In the early 1800’s the area generally was one of open farmland and woodland. However, the 1880’s witnessed the arrival of the steam train with a direct service from Dormans station to Victoria, London.
Even in these early days, an entrepreneurial flair existed and over 200 acres was purchased by the Bellaggio Estate Company. The vision was to create an exclusive residential area with lakes, hotel, cricket ground, racecourse (now Lingfield Park) and even a toboggan slide. It is likely this ‘paradise’ was inspired by the town of Bellagio, which rests on the Italian slopes, above Lake Como.
The hotel opened in 1888 and the estate grew steadily during the early 20th century. However, hotel business was slow in post Second World War years and never recovered. The elaborate building was difficult to manage and was demolished in 1960, to make way for a further 14 houses.
The concept of a peaceful place to live, amidst a leafy park just 28 miles from London, has continued to flourish.