02 Aug, 2018

What lies in the History of Fulham House: A Lord Mayor, Oliver Cromwell and a Cellar Ghost?

Fulham House early 20th century
02 Aug, 2018

Fulham House

Fulham House, does that  ring a bell? For many people in the local area it isn’t something that comes to mind, yet it is one of the oldest properties in Fulham. In fact you probably have passed it many times on the way to Putney Bridge station without realising what history lies behind that impressive entrance.

Fulham House, a Grade II listed building, is the Headquarters of the Greater London Reserve Forces and Cadet Association (RFCA) and home to Alternative Venues London. The newer extension to the back of the building also houses the Royal Yeomanry (light cavalry regiment), a volunteer military unit. However, this 250 year old house is part of an estate that dates back to the 14th century.

The Original House

Originally, the House was built as a private residence with extensive land of twelve acres including a waterfront, ferry port and market. The earliest record of the property dates back to 1339 where it is referred to as the Manor of Fulham and was owned by the Passor Family.

In 1521 a Merchant named Ralph Warren, who is known for his time served as Lord Mayor, took up residence in Passor House. The property was then passed onto a second Lord Mayor, Sir Thomas Whyte.
Later, in 1572, the property was inherited by Sir Henry and Lady Joan Cromwell, grandparents to Oliver Cromwell. Although it is unlikely that Oliver Cromwell resided there in his childhood, it is thought that he may have been a guest at the residence and may have even played in the cellars that remain part of the structure until this day.

In 1804 the purpose of the property changed from a place of residence to a girl’s boarding school when it was taken over by the Fleaming sisters and their brother and became known as Fulham House School. The siblings are rumoured to have been slightly strange or eccentric. One of the sisters died during their time there, leaving the other to run the school alone for a further few years before her own death.

After being passed down several generations, in 1902, the house was purchased by the Commanding Officer of Middlesex Volunteer Rifles and it has been a part of the Reserve Forces since (previously known as the Territorial Army).

The Ghosts of Fulham House

Following Miss Fleaming’s death it was widely rumoured that her ghost haunted the cellars of the house. During the war the cellar was used as an air raid shelter by the locals. One lady claimed to have seen ‘Miss Fleaming’ and in 1970 a cleaner reported seeing a ghost of a woman while alone in the building. An encounter with a second ghost on the top floor of Fulham House, a man dressed in a Dutch costume, was published in 1900, from the former surveyor of the Fulham Vestry while he had been staying at Fulham House. The floor where the offices of Alternative Venues London is now based!

Today, as well as being the RFCA’s headquarters, Fulham House can be hired for events. The extravagant fireplaces and crested ceilings give the updated rooms a feel of the history that once lay within these walls. With its large hall which can seat up to 120 people theatre style and the smaller conference rooms and bar this venue is ideal for corporate events or conferences.
Contact us now for more information on holding your event at Fulham House.

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