For me, my contemporaries and for previous generations of Maldonians, 116 High Street is (and always will be) The Gables.
For about 60 years the building with that name was a residential children’s home and I remember stories told to me about the place by the late Councilor Brian Mead and the talented plasterer / pargeter, Bob Hope, who both grew up there, and by my old friend, Maldon artist Charlie Tait, who said art forger Eric Hebborn was also a resident and honed his painting skills there. illicit.
Ironically, their old dining room (the back room on the right) is still used as a dining area today, but the food and ambiance are a long way from the time.
As early as 1933 the house was managed by Mr. and Mrs. Jones on behalf of Essex County Council.
They were, in 1937, replaced as “superintendents” by another married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Abraham.
The Gables only closed as a children’s home in the 1990s, and after a short period as a family center, this long chapter in the building’s history came to an end. However, 116 had been used for many other purposes before the 1930s and had been since the 1990s.
The main part of the building, an impressive (listed) townhouse, was built towards the end of the 18th century. Two balanced side wings (now 114 The Barbershop and 116a Skin Sorcerer) were added in 1858.
This expansion work was undertaken by Maldon traders, Samuel Baxter (the mason), Edward Spurgeon and Robert Tydeman (carpenters) and George Osborne (plumber) for the owner, artist Robert Nightingale.
Robert had studied at the Royal Academy under the direction of the royal artist, Sir Edwin Landseer, famous for the “Monarch of the Glen”.
Number 116 served as both Robert’s family home and workshop, and he became a prominent painter of animals (especially horses and dogs).
By 1878 the Nightingles had moved and the building became a medical practice under the aegis of Dr Edward Parker Gutteridge and Dr Henry Reynolds Brown.
They were, in turn, replaced by Robert P Mumford, MA (Oxon), who was Principal of Maldon Grammar School from 1904 to 1912. In addition to living at 116, he also ran a private boys’ school in building.
In 1913 it became a private home with a Mr. HR Harmer in residence, and with the advent of the Great War it was requisitioned for use as an officers’ mess by military personnel stationed in town in transit to forehead.
The building as it is today
After the armistice of 1918 it became what has been described as a “first class pension establishment” – “the private hotel Gables”. This was initially headed by Mrs. Isobel S Lamont, then (from 1929) Miss Ann Brown.
And so we come to the beginning of that long time when it was a children’s home. After the possible closure of the house and after a period of vacancy, in 2006, a building permit was granted to convert the ground floor into a restaurant.
In 2008, this duly opened under the name “Intimo”, a family business dedicated to creating “the real taste of Italy”. We had a lot of great meals there and Juliana and I really miss those fun times.
Ten years after its founding Juliana and her family left, but ‘Intimo-Fresco’ continued under new owner and new management and was equally special, serving great food.
Then, in 2021, 116 underwent a new renovation. The sumptuous decor is now the signature of what is called the “Chutney House”, with an extensive menu inspired by traditional Indian ingredients.
It is presented as a place of elegance and with more than a nod to the building’s past, offering both a style of 18th century grandeur and modern.
The Indian restaurant Chutney House
In this respect, the circle has come full circle – the current occupants look back and respect the origins of the 116, but also think a lot about “here and now” and a modern gastronomic offer.
I am happy to tell you that, following a recent visit, I can confirm that the food certainly does not disappoint. Sitting in what was the old dining room of The Gables, I looked around and thought of all this legacy – an intense story wrapped in just four walls.
From the private house, artist’s studio, doctor’s office, school, a place where the ghosts of the officers of the Great War, many of whom enjoyed their last civilized meal here, are still present, at the private school, the hotel , a children’s home that nurtured the great and the good (and the infamous), and an ongoing period of culinary hospitality, 116 has really seen it all.