1856: Frederick Goodall bought 170 acres of the land on which Grim’s Dyke now stands
1870: Building work began, overseen by the famous architect Norman Shaw
1872: Grim’s Dyke was completed and the Goodall family took up residence.
1880: The Goodalls sold Grim’s Dyke to Robert Heriot of Hambros Bank who lived here for 10 years
1890: Grim’s Dyke was bought by Sir William and Lady Gilbert
1899: Work began on Gilbert’s boating lake, a 1.5 acre stretch of water where he used to bathe every day
1905 – The lake was extended to form a large rectangle roughly 170 yards long by 50 yards wide
1906: Gilbert helped found Grimsdyke Golf Club where he was President
1911: Gilbert died on May 29th trying to rescue a local girl, Ruby Preece, who had got into difficulties swimming
1929: On one of her rare public appearances, Lady Gilbert attends the re-opening of the Savoy Theatre
1936: Lady Gilbert died, having spent her final years doing local charity work
1937: A public auction of the house realised £4600
1937: Grim’s Dyke became a rehabilitation centre for women suffering from tuberculosis
1939-1945: Officially, whatever role Grim’s Dyke played in the war is classified and not due for release until the 2040s
1945: Re-opened as a rehabilitation centre for men suffering from tuberculosis
1963: The rehabilitation centre was closed down and Grim’s Dyke entered a period of decline, during which time it was used as a film and television set
1967: The Champions was filmed here, as were several episodes of Dr Who during his battles with the Daleks
1968: Boris Karloff starred in his last film, The Curse of the Crimson Altar
1969: Vincent Price made his 100th film, The Cry of the Banshee. Ronnie Barker also used the house and grounds to shoot one of his comedies, Futtocks End
1998: Grim’s Dyke was formally re-opened by the Rt. Hon. Kenneth Clarke, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Bought in 1890 by W.S.Gilbert, the famous dramatist and librettist partner of Sir Arthur Sullivan, it remained his home for over 20 years until his death in the lake. Afterwards it achieved awards for its gardens, was a sanitorium and hospital, the site of secret World War II projects, became a film set for Hammer horror films, and the location for many well known T.V. shows up to the present. In 1996 the Melton Medes Group undertook a £3 million restoration of the exterior and refurbished the house under the supervision of English Heritage to create the delightful hotel and restaurant it is today.
Andrew Goodman, since 1985 a historical consultant to the hotel and author of Gilbert & Sullivan's London and Grim's Dyke: A Short History of the House and its Owners.
1st Century BC:
The very name Grim’s Dyke has its roots firmly in Roman History. It was originally a huge defensive earthwork which, over three miles long, formed the boundary of Catuvellauni territory, a tribe that fought the Romans.
The 170 acre site was bought by Frederick Goodall, one of Turner’s favourite engravers and a painter in his own right, but, due to a restrictive lease, building work on the house didn't begin for 14 years.
Grim’s Dyke house is built based on architect Norman Shaw’s designs, famous for pioneering a particular style of old English house with a Gothic influence.
Grim’s Dyke is completed and the Goodall family take up residence.
The Goodalls sell Grim’s Dyke to Robert Herriot of Hambros Bank who lived there for 10 years.
Grim’s Dyke is bought by the Gilbert family, W.S Gilbert being part of the famous Gilbert & Sullivan.
Work began on Gilbert’s boating lake, a 1.5 acre stretch of water where he used to bathe every day.
On the 29th May, Gilbert dies attempting to help a local girl, Ruby Preece, who had got into difficulties swimming.
Lady Gilbert died, having spent her final years doing local charity work.
A public auction of the contents of the house realised £4600. Grim’s Dyke became a rehabilitation centre for women suffering from tuberculosis.
Officially, whatever role Grim’s Dyke played in the 2nd World War is classified, and not due for release until the 2040s. Re-opened as a rehabilitation centre for men suffering from tuberculosis.
The rehabilitation centre was closed down and Grim’s Dyke entered a period of decline, during which time it was used as a film and television set
On April 5th, the Grim’s Dyke Hotel and Country Club opened.
The present owners take over the property, following extensive restoration and refurbishment of the Grade II listed building.