TUCKED away in a green oasis of tranquility lies a grand mansion with connections to Gertrude Jekyll, international banking, wartime austerity and a meatless pie.
The Chownes Mead estate on the outskirts of Haywards Heath is being sold for a guide price of £3.5million by agent Savills and is described in the sales brochure as having the “undisturbed atmosphere of an altogether gentler age”,
Yet the house played a pivotal role in World War Two and was owned by a succession of famous occupants connected to banking and politics.
Burgess Hill firm Norman and Burt began work on the house off Chownes Mead Lane in 1912. Garden designs were drawn up by Gertrude Jekyll and there is speculation that stained glass window designer and artist Charles Eamer Kempe may have influenced the look of the house, which was built for Sir Alexander Kleinwort from the banking dynasty.
Lord Woolton, who served as Minister of Food under Neville Chamberlin, lived at the house and went on to be a member of Winston Churchill’s ‘Caretaker’ Government until the 1945 general election.
Lord Woolton was responsible for wartime rationing and the meatless ‘Woolton Pie’, created by a chef at the Savoy Hotel, was named after him.
For a recipe for the meatless pie and more on Chownes Mead, read pages 6 and 7 of this week’s Mid Sussex Times, published on Thursday, September 22.