In 1861, William Stone purchased Leigh Park House and the gardens.
Very soon he found Staunton's house to be too small and decided to knock it down and build a new home.
The Builder, 17 March 1866, had this to say:
'The inhabitants of Portsmouth and its neighbourhood have long been familiar with the beautiful grounds and conservatories of Leigh Park, through the kind liberality of Mr. W.H. Stone, their representative in Parliament. The ungraceful stuccoed building erected on one of the least attractive sites in the park, which until lately served for the residence, will be remembered.
About three years since the proprietor decided to abandon the old house and build a new residence on a site overlooking the lake and commanding views over the Isle of Wight and some of the most beautiful scenery of the south coast; and in the spring of 1863 the new mansion was commenced. We give a view of the eastern front, showing the principal entrance and the hall, which is carried up the full height of the building. The general arrangement of the principal rooms and the offices will be seen on reference to the ground plan; above it are two floors of bedrooms, to which access is given by corridors similar to that on the ground plan. The nurseries are placed over the offices, with which they have a communication independent of the principal and back staircases. The centre portion of the tower is filled with cisterns for the supply of hot and cold water, which are carried to all parts of the building.
The materials used for the walls are red bricks, and Farleigh Down stone for dressings. The roof is covered in plain tiles; both bricks and tiles being made on the estate. The arcades and the aslar work in the hall are of chalk from Portsdown Hill, with shafts of Devonshire marble. As much as possible throughout the building native materials have been used, the chimney pieces being of serpentine, alabaster, or Devonshire marble. At present the house is approached from the old entrances on the Portsmouth road; but it is intended to form a new one near to Rowlands Castle. The house is warmed throughout on the hot-water system by Messrs Weeks.'
In the park, we have laid stones to show the original layout of Stone's mansion.
Click here to find your way there and explore what remains of the house.