Georgian home and gardens
Fir Hill, Droxford, Hampshire, UK
1929 – 2004
Mrs Caroline Walker
Lt Colonel Hulbert sold Fir Hill on 23 June 1954 to Mrs Caroline Jean Walker (1884-1979), a widow then living in Crawley near Winchester whose husband, Kenneth Walker, had died in 1951. The boundaries shown on that conveyance remain the same today.
Mrs Walker was 70 when she bought Fir Hill. She had five children, Ralph, Jean (known as Joy), Norman, Richard and Rosamund, and 13 grandchildren. Her son, Richard, wrote of her:
'Our mother, Caroline Jean, was a ravishingly beautiful tall woman with clear skin and a mass of auburn hair piled up to the crown – Titian coloured, as she described it in her passport'.
Mrs Walker carried out a number of renovations evidenced by signed and dated pencil inscriptions by builders in the plaster of the north-east bedroom, and by newspapers dated 1954 that had been used to pad out light switches in the upstairs bedrooms. A kidney-shaped fabric-swathed dressing table that was previously in the north-east bedroom is certainly typical of the era. It is likely that she installed the marble fireplace in Constance King's piano nobile. She also created the brick herringbone courtyard to the north of the house, as well as the brick pillars and wrought iron gates leading from the courtyard to the main garden.
Mrs Walker decided that Fir Hill was too large for her and moved to Chelsea, London where she died in March 1979.
Above and below left, centre and right: Caroline Walker
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Judson, neé Walker, Caroline Walker's grand-daughter.
Left: Caroline Walker, Fir Hill, Christmas 1961
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Judson
Inscription by builders in north-east bedroom during 1954 renovations