|The front gate and drive of Joyce Grove|
The original late 17th-century house of Joyce Grove was demolished by Robert Fleming when he acquired the estate in 1903, and a new Gothic-style mansion was erected in its place by the following year. In later years, the young Ian Fleming would visit, and for a time after the death of his father, Valentine, he and his brothers had the run of a wing of the house during weekends. Robert died in 1933, and the estate passed to his widow Kate. On her death in 1937, the estate went to Robert's surviving sons. The house was then given to St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, and subsequently became a nursing home, a role that it continues today.
|The house of Joyce Grove|
|Robert Fleming built Joyce Grove in 1904|
When I saw the house, though, I was reminded of another Bond novel – Goldfinger. Ian Fleming describes Goldfinger's house, The Grange, as “a heavy, ugly, turn-of-the-century mansion”, with a drive bordered by “high Victorian evergreens” that led to a “gravel sweep” in front of the house.” Fleming also mentions an adjoining factory where the “stabling and garages would normally be” (chapter 10). The details aren't an exact match – The Grange has a “glass-encased portico” which Joyce Grove lacks – but Fleming could otherwise be describing the house he knew as a child. Today I walked down the evergreen-bordered drive which terminated in front of the imposing (I wouldn't necessarily say ugly) turn-of-the-century mansion. The stables and garages were there too.
|View from the terrace|
Lycett, A, 1995 Ian Fleming: The man behind James Bond, Turner