'Discreet' 230 year-old house in Cork on the market for €1.8m
Tucked away from the main road, Menloe House has seen a lot in its 230-odd years
Through its 236-odd years of existence, Menloe House, at Blackrock Road in Cork city, has been home to a succession of clergymen and lawyers and suchlike pillars of society. But back in the 18th century when the house was built, society was structured differently and these classes were placed low in the social hierarchy.
The whole business was explicitly set out by the merchant, statistician and dedicated pamphleteer Patrick Colquhoun, who saw a gap in the publishing market for a handy, at-a-glance guide to the British class structure.
In 1814 he published 'A Treatise on the Wealth, Power, and Resources of the British Empire in Every Quarter of the World'. A subheading added 'Including the East Indies', lest any reader be daft enough to suppose that the East Indies were playing by rules of their own.
Colquhoun included a table showing seven social strata, not including the army and navy. Royalty was at the top, along with anyone ranked above a baronet. Second were baronets and country gentlemen. Third were "eminent" clergymen, lawyers and doctors, along with "bankers of the first order".
This left ordinary (not eminent) clergymen, lawyers and doctors - the sort of people who have lived at Menloe House - right in the middle, in fourth place. Beneath them were shopkeepers and publicans, followed by artisans and labourers, and at the bottom were paupers and criminals.
Menloe House is for sale today for €1.8m - possibly a bit beyond the reach of those in the middle of today's class hierarchy. But lawyers and doctors (if not clergymen) have moved up the social ladder in the past 200 years, and may well be eyeing the property with interest.
The house once stood proudly on its own considerable grounds, but its former street frontage is now occupied by other properties. This, if anything, makes it more discreet than it was, as you can see nothing of it from the road except for its limestone entrance pillars and its two-storey gate lodge.
From the lodge you make your way about 65 metres up a leafy gravel driveway to the main house. The fanlit front door is sheltered by a portico described by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as a "Tuscan tetrastyle portico with triglyphs and garlands to frieze, cornice with mutules surmounted by leaded parapet", which is enough to leave anyone sobbing with exhaustion over a dictionary.
The house faces north, which means all the best rooms have been sensibly arranged at the back. And there's a full-height bow on the southern elevation too, to take even better advantage of the light.
The ground floor has three reception rooms off the entrance hall. First there's a drawing room to the right, dual aspect, with windows facing south and west. It has an oak floor and a marble fireplace, and there are sliding doors to the southern patio.
Next to this is the dining room, which has the bow window overlooking the garden. There's another oak floor in here as well as an art deco fireplace and a built-in drinks cabinet - handy for when dinner is taking too long.
In the north-west corner is a family room, also with a marble fireplace and sliding doors to the patio. And there's another built-in drinks cabinet here - handy for when you're too lazy or too over-refreshed to make it to the dining room next door.
The kitchen is to the left of the entrance hall, in the north-eastern corner of the house, with windows facing north and east, and a utility room off. It has a terrazzo tiled floor, an oil-fired Aga and, this time, a built-in wine rack. (There's really not much risk of sobriety in this house.)
The four bedrooms are all on the first floor. The master bedroom occupies one corner and has an en-suite bathroom and dressing room, while the second bedroom has the bow window corresponding to the dining room downstairs, and a tiled fireplace. There's also a study on this level, and a family bathroom with a Jacuzzi bath.
Above that, on the second floor there's a gym, an office and some store rooms. In total the floor space of the house amounts to 4,000 sq ft.
The 825 sq ft gate lodge going with the property has an open-plan living room, dining room and kitchen divided by a chimney breast, as well as two bedrooms (one en-suite) and a shower room.
Menloe is on about an acre, and has a garage and stables as well as the gate lodge. The gardens are lawned and surrounded by mature ornamental trees, and the patio around the southern and western parts of the house includes a pond with a fountain.
It's for sale with Savills in Cork (021) 427 1371 with an asking price of €1.8m.
Blackrock Road, Cork
Asking price: €1.8m
Agent: Savills in Cork (021) 427 1371