A “castle” built over 200 years ago in South London has been under conservation work for the past few years, and is offering free tours of the building.

Kingswood House was built in 1811, but its most famous owner was John Johnston who bought it in 1891 and added the stone facade and castle battlements that now make it so distinctive. As Johnston was also the inventor of Bovril, the house gained the nickname locally of Bovril Castle.

It later became a library but was recently handed to a local arts group who are slowly working on restoring the interior and opening it up to the local community.

The joy of the site at the moment is that it’s not been touched too much yet, so yes some rooms have been cleaned up, but not too heavily, and there are plenty of rooms in a quite poor state at the moment — which I think makes the tours quite a bit more interesting.

The tours take place on Sunday 13th August at 10am, 11am and 12 noon – are free and can be booked here.

The building is about halfway between Sydenham Hill, Upper Sydenham, South Dulwich and Crystal Palace. If you say it’s in any of those locations though, expect howls of outrage from people who will say it’s in one of the others — as I learned the last time I mentioned it.


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