Sir John Kirkland (1796-1871) was an army agent, providing a banking service to soldiers and their families, and was also military agent to Prince Albert. He was knighted at the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838. He lived in some very grand homes in London, Surrey, Sussex and Scotland, and also at Foots Cray Place and Beckenham Place in Kent.
In August 1861 Sir John Kirkland purchased the Black Fen Farm, a substantial residence and farm, surrounded by arable and meadow land, on the west side of Days Lane. He named the estate Queen’s Wood (presumably after the reigning monarch and perhaps inspired by the nearby Crown Woods). At the same time he purchased adjoining farmland towards Avery Hill and Days Lane Farm to the south, near Halfway Street.
Items specified in Sir John Kirkland’s will of 1866 include:
• gold inkstand and pair of gold candlesticks, a gift from Queen Victoria in 1852
• portraits of Her Majesty and the Prince Consort sent to Sir John from Osborne on 18 January 1862
• onyx pin containing a portrait of the Prince with a personal inscription from Queen Victoria sent from Balmoral on 19 May 1862.
Sir John Kirkland was buried at St George’s, Beckenham. He is remembered in ‘Kirkland Close’ in Blackfen.