Hillside was the childhood home of Sir Richard Burton.
Hillside was previously known as both ’Clockhouse’ and ’Barham House
William Putland built the adjacent Coach House (still standing as two semi detached houses) in 1789. Barham House
was built sometime between that date and 1820 for it was, in the 1820s, the home of a Samuel Baker. He was the grandfather of Richard Burton, a renowned Victorian explorer. Richard Burton was born in Torquay (Devon) in 1821 but christened at St Nicholas Church, Elstree. He spent a lot of his boyhood at the house.
The newsletter of the Elstree and Borehamwood Museum noted in 2014:
"Richard Burton became an Oxford scholar, explorer, archaeologist, diplomat, writer, translator, linguist (he could speak 25 languages in later years), and expert swordsman. He was always looking for new experiences to escape from what he termed ’The slavery of civilisation’. He had the looks to match his adventurous spirit, being 6 foot tall and athletically built with fierce, mustachioed facial features. His imposing prize fighter looks were made even more impressive when, on one of his many travels, a Somali spear penetrated his left cheek and exited his right removing his back teeth en route. He was left with a permanent, jagged scar. Heavily disguised he made journeys to the Holy cities of Mecca and Medina, fully aware that detection would mean certain death. His accounts of those travels astounded Victorian society and made him famous. He spent many months trying to find the source of the Nile but, despite braving hostile tribes and tropical diseases, was unsuccessful in this endeavour.
Sir Richard Burton was knighted in 1886.
In his later years he translated the Kama Sutra into English (anonymously) and then produced a 16 volume translation of the Arabian
Nights which he published under his own name. When he died in Trieste in 1890 his wife burned all his diaries and manuscripts and 40 years of work, written by this extraordinary man, went up in smoke."
was built on the site of the house - on 1930s maps this was called "Sarum Avenue". This sounds like a case of a name being given by word of mouth and misheard!