Monckton House was built in 1850 for James Biden (born 1803), a Gosport Brewer. At that time the land was pasture. He married Miss Symonds, the only daughter of Captain Symonds R.N. in 1837.
Of a religious persuasion, he contributed to the Association for Promoting the Revision of the Payer Book, according to the Report for 1862. He wrote several religious tracts published in Gosport, including 'The True Church' 'Truths Maintained' 'The Bible Plan Unfolded' 'The Church and Her destinies' 'The Baptism' The Keys of the Kingdon of Heaven', 'The Eucharist', some of which were controversial.
In 1855 he raised a petition to The Stokes Bay Railway and Pier Bill, complaining that the standing orders had not been complied with.
He was a patron of the Southampton Homeopathic Dispensary and a shareholder in the South Hampshire Banking Company, 1851.
The Biden family acquired The Sea Horse Brewery, Seahorse Street ( James Arthur Ley Biden and William Vernon Biden). One source (A Century of British Brewers 1890-1990) says the brewery was built around 1800 and purchased by the Biden family in 1846. Biden & co was registered in 1896. It owned 43 pubs in Gosport and the surrounding area until it was bought by United in 1818 and taken over in 1921.
According to a typescript in Gosport Museum (presumably compiled from the title deeds to the house) James Biden bought the land in 1849 from Mr Ruff and resided there until his death in October 1872 at the age of 70. His widow sold the house to Captain George Grant R.N. (the 1878 directory lists the house as being occupied by George Grant esq. J.P.). William Grant, resident of Monckton House, was elected Director of the South Western Railway Company in October 1900. In 1901 (1907?) Monckton House was sold to another local brewer Jack Blake. In 1941 it was requisitioned and used as a hostel for WRNS from HMS Dolphin. In 1943 it was bought from Major J. Blake, by George Northcott (Alverstoke Properties) of Bury Hall, a local entrepreneur and property speculator.
In 1951 the Admiralty held Monckton House under requisition and proposed using it as a Royal Naval Medical School & Physiological Laboratory, including 12 acres or grounds, a use that it still retains. In 1954 the Admiralty purchased the freehold. Monckton House is a Grade II listed building.
According to Hampshire County Council's Archivist it contains the Royal Naval Medical Service Historic Library, Archives and Artefacts, comprising hundreds of photographs and other papers: a mix of bequests, gifts and official material. Among the photographs, which appear to form the majority of the archive, are those from RNH Haslar's photographic department, as well, for example, as pictures of medical officers in charge of Haslar and other personnel. In addition are official papers such as captain's requests for training division, and other documents including plans and engravings of Haslar Hospital, medical officers' scrapbooks, and odd items such as an 1804 letter from on board ship, referring to Nelson. One very unusual item is said to be a medieval manuscript of the Koran.
|Monckton House (Thanks to Alan Fulford)
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(Thanks to Philip Eley for corrections and additions to this text)