up for sale. Images with kind thanks to David Chambers.
The house, which is owned by The Beaverbrook Foundation, was restored and open to the public until the end of last year. It is now on the market for a guide price of £20m.
The Beaverbrook Foundation said recent wet summers and the recession were to blame for the lack of visitors which lead to the decision to close and sell the estate.
Cherkley Court, set in 400 acres of park and woodlands, was the home of Lord Beaverbrook and his family between 1910 and 1995.
It was originally constructed in the mid-18th Century by an industrialist from Birmingham called Abraham Dixon. He completely rebuilt it following a massive fire in 1893, which destroyed most of the house.
The Beaverbrook Foundation carried out an extensive renovation of the property and its grounds, as well as re-purchasing parts of the grounds in order to reunite the estate and house.
It took seven years for the Trust to restore the Grade II listed house and grounds to their former glory in the hope it could pay its way as a conference and wedding venue.
They first opened the house and its 16 acres (65,000 m2) of gardens and walk ways to the paying public in April 2007.
The Foundation, which is a registered charity, supported Cherkley Court with the view that the business would become self-supporting, but that has not happened.
According to Cherkley's Wikipedia entry "As well as grand terraces, garden pavilions, a stone grotto and an Italianate garden there are wild flower meadows, a walnut grove and woodland walks."
Politician Maxwell Aitken was granted a peerage in 1917. The name "Beaverbrook" in his newly acquired title was taken from a small town near his childhood home in Canada.
Lord Beaverbrook, became known as the "Baron of Fleet Street", after taking over several well known newspapers including the Evening Standard and the Daily Express.
The house came to his attention when he was out driving with his friend, author Rudyard Kipling. He spotted it was up for sale and bought it on the spot.
During his lifetime, the newspaper magnate entertained house guests including author HG Wells, politician Harold Macmillan and Rudyard Kipling. Winston Churchill apparently had his own bedroom in the house!
After his death and following the death of his wife, Dowager Lady Beaverbrook in 1994, the house and estate was purchased by The Beaverbrook Foundation.
Fans of the late Victorian mansion had hoped another organisation such as The National Trust could take on the property, but with its £20m price tag this now seems very unlikely.