Earl of Derby park in 'Time Team' excavation

The 19th Earl of Derby has celebrated the historic excavation of his ancestral home in Carshalton Beeches, at Oaks Park.

The park was the site of the Oaks Mansion, the racing estate of the 12th Earl of Derby and one of the best known sporting houses of 18th century England. It was at Oaks Park that the 12th Earl and his friends initiated the Oaks and the Derby run each year at nearby Epsom Downs.

There has been a house at The Oaks since at least the 16th century, it was rebuilt during the mid-18th century as an Italianate 'villa' and later occupied by the 12th Earl of Derby, who employed Robert Adam to restyle it.

The Carshalton & Clockhouse Local Committee initiated and funded this excavation project from its Public Realm Budget, which allows local schemes to bid for resources through a consultation process with residents. This initiative was then undertaken by Sutton Council's Heritage Service, supported by the Friends of Oaks Park, during Take Part Take Pride week when a team of archaeologists excavated the foundations of the mansion, demolished in the 1950s.

Lord Derby said: "As you can imagine, the exact location of my old family home, the Oaks, is a source of both fascination and mystery.  I am often asked exactly where it was — particularly when I am stood in the stands at Epsom, so I was delighted to have been pointed in the right direction."

The council and the friends group undertook the work at the Green Flag winning park.


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