Knebworth House

Knebworth, Hertfordshire

Built from 1490 by Sir Robert Lytton, it was remodelled and enlarged to be given its present Tudor-Gothic appearance in the 1840s by Mrs Bulwer-Lytton (1770-1843), mother of the statesman and author Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, and grandmother of the 1st Earl of Lytton. From 1893 to 1899, the 2nd Earl leased Knebworth to the American coal baron John Cleveland Osgood (great-grandson of Samuel Osgood, 1st Postmaster-General under the new U.S. Constitution and whose house in New York served as the first Presidential mansion) and his colourful first wife, the authoress Irene Osgood. They divorced in 1899 when it became home to the Canadian High Commissioner, Lord Strathcona, of Montreal, known as "Uncle Donald" for his munificent gifts to charity....

This house is best associated with...

John Cleveland Osgood

Coal Baron of Redstone, Colorado; Founder of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company


Irene Osgood

Mrs Nannie "Irène" (Belote) Osgood, Harvey, Sherard; Romantic Novelist & Dramatist


Donald Smith, Lord Strathcona

M.P., P.C., D.L., F.R.S., 1st Lord Strathcona & Mount Royal


Isabella (Hardisty) Smith

Isabella Sophia (Hardisty) Smith, Baroness Strathcona & Mount Royal


Strathcona and maintained it as his country place until his death in 1914. The following year, for £3,000 a year, the Earl leased it to Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia. The 2nd Earl's fortunes continued to evaporate and in 1927 he sold off many of Knebworth's treasures at an auction held in New York., and one of the staircases was retrofitted into Mallow on Long Island. Today it's the property of the 3rd Lord Cobbold, a former Hollywood producer who hosts the famous Knebworth Music Festival here.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 11/10/2019 and last updated on 22/01/2024.
Image Courtesy of Giborn_134, Flickr


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