Stanwell Place, a house full of history

Article by Kwasi for Heathrow Villager

One of the forgotten treasures of the borough of Spelthorne was Stanwell Place, a house full of history, with sad associations.

It stood about half a mile to the west of St Mary’s church in Stanwell. The last house to be situated on the site is believed to have been built in the early 19th century by the Gibbons family, who held the manorial rights to Stanwell Manor from 1754 to the 1930s.

In 1933 Stanwell Place was sold to Sir John Gibson, who was knighted in 1945 for his work as a civil engineer during the war. Much of the surrounding estate had already been sold to the local authority, and converted to develop the King George VI reservoir.

The Sir John Gibson pub, which used to be known as the Happy Landing, is named after him. Unfortunately, Gibson did not enjoy the house for very long, as he died in 1947.

After his death, Stanwell Place was sold, together with the remaining 22 acres, to the King Faisal II of Iraq. Faisal himself was at that time a 13 year old boy, about to enter Harrow school. By all accounts, the young King enjoyed his visits to England and some local residents still remember Faisal and members of his family with affection.

Sad to say, Faisal himself was brutally murdered in a coup in Iraq which took place in 1958, the beginning of a dark period in Iraq’s history. Much to the disappointment of local residents, the house fell into disrepair and neglect. It was finally torn down in the 1960s.”