The Theobalds estate was purchased by George Prescott in 1763, and built the house which is known today as Theobalds Park.
George Prescott was the son of a wealthy merchant from Chester, and in 1762 had been elected to the House of Commons.
The Prescott family remained in the property until about 1820 when they leased it to Sir Henry Meux, a prominent London brewer. He died in 1841 leaving it to his son, also named Henry, who made a variety of major alterations including the addition of further wings either side of the central core. Henry later married Louisa Caroline Brudenell-Bruce, daughter of Lord Ernest Bruce MP and they subsequently produced a son and heir, Henry Bruce Meux, who married in 1878.
In 1885, Henry Bruce Meux and his wife, Lady Meux, took up residence and during the following years they carried out a number of major works including a further extension to the south side together with, in 1887, the tower to accommodate a large water tank. During the same year, a new entrance gate was also created, involving the relocation from the City of London, Temple Bar. During this period, Lady Meux also added to the main house the Gun Room and Kitchen as well as a swimming pool and an indoor roller skating rink within the grounds.
Lady Meux died in 1910 and the property was left to Admiral Hedworth Lambton on condition that he changed his name to Meux. He subsequently agreed to this and during the following year, he sold the contents of the house by auction.
Sir Hedworth later became Admiral of the Fleet as well as a Member if Parliament. He carried out significant further alterations to Theobalds Park including its extensions northwards to create the Ballroom. Sir Hedworth died in 1929 and his widow then sold the property to be used as an hotel.
In March 1937, the house was again put up for sale by auction although Temple Bar was excluded and retained by the trustees of Sir Hedworth Meuxs estate.
The property failed to sell but was disposed of the following year in March 1938, being sold again within a month to the Middlesex County Council, for use as a general hospital pending the reconstruction of North Middlesex Hospital. Before the conversion could take place, war broke out in September 1939.
The house was used by the Royal Artillary and, briefly, by the Metropolitan Police Riding School. When it returned to the County Council, local authorities were no longer responsible for hospitals, and the Council decided to use the house as a school, with its first pupils arriving in 1951. Theobalds Park continued to be used for secondary education until 1969 when the school was closed.
Following its use as an Adult Education Centre during the 1970s and early 1980s, the borough council elected to convert and modernise it for use as a commercial conference centre as well as for its own management training and staff development. Planning permission was granted in 1990 for the restoration works and, where possible, all educational adaptations were stripped out with many of the original period features being restored to a notably high standard.
In the summer of 1995, Initial Style Conferences acquired Theobalds Park as a training and conference venue with 17 main training rooms and 14 syndicate rooms. There are 111 en suite bedrooms, leisure facilities and 55 acres of parkland.
Theobalds Park is now a hotel and offers 110 rooms, 15 meeting rooms, 14 syndicate rooms and a tree house meeting room.
You can learn more about Cedars Park and the former Royal Palace of Theobalds here: www.cedarspark.info