"A lion of the London social season"
Widely known as ‘Colonel’ North - an honorary title bestowed by the Second Tower Hamlet Engineers - he invited the entire regiment of 250 to a yearly three day training camp under canvas in the Park grounds.
J.T. North's hospitality and generosity was legendary, and the open house at Avery Hill described as "sumptuous and hospitable" by the New York Times. North himself was celebrated as "a lion of the London social season" by the NYT. He regularly hosted lavish parties and hunts at Eltham, inviting his friend the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) and renting Crown Woods and Shooters Hill Park on one occasion.
North lived in his completed house for a little over five years. He died of a sudden heart attack after a lunch of oysters and porter in his Guano Syndicate offices in Gracechurch Street on 5th May 1896.
Read the New York Times account of Colonel North's life and death