Benjamin Henry Latrobe.

1764 - 1820

Benjamin Henry Latrobe was born in 1764 at Fulneck in Yorkshire. He was the Second son of the Reverend Benjamin Latrobe (1728 - 86), a minister of the Moravian church, and Anna Margaretta (Antes) Latrobe (1728 - 94), a third generation Pennsylvanian of Moravian Parentage. The original Latrobes had been French Huguenots who had settled in Ireland at the end of the 17th Century. Whilst he is most noted for his work on The White House and the Capitol in Washington, he introduced the Greek Revival as the style of American National architecture. He built Baltimore cathedral, not only the first Roman Catholic Cathedral in America but also the first vaulted church and is, perhaps, Latrobes finest monument.

Hammerwood Park achieves importance as his first complete work, the first of only two in this country and one of only five remaining domestic buildings by Latrobe in existence. It was built as a temple to Apollo, dedicated as a hunting lodge to celebrate the arts and incorporating elements related to Demeter, mother Earth, in relation to the contemporary agricultural revolution. Latrobe was a master exponent of symbolism. Hammerwood's composition displays all of Latrobe's latent genius which he took to the States, designing both the house and the park as an essay in perspective as well as the picturesque. In this, Latrobe's work at Hammerwood achieves perfection.
In 1997, the Heritage Lottery Fund enabled the purchase by the Latrobe Heritage Trust of Latrobe's first perspective drawing of "Hammerwood Lodge". We hope to be inserting further details on this page. The drawing is extraordinary in that it relates both to Hammerwood Park and Ashdown House as built, Latrobe's conception of the South portico of teh White House and his 1808 drawing of The Capitol in Washington. Watch this space and bookmark this page!

Come and visit or stay during the summer.

More about Latrobe from the Guide Book is below. Here's
Please come back to us after the White House, however for a tour and to sign our visitors' book at the end.
The White House tell their visitors nothing about Latrobe although his work on the building gives it its distinctive international "face". Latrobe is so underappreciated at The White House that, for instance Nancy Reagan once replied to us saying she was unaware that Latrobe had anything to do with the place!