Grand house home to a soldier and top thespian

The main residence
The main residence
Looking down London Road circa 1903. The Horndean Light Railway tracks are on the right.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

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This grand house was once owned by the leading actor Edmund Kean and one of Britain’s most famous soldiers, Sir Drury Curzon Drury-Lowe.

It was Keydell House at Horndean and the site later became the home for Keydell Nurseries. The pictures are believed to have been taken about 1910.

How Keydell was mapped out in a previous time

How Keydell was mapped out in a previous time

The three-storey, rectangular mansion with shuttered windows and formal gardens was set in 45 acres off what is now Lovedean Lane. Nearby Keydell Avenue gives a clue as to what once existed on the site.

The old map, showing London Road (now the A3) and the Portsdown and Horndean Light Railway on the right hand side, has what is now Lovedean Lane running across the bottom with Prochurch Farm on the corner.

The house was demolished in 1968 to make way for houses and the nursery moved to its present site in 1979.

Sir Drury Curzon Drury-Lowe, a full general, retired to Keydell House in 1895 and lived there until his death in 1908.

He served in the Crimean War at the Battle of Chernaya River and was at the siege of Sebastopol when it fell. He also saw service in the Indian Mutiny in 1858–1859.

He commanded the 17th/21st Lancers for 12 years – most notably at the Battle of Ulundi, the last pitched battle of the Anglo-Zulu War. He was knighted in 1882.

Kean (1789-1833) was regarded as the greatest actor of his day and lived at Keydell for years.

· These pictures come from the collection of Waterlooville photographer Paul Costen at costen.co.uk