The Founders – Grove and Pemberton
image: Thomas Newcomen Archibald Grove - Co-founder of Harewood Downs
Harewood Downs Golf Club was the brainchild of two men – Thomas Newcomen Archibald Grove and Busick Edward Pemberton. You may think those Christian names a little unusual, but what about Mr Pollock Hodsole? He was a founder member who failed to break one hundred in the 10th April 1909 medal! In the words of our much-missed Walter Butterworth, “that day he couldn’t hit a bull’s backside with a banjo”!
But back to our founders. Busick Pemberton was a London Solicitor whom Grove persuaded to finance his golf course project as a perceived business opportunity, following the extension of the Metropolitan line through Rickmansworth. Archie Grove, as he was known, was the entrepreneur. He was born in 1855, the son of Captain E Grove and Elizabeth, Daughter of Colonel Ponsonby Watts (another name to conjure with). The family lived in Pollard’s Park, Chalfont St. Giles and had owned the Harewood Downs farm from 1835 to 1892.
Grove, married to Kate Sarah, had an interesting life. He was educated privately and then at Oriel College, Oxford. He studied for the Bar at the Inner Temple. He was founder, proprietor and editor of the “New Review”, a JP in both Buckinghamshire and Essex and a politician. He was a liberal MP who unsuccessfully contested Winchester in 1886. He sat for West Ham North in 1892-95 and was member for South Northamptonshire from 1906 to 1910.
Grove was friendly with J M Barrie (of Peter Pan fame) and Sir Edwin Lutyens, the famous architect. He commissioned Lutyens to build Pollards Wood (now owned by Amersham International) in 1903. This is not to be confused with his family home, Pollards Park further along Nightingales Road. Unfortunately, he was apparently bankrupted while Pollards Wood was being built and Lutyens’ work there was not fully completed. Archie Grove was Chairman of Harewood Downs Golf Club from 1907 to 1909, but whether that position hastened his financial discomfort has not been revealed. He died on June 4th, 1920.
In 1892 the Grove family sold much of our current course to the owner of The Vache, Squire Thomas Newland Allen. However, in 1904, Archie Grove originated a scheme to repurchase the land to build a golf course. To avoid too much interest, the land was bought in parcels – partly by Grove, partly by his wife and a small section down the first fairway bordering Cokes Lane by Busick Pemberton. However, it was Pemberton who financed the whole of Grove’s purchase with a loan of £2, 453. This loan was secured with a mortgage in Pemberton’s favour on most of the land purchased.