Halton House is a country house in the Chiltern Hills above the village of Halton in Buckinghamshire, England. It was built for Alfred de Rothschild between 1880 and 1883. It is currently used as the main officers’ mess for RAF Halton.
Lady Mary Crawley doesn’t care for Haxby Park, but she does concede that its staircase is prettier than Downton’s. For anyone who ever wanted to see more of it, check out this fantastic gallery of Halton House, which served as the interior for Haxby in S2 of Downton Abbey! (Waddeson Manor provided the exterior. Both houses, incidentally, were Rosthschild family members’ homes.)
You may remember that on Downton, Haxby originally belonged to the Russell family, who abandoned the house after son Billy’s death in WWI “knocked the stuffing out of them.” Halton’s history makes it an apt choice for the fallen estate Richard purchases:
Alfred was a superb host, and his greatest pleasure was to give pleasure to others, whether as a philanthropist to the lowest kitchen maid or host to Emperor, Tsar, or Shah. At Halton all were entertained. However, Halton’s glittering life lasted less than thirty years. The last party was in 1914 at the outbreak World War I. Devastated by the carnage of the war, Alfred’s health began to fail and he died in 1918. Alfred had no legitimate children, so the house was bequeathed to his nephew Lionel Nathan de Rothschild. He detested the place and sold the contents at auction in 1918. The house and by now diminished estate were purchased for the Royal Air Force by the Air Ministry for a bargain £115,000; a ridiculously low price even by the standards of the day. [x]