During the first part of the 19th century Copped Hall was little altered, its occupant, Henry Conyers (1782-1853) being more concerned with enjoying the place than improvements. His daughters did not appear to carry out any improvements before the estate was sold to George Wythes in 1869.
George Wythes (1811-1883) was an extremely wealthy man who had made his fortune in the construction of railways and as a developer. George Wythes never lived at Copped Hall, but bought the estate for his only son George (1839-1875) who lived there until his early death. During this time the mansion was given a new wing to the north to accommodate the rapidly expanding sophisication of the service requirements of a large house.
After George Wythes junior died, his two young sons went to live with their grandfather at Bickley Park near Bromley and Copped Hall was let for a period to a Mr.Burns. In 1887, four years after their grandfather had died, the elder of these two sons (George Wythes 1867-1887) also died aged 19 - so when the younger son (Ernest Wythes (1868-1949) inherited he came into two fortunes - his own and his older brother's.
Ernest Wythes started spending immediately. In 1890 he commissioned one of the largest yachts in the Royal Yacht Squadron in which he sailed round the world. In 1894 he married a member of the aristocracy - Aline Thorold (1869-1951). His half-sister married the 4th Marquess of Bristol. Copped Hall simply was not grand enough and from 1893 Ernest Wythes set about making substantial improvements.
The stables were largely rebuilt and completed in 1894. In 1895 the fairly new wing was replaced by a larger one. The mansion roof line was given a balustrade and elaborate chimney tops. The stone architraves that existed on the east front were repeated on all the windows and the central portion of the west front was encased in stone featuring pillasters and carved pediment. The mansion forecourt was given grand railing screens with ornamental gates and piers. To the south a large elaborate stone conservatory or wintergarden was built - with a glazed corridor linking it to the mansion. The inside of the house was extensively remodelled and filled with a very important collection of pictures, furniture and objects.
At the same time as the works to the mansion, an extensive italianate architectural garden was constructed to the west of the mansion with temples, grand flights of steps, a parterre, gates, fountains and statuary. Other works were carried out in the gardens and on the estate.
By 1900 there were at least 31 gardeners and 27 house servants looking after the Copped Hall – together with all the farm workers. The Wythes were only at Copped Hall for part of the year. The rest of the time they were either at their house in London, in Scotland or abroad. When the family was not in residence the servants would clean the house and workmen would carry out building works.
View of the Hall from the North-West
Across the Garden Front towards the Conservatory
The Dining Room