Cottenham Drive, SW20

Place name

Charles Christopher Pepys (April 29, 1781 – April 29, 1851), 1st Earl of Cottenham, owned and lived at Cottenham Park – originally called Prospect Place – from around 1831 until shortly before his death. Pepys was a lawyer, judge and politician who twice served as Lord Chancellor. He was the second son of Sir William Pepys, a master in chancery, who was descended from John Pepys, of Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, a great-uncle of Samuel Pepys, the diarist. Charles Pepys was first appointed Lord Chancellor in Lord Melbourne’s second administration, and was at the same time elevated to the peerage as Baron Cottenham of Cottenham in the County of Cambridge. He held office until the ministry’s defeat in August 1841. Five years later he was made Lord Chancellor in Lord John Russell’s administration. His health, however, had been failing and he resigned in 1850. Shortly before his retirement, he was created Viscount Crowhurst, and Earl of Cottenham. Prospect Place was located on the south side of Copse Hill, with the estate enlarged southwards, down to Coombe Lane, under its former owner James Meyrick. Five years after Merrick’s death the property was sold to John Lambton, Earl of Durham, and from there passed to Pepys who renamed it. Then known as Cottenham Park, Pepys sold the estate for development in 1850. On the sale, the area to the north of the railway line was laid out with Pepys Road and Lambton Road by WS Sims, in anticipation of development, which was slow to come. This is one of a number of streets in the area (Cottenham Park Road, Cottenham Place, Cottenham Park and Pepys Road) that are named after the landowner.


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