The Gate House was part of Heathfield House and Estate, the home of famous inventor James Watt. Watt was the partner of Matthew Boulton and responsible for the improved steam engine which powered the Soho Works.
Heathfield House was built for James Watt during the 1790s. Watt employed architect Samuel Wyatt who had designed Soho House for Boulton. The Heathfield Estate was laid out as park land, occupying the area where North and West Drives are today. The Gate House was a later addition to the estate and Watt, who died in 1819, did not live to see it.
Heathfield House was demolished in 1924 and the land sold for new housing, but there are several reminders of its past glories. The Gate House is one of these and so is the Guest House, which can be found in the original plans and is on West Drive. James Watt’s workshop also survives because his descendant Major J.M. Gibson Watt presented the workshop to the nation when Heathfield House was demolished. The contents were moved to the London Science Museum where an exact replica was built, this can be viewed by visiting the website: http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/galleries/watts_workshop.aspx
Anthony Smiley is of Jamaican heritage and was born in Dudley where he lived before moving to Handsworth in the early 1980s. At school he was very good at woodwork, which he did with a passion. He followed this up with a career in carpentry – his first job was making kitchens. He has maintained his passion and become a property developer and owner.