“THE GATES OF ST JOHN”
This unusual house was built circa 1912 in Riboleau Street, by Ryde builders, Messrs Wheeler Bros. for Madame Emily Madelina Du Pre, who died 31 Jan 1924, at Paddington, London, aged 71. Madame du Pre was a spinster.
At the time of the 1911 census, Madame Du Pre was residing at 24 Warwick Avenue, Paddington, W London, her place of birth was given as Edinburgh, Scotland.
It is not known whether Madame Du Pre actually spent much time at this property on the Isle of Wight, or just used it as a holiday residence during the season. It was ironic that she was spared to spend but a few weeks in the building upon which so much of her thought, energy and money had been lavished.
The house was unique and of very ornate architecture, from every angle there was something different to see. The rooms had marble floors, which would probably have been very cold in the winter and cool in the summer. Across the road was built a lifeboat house and stabling, complete with lifeboat. The lady believed that the great flood was coming again, so she made sure she was fully prepared for when it happened.
The house became a nunnery, Miss Du Pre had built a chapel in the grounds. In 1928 it was bought by a retired estate agent who left the property to Mr and Mrs Lock about 1938. The house was dismantled in 1948 bit by bit and every piece numbered, the remarkable operation and transportation of the entire mansion, at the wish of the owner, Mrs Elizabeth lock, by then a widow, to be rebuilt on a 14-acre estate Tullimar, Perranarworthal, near Truro in the West country.
Images source: RSHG Archive Roy Brinton Collection