Northampton House – Denmark Hill

For many years, a grand house stood on the west side of Denmark Hill around where the Co-Operative supermarket stands now.


The Co op Denmark Hill

It was called Northampton House and it was the home of Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington. He was born at Compton Wynates , the family home c 1683 and died aged 70 on 2 July 1743 in St James.

Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington c 1710

This portrait was painted c 1710. He was born the 3rd son of the 3rd Earl of Northampton and was educated at St Pauls and Trinity College, Oxford.

He represented as member of Parliament 3 constituencies : Eye East Grinstead and Sussex. He was Speaker of the House of Comons 1715-1727, Paymaster for the Forces 1722-1730, Lord Privy Seal in 1730, Lord President of the Council 1730-1742 and finally Prime Minister from 16 February 1742-2 July 1743.

He was created Baron Wilmington in 1728 and then Earl of Wilmington in 1730.

The following two images come from the Southwark Local History archives and show the front and rear view of Northampton House in the time of the 1st Earl of Wilmington.



Both images cleaned up by Nick Stevens, July 2016

In Dewhirst’s Map of 1842 you can see the House and the Grounds.

extract from 1842 Map of Camberwell by J Dewhirst

For a time, Compton became Treasurer to the Prince George of Denmark , husband of Queen Anne.

He was unmarried and when he died in July 1743 he left his entire fortune to his nephew, the 5th Earl of Northampton.

The next record I have come across for Northampton House is as a home to  Mr and Mrs John Norris. This advertisment from The Morning Advertiser 05 February 1829

Morning Post 05 feb 1829

and later the same year from the Hull Packet dated 4th August 1829

.Hull Packet 04 August 1829

Next, we have records from 1851, showing that Northampton House is now being used as a school run by Mr HA Matthews.

The Era 26 Jan 1851

This report on a public examination of Northampton School pupils in The Era, 19 December 1859

.West Camberwell Collegiate and Commercial School, Northampton House, The Era 19 Dec 1858

And again, another advertisment dated 11 May 1861  in the Cambridge Chronicle & Journal

Cambridge Chronicle and Journal 11 May 1861

By 1868, Northampton School was under the headship of The Rev A Farbrother.

Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette 18 April 1868

On January 30th, 1875 Mr HA Matthews, the former headmaster died aged 69 at his new home Malvern Cottage, Hackford Road, North Brixton and in 1881 Emma Matthews, his wife died in Fenny Stratford.

By 1876, Northampton House was now used as a showroom/shop, home to Robert Slagg a costumier and fancy goods seller.

South London Chronicel 25 Nov 1876

Added October 2016. This drawing in the Lambeth Archives dated c 1890 shows the Drapers & Milleners now in the charge of HB Collins.


According to Mary Boast in her book The Story of Camberwell, published in 2000 as part of the London Borough of Southwark, Neigbourhood History series no 1, Northampton House was demolished in 1908.

In it’s place was built the Golden Domes Cinema, which opened around late 1913/early 1914.

Golden Domes Cinema undated

In 1952 it was renamed the Rex Cinema and renamed again as the Essoldo Cinema from 8th January 1956. It remained as a cinema until it’s closure on 1st August 1964.

Essoldo Cinema, August 1964 formerly Golden Domes, now supermarket

This photo was taken in August 1964 just before it’s closure as the Essoldo Cinema.It then became a series of supermarkets unfortunately with grand facade removed. A Kwik-Save

Kwik Save Denmark Hill

then Somerfield

Somerfield Denmark Hill Photo by Mike Hedgethorne 2009

Photo by Mike Hedgethorne, 2009

and lastly a Co-operative. (see photo at top of article).



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