In September 2010 the doors were opened to the public for a rare chance to view the interior, this was organised in conjunction with the heritage open days project. It has been owned by the RAF for around 90 years now and is used as the officers mess. The building may well already be familiar though as it has been featured on numerous TV programmes including The Great British Menu and Flog It. A sage piece of advice is to have a look next time it’s open, as the opportunity does not come along often.
By around 1880 plans were being made for the construction of Halton House. In July of 1883 the house was finished, although it was not formally opened until 15th January 1884. The following two photographs show some of the building in progress.
During the second half of the nineteenth century the Rothschilds acquired and constructed seven grand houses in the Vale of Aylesbury. Of the seven, the house at Aston Clinton is no longer standing, Mentmore Towers and Eyethrope Pavillion are in private hands, Tring Manor House is home to the Tring Arts Educational School, Waddesdon Manor and Ascot House are held by the National Trust and Halton House is an RAF Officers’ Mess.
There has been an impressive building at Halton from the Norman conquest, when it belonged to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas Cranmer, however, sold the house to Henry Bradshaw, Minister of Finance in the mid 16oo’s. It remained within the Bradshaw family for some time, was then sold to Sir Francis Dashwood in 1720 and was then held in the Dashwood family, for around 150 years.
The grounds of the old original Halton House, was a big park, which was then dissected by the Grand Union Canal. In June 1849 Sir George Dashwood split it up and the contents auctioned off, then in 1853 the property was sold to Baron Lionel de Rothschild, who extended his property Tring. Lionel then continued the policy of expansion. The old house was uninhabited, and may be rejected, and finally demolished.