During the war, in 1917, the main eighteenth century block of Copped Hall was largely burnt-out in a disasterous fire one Sunday morning. Much of the contents were saved by many items were also lost. The family moved to Wood House on the estate which had been built by Ernest Wythes towards the end of the 19th century. The move was supposed to be temporary but in the end Mr.Wythes never rebuilt Copped Hall.
The gardens were all kept up until the second world war. The wing and the conservatory were untouched by the fire. The laundry and the stables and motor house were kept in use with their staff. The walled garden continued to produce flowers, fruit and vegetables – some of which were sold to Covent Garden. This produce supplied the Wood House and the London house.
Mr.Wythes died in 1949 and his wife died in 1951. The estate was sold in 1952 and at that time anything of value that could be stripped from the house and gardens was sold. The wing was stripped of its timberwork, the staircases were removed from the mansion and wing.
Railings and gates were sold, garden balustrading, statues, steps, etc. were mostly removed. Even many of the ancient specimen trees were cut down for their timber. The conservatory was eventually dynamited. Later the M25 was driven through a corner of the landscaped park.
Although this destruction was very serious, the essential identity of Copped Hall remained. The mansion shell was in surprisingly good condition - although it needed stabilising – and the structure of the gardens was still present. The motorway was at a sufficient distance from the house to be largely ignored. Copped Hall and its park was still a very attractive and historic place.
However, once the M25 was built, Copped Hall became a developer's dream. Large scale schemes were proposed again and again. After many battles against such proposals, the parkland was saved by the Corporation of London who purchased it in 1992. The specially formed Copped Hall Trust saved the mansion and gardens by purchasing these in 1995.