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The Superintendent's House
Gosport, Hampshire £1,500,000 Freehold

The Superintendent's House

Where Queen Victoria and Louis Phillipe - the King of France - came to tea

Tucked behind iron railings and covered in an established wisteria, this handsome Grade-II listed Regency house is strikingly symmetrical. One of two handsome villas that were built by the Royal Navy’s architect G.L. Taylor in 1830, the house unfolds over 5,600 sq ft, and is surrounded by a large walled garden. There is a one-bedroom annexe, now located where the house’s kitchen would originally have been. The house was awarded the Gosport Preservation Society Restoration Award, in recognition of the recent exacting work that has been carried out.

Setting the Scene

With a grand late-Georgian stuccoed façade, the house is large and double-depth in plan, with a symmetrical front complete with basement band, cornice and parapet. Built to house the yard’s superintendent, the victualling yard was one of the first large industrial food processing plants in the country. Here, beer, barrels, and biscuits, among other things, would have been made to feed the navy.

In 1846, the house hosted no less than Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Louis Philippe I of France.  A terrible storm at the end of the visit prevented Louis Philippe from travelling back to France and Thomas Grant, the owner at the time, had to quickly clear his house of staying guests to put-up the stranded royals. The story goes that while his houseguests exited out the back door, the Queen with her royal entourage entered! Victoria later presented Grant with a Garrard and Co silver tazza to commemorate his hospitality. For more information, please see the History section below. 

The Grand Tour

There are four entrances to the house. The original main entrance is at the side; it ascends to the first floor and connects to the hallway and into the formal drawing room along the front. This is a wonderfully bright space, care of four enormously tall original sash windows and a south-facing aspect. Original floorboards run throughout the space, alongside shutters – some of which were original, and some matched like for like – as well as marble fireplace surrounds. A dining room sits adjacent, painted a lovely calming blue. There is also a study and a guest WC on this floor.

Steps down lead to the kitchen extension; constructed in red brick, it is wonderfully in keeping with the original part of the house. With a high ceiling crowned by a lantern, it feels light and airy throughout the day. The kitchen itself is bespoke, with grey-painted cabinetry and dark marble worktops. Individual hand-painted tiles form a splashback, a feature continued in some of the house’s bathrooms. A pair of French doors opens onto the garden.

From here, a refined cantilevered dog-leg staircase with mahogany handrail and elegant spindles leads the whole way up the house. The top two floors are home to the house’s six bedrooms. The main bedroom, which also sits along the south side of the house, has a dressing room and a luxurious en suite bathroom with a deep freestanding bath and a separate walk-in shower.

The lower ground floor, which also has lots of natural light, is currently arranged as a self-contained apartment. Its versatility means it can be connected to the main house or closed off, with its own separate entrance. Flagstone floors run underfoot here and there is a large fireplace where the original kitchen would have been. There is also a wine cellar, still fitted with the original Portland stone shelves, a workshop – which used to be the butler’s pantry – and a laundry room on this level.

The Great Outdoors

The extensive rear garden, surrounded by a red brick wall, comprises a combination of terrace, lawn and beds stocked with roses, peonies and other perennials. There is a pond in the middle, as well as an old well. A more formal part of the garden is delineated by neat box hedging, where a magnolia tree bursts into a pretty pink, marking the beginning of spring. Tucked behind a hedge is an incredible vegetable garden, with brick-built raised beds full of cutting flowers, to provide blooms for the house throughout most of the year. To the front of the house, the wisteria, which was likely planted when the house was completed, has a frothy purple, sweet-smelling blossom.

Out and About

The Superintendent’s House is located in the heart of Gosport, recently named as one of the UK’s best seaside destinations. It is also home to a range of useful amenities, including a Waitrose supermarket. The Gosport Ferry is less than 15 minutes walk away from the house, providing a quick and scenic link to Portsmouth and its historic Dockyard, home to HMS Victory and the Mary Rose Museum and Gunwharf Quays. Gosport has three large marinas – one just a couple of hundred meters from the house – and is one of the UK’s foremost sailing and yachting centres, being located directly at the mouth of the Portsmouth harbour.

The picturesque beach at Stokes Bay and the Alver Valley Country Park, are both approximately 15 minutes by car, providing brilliant swimming and walks throughout the year. There are numerous pubs and restaurants locally, including The Anglesey Arms Hotel, The Alverbank and Pebbles Fish and Wine Bar.

Further afield, Southsea is full of restaurants, pubs and independent shops, including the fantastic Southsea Deli. At its heart is the wonderfully restored Kings Theatre, an Edwardian gem rescued from conversion into a pub.  

To the south, the pedestrianised Palmerston Road has key amenities such as the local library, a monthly farmer’s market and a supermarket. This area links Albert Road to Castle Road, another street filled with independent shops, great restaurants and pubs.  

One of Southsea’s greatest assets is its expansive Common, stretching along the southern seafront. This broad, open green space was created by the military in the early 19th century to ensure a clear range of fire from the harbour defences to protect Portsmouth and its dockyard. Today, it’s a fantastic asset to the community; it’s possible to walk uninterrupted along the esplanade for miles. The broad shingle banks of Southsea Beach and the South Parade Pier have all the amusements and fish and chips one would expect. 

Trains from Portsmouth Harbour station is easily reached on foot via the Gosport Ferry and reaches London Waterloo in just over 90 minutes. Proximity to the M27 affords Gosport easy access to the rest of the motorway network, whilst the A3 runs straight into the centre of the surrounding South Downs National Park. For more good walking and distinctive landscapes, the nearby New Forest provides acres of striking moorland, filled with good pubs and roaming wild ponies.

Council Tax Band: H

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. Inigo has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.


Prior to the house being built in 1830, there was a horse gin on the land. Beer (a vital source of liquid for the sailors of the Royal Navy) made from water on the site was going off more quickly than that made at any of the other naval yards. In response to this, the Royal Navy commissioned John Smeaton (of Eddystone Lighthouse fame) and Samuel Whitbread (of beer-making fame) to improve the beer made at Royal Clarence yard.

A well was sunk more than 50 feet, in what is now the garden of this house. The horse gin powered a nodding donkey pump, and water was lifted into a reservoir standing 18 feet above the ground. From there the water flowed downhill towards the brewery, and on the way, turned the stones that milled the flour for the production of ships’ biscuits.

The east garden wall has still got a round bend in it, because part of the foundations of the horse gin were borrowed to act as foundations for the garden wall.

In 1816, Thomas Grant, the then store-keeper at the yard invented a way of making ships biscuits that improved efficiency.  As a result, the Royal Navy gave him a grant of £16,000 in lieu of a patent for the process, which is now considered to be one of the first examples of a modern production line. In 1830 Grant was promoted to Superintendent, and was given this house as his residence.

The Superintendent's House — Gosport, Hampshire
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