After the War, the CHATTELL family moved to Hammerwood. They recognised the problem of how such a large house could be usefully preserved, and eventually divided the house into eleven apartments, thinking that this would ensure its long-term preservation. The flats became vacant, however, as dry-rot mushrooms appeared on the walls. But when it was sold by auction in 1973, a pop group had another idea.
LED ZEPPELIN dreamed of a musical centre with a recording studio and living accommodation for the members of the group and their families. Plans were drawn but never executed due to their increasing commitments abroad and the worsening problem of the dry-rot.
Hammerwood made an appearance at the beginning of their film The Song Remains the Same, in which they were depicted driving up to the house whilst shooting up Nazis from inside a vintage car. Reputedly, one very large and loud concert (presumably an informal gathering) was also held at the house which attracted enough complaints from surrounding residents that it was not repeated.
During this time, massive vandalism took place and three tons of lead were removed from the roof, allowing thousands of gallons of water to enter in fourteen different places, which then fed wet rot. Dry rot galloped throughout the structure. The house was boarded up in 1976 and offered for sale over the following years. Whilst the group were criticised at the time, at least their ownership removed the house from the property market and the commercial developers, paving the way for a subsequent restoration.
Eventually in June 1982, Hammerwood Park was advertised for sale in Country Life. Its condition had deteriorated so much that only a sketch illustrated the full page advertisment with underneath those ominous words: 'In need of modernisation'. Photographs (see below) would have been too off-putting.