Highgate Kenwood

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Bishopswood Road

Preserves the old name ‘Bishops Wood’ - marked thus on the Ordnance Survey map of 1822. earlier ‘Byssehopeswode’ c.1387, that is 'the bishop's wood", from Middle English ‘bishop’ and ‘wode’, this being part of the Bishop of London's manor in Hornsey from the earliest times.

Skirts Highgate School Playing Fields with school buildings interspersed with stately Victorian houses in pale brick, elaborately detailed.

Broadlands Road

Cut Through Lane or Nightingale Lane (not on AZ)

A wide passageway between the Kenwood kitchen garden and the stable block. This path is a short cut to Millfield Lane leading to Highgate Ponds and West Hill.

Two stones mark the Old parish boundary between Hornsey and St. Pancras parishes at the end of the lane. They are situated in what was once the dividing ditch, which has been filled. English Heritage has installed notice boards and a poop scoop point for dogs immediately over the stones which, for a time, were turfed over. Now the turves have worn, the tops of the two stones may be seen again at ground level. The stone nearest Hampstead Lane is for Hornsey Parish and its date concealed below ground is 1823. The more southerly stone next to it is for St. Pancras dated 1830.

Fitzroy Park

Name from Fitzroy House, a Palladian villa 1770 for Colonel Charles Fitzroy Lord Southampton. Demolished in 1828.  Brown landscaped grounds cover this area.   Now a number of houses post war. Site of Sherrick's Hole Farm. Millionaires. Can be reached from Hampstead Lane via The Grove. This is the former carriage drive, remained a secluded country lane until the later c20, and became a favourite place for select houses by architects for themselves.

10 Vincent Harm’s own house, 1932-4, Bequeathed by Harris to the Borough of Camden; now used for a horticultural training scheme.

6 by Ove Arup 1958 for himself. 

The Elms. Shabby and characterful. Set back, modest country villa by Basevi for himself. Behind its own lodge and drive. Much added to, but its core is still the modest country villa The site of The Elms had previously been that of Mother Huff's tea-house and gardens for fifty years. It was referred to in 1705 in Baker's comedy Hampstead Heath when it was performed at Drury Lane: Well, this Hampstead's a charming place, to dance all Night at the Wells, be treated at Mother Huff's, to have presents made one at the Raffling-Shops, and then to take a walk in Cane Wood with a Man of Wit that's not over rude,

Hampstead Lane

There was woodland until suburban streets were laid out from c. 1910. Much of the development was by Walter Quennell, with many houses designed by his brother C.H.B. Quennell in a free English domestic style

Athlone Hospital. Was Caen Wood Towers. Now geriatric department of Middlesex Hospital. Garden design there, especially rhododendrons. Much simplified.   Sculpture. An ambitious Victorian red brick villa with superb views to the s. 1870-2 by E. Salomons & J.P. Jones for Edward Brooke, patentee of Magenta. Much simplified. Originally with elaborate shaped gables, an oriel, and carved supporters instead of pinnacles on the tower above the porch. The sculpture was by J. P. Philip; the chimneys of Cosseyware.

Beechwood House. One of the few surviving mansions. Dr.Johnson's summer house. Built c. 1834 in the grounds of the former Fitzroy House by George Basevi for his brother.    

Bishop's Wood

Lodges for Kenwood

Mutton Wood

South Wood

The Logs

Wild wood

Boundary of the Bishops Park course is marked today by the granite setts across Hampstead Lane

Long high wall at Kenwood. This great wall gives the impression of a barrier to keep people out. But it does not continue by Kenwood House and its purpose was to screen the kitchen garden to protect it from cold from the north. Flues from fires that could be lit in cold weather still exist on the south side of the wall. Both this garden wall and the service buildings between here and Kenwood House were part of a 1793-96 development.


Cul de sac with timber buildings. Leonard Michaels six restrained brick and timber-clad houses of the 1960s

Highfields Grove


Kenwood House. The house is iced with brilliantly-painted stucco like an enormous cake.  A private house until as late as 1927, it as 18th-century Adam interiors and a notable collection of pictures bequeathed by its last owner, the Earl of Iveagh, head of the Guinness brewing family.  It was built in 1616, and remodelled in 1764 when it was essentially a ruinous castle using  Old monastic buildings. In 1665 Fifth Monarchist men were there and murdered people there.It was owned by the Bill family until 1790 when Brydges rebuilt it  and then sold it in 1704. In 1715 owned by the Argyle family. The 1st Earl of Mansfield bought Kenwood in 1754 and transformed it to the designs of Robert Adam.  On the south facade Adam applied a decorative scheme entirely of stucco, one of the earliest examples of this technique, using a material which had been patented by the Adam brothers.. William Murray, very clever who was Lord Chief Justice for 32 years. He was the third Earl of Mansfield who reversed John Wilkes conviction. Gordon rioters tried to burn it down but they got drunk at the Spaniards first.  In 1914 London County Council bought much of the grounds, Guinness bought the house and left it to the public. Unexploded bomb on the terrace. It houses a very important collection of paintings, including works by the great English painters, a magnificent Rembrandt self-portrait and a famous Vermeer.  Its has a superb library.created from 1767, one of the finest of Adam's interiors with the niches inspired by the Roman Pantheon and the blue and white stucco ceiling by Joseph Rose of Yorkshire with painted panels by Antonio Zucchi, who accompanied Adam on his trip to Dalmatia and who came to work for the firm in London in 1767. Features in films 'Notting Hill’, ‘The Upside of Anger’.

Very magnificent Repton garden with maze like rhododendrons. Bird feeders, tits and nuthatches. The estate was long and thin from Kenwood House to the top of Parliament Hill but only the width of the Wood. The early rectangular Jacobean garden running  from the House to the lake was swept away and the ground landscaped to the present 'natural' contours. The lake had been linked visually by what is now the Concert Pond to give the appearance of a river sweeping round the Wood and dropping down the Highgate Ponds to London. How much the land from the Wood to Parliament Hill was landscaped we do not know, but we do know that many hedges were removed.  Mansfield looked to Highgate over Fitzroy Park, to Jack Straw's Castle over Evergreen Hill and to Hampstead over the Maryon Wilson fields. And as this splendid landscape was open to the view of the local inhabitants

Ponds source of the Fleet. Concert Pond. Sham bridge probably 1780s.

Birdcage made for Festival of Britain by Reg Butler.  Work in metal.


Dairy cottage

Model Farm

Sculpture Henry Moore reclining figure

Billgate, near Kenwood. Home of Southwood Smith who is the grandfather of Octavia Hill. He was a doctor and a sanitary engineer and he contributed to the 1842 report on the Poor Law Board and was one of the first members of the General Board of Health

Barracks in the stable

Dr.Johnson's summerhouse, burnt down. Was a charming thatched rustic hut was originally at the home of the Thrales, in Streatham. Here the great Doctor took tea with Mrs. Thrale.

Empyrean. Monolith by Barbara Hepworth. In Corrib limestone 1953

Lake - near a seat, the infant Fleet bubbles up out of the lawn to feed the lake

St. Pancras boundary with Finchley. A path by the lawn west of Kenwood House which through shrubberies on both side is close to the Finchley boundary but just inside St. Pancras parish.

Iron plate on an oak tree near a short path to the car-park. Until the autumn of 1993 an iron plate of 1791 was fixed to the foot of the tree and its supporting piece of metal may still be seen sticking up from the ground against the tree which now has a fence round it.  It was of oval design marked 'S P x P 1791'. On the left of the tree at its base is a small Finchley stone of 1845 embedded in the trunk giving some indication of how the tree has grown in the last 150 years.

Farm Cottage, and Dairy Cottage. Remains of Kenwood Farm.

Three fallen stones on a mossy hillock above the embankment of the path out to the meadows near Farm and Dairy cottages opposite the private entrance to the staff yard and a  notice marked 'Staff only'.   These three stones mark the place where St. Pancras and Finchley meet Hampstead parish

Tarmac path which continues from Cut Throat Lane as a passageway across the grass is not marked on nineteenth century maps. It was constructed after the stables became a staff yard with access out into Parliament Hill Fields, sometime after 1924, in time for King George V to use it when he opened the woodland and meadow at Kenwood to the public on 18th July 1925.

Ditch  which may just be discerned as a shallow depression in the ground parallel to the raised path running by the fence south of Kenwood House. The parish boundary follows the course of the old ditch marked by boundary plates and stones, with the site of old Hampstead Lane a few feet further north. The filled ditch formed the southern edge of the bishop of London's hunting park. In a deed of 1226 granting the site of Kenwood to Holy Trinity Priory, Aldgate, the estate is described as being wood and heath enclosed on all sides with a ditch in the parish of St. Pancras of 'Kentisseton' next the park of the bishop of London. This section of boundary would have had an earthen bank and hedge to enclose the deer during the middle ages. The hedge was probably south of the lane, which was inside the bishop's park, between the lane and the ditch. Remnants of the hedge are suggested by the line of oaks by the footpath. Some of these trees were probably planted before the landscaping of 1793-6 when the stable block was built. Any surviving mediaeval hedge would have been lost then.  The ditch was still there in 1887. The path and depression of the ditch are separated by the oak trees. This is a remarkable survival of an original hedge of the parish and manor boundary and the trees lean into the ditch from the raised carriageway. It is the only place where the ditch is discernible in Hornsey parish, no doubt because it was enlarged to form the boundary of the bishop's hunting park at a time when there would originally have been a fence to be succeeded in later years with a thick hedge. The Hornsey manorial boundary is certainly pre-Conquest, but the records of the Bishop of London's lands are scanty. However the ditch of Hampstead with St. Pancras is one such boundary, surrounding the estate on which Kenwood stands today, and this was recorded as being 'heath and woodland enclosed by a ditch' in 1226 so it is probable the ditch has survived from that time

Path running by the fence south of Kenwood House. This raised path follows the original course of Hampstead Lane before it was diverted by Lord Mansfield in 1793-96.  Beyond the enclosed nursery gardens, markers have survived along the course of old Hampstead Lane further east, but they are either by the back walls of houses in Hampstead Lane or, in the case of mansions such as Beechwood and Caenwood Towers, in the gardens. 

Carriageway - Just a few yards down the slope on the carriageway there is another Hornsey boundary plate, no. 296, and a St. Pancras stone, no. 209, undated but with a clear inscription on the back.  This is on the old course of Hampstead Lane, standing at its junction with old Millfield Lane - previously known as Millfield Farm Lane - which was used by a detachment of horse-guards sent to intercept the Gordon Rioters who were approaching Kenwood with malicious intent in June 1780.

Kitchen garden. Has a gravelled road running through it apparently following the former course of Hampstead Lane but not aligned to the boundary markers. The kitchen garden down to the fence by Athlone House was developed in 1793-96. In the garden the levelling of the ground into two flat areas for tennis courts since 1924 is very apparent. The garden has many attractive features including the flues in the walls dating from the time of its use for growing food, and a stepping stone sundial

Steep embankment dropping down to the Heath was made 1793 period, burying the earlier lane, hedge, and boundary ditch. Here the boundary is on the north side of the service road.

Gazebo or viewing point with a green pointed roof. From this viewpoint the towers of St. Pancras station may be seen, giving some idea of the extent of the parish. Neither the ancient parish church nor the eighteenth century St. Pancras church stand high enough to be visible. The St. Pancras manors are named in Domesday Book. From Beechwood to the distant steeple and extending southwards was the St. Pancras manor of Cantlowes from which Kentish Town derives its name.

Public Toilets.  Oak tree by the entrance to the ladies' toilet with Hornsey parish boundary plate no. 295, dated 1887, listing parish officials responsible for marking the parish boundary. They were: Gilbert Robins and Henry Reid, churchwardens; John Henry Borley, Christopher Melluish and Joseph G. Randall, overseers; and Alfred G. Tatham, vestry clerk. The plate is one of over 400 Hornsey parish marks recorded in that year. At that time the Hornsey Vestry was concerned about new housing developments in the parish obscuring known boundaries. A year was spent surveying and recording and then erecting additional posts before finally having a perambulation of the parish which lasted two days. This plate was moved to its present position more than ten years ago after it was knocked down and broken by a mower; staff felt it was safer closer to the tree. Previously it stood in the surviving triangle of grass between the converging footpaths. The Hornsey perambulation record of 1887 describes the site: New post south of ditch 9 ft from oak tree, nearly opposite east corner of stables midway between last post and footpath.

Hornsey marker in the fenced off area through a gate behind the restaurant and is not accessible. It is dated 1859 and was described in 1865 as being at the north-east pier by laundry of Lord Mansfield

Lawn. The parish boundary crosses the edge of the lawn nearest to the house and parallel to its front. Just inside the shrubbery is a post of 1887, no. 298. It is about fourteen yards from the point where the bushes end and the lawn begins and about six feet into the bushes. This section of boundary was disputed for a time. The entry in the Hornsey Perambulation Report of 1865 states, without mentioning any marker: Lord Mansfield's lawn. Boundary in dispute. St. Pancras vestry fixed a plate on a tree on the lawn. While Hornsey claimed the boundary followed a straight line across the front. Old prints of the house before Hampstead Lane was diverted show a wall and gateway closer to the house, presumably on the line of the parish boundary across the present lawn. The Ordnance Survey maps of 1863 were the first to be published at a scale of 25 inches to 1 mile and show the Hornsey and St. Pancras boundaries over-lapping at this point, in the shape of a triangle. The base is formed by the two Hornsey posts each side of the house being joined by a straight line passing near the edge of the present lawn, and the apex of the triangle being the St. Pancras post on an elm tree seventy yards north of the main door. This triangle of dispute was still shown on the 1873 O.S. map, but may well have been settled by 1888 when the London County Council was created, when the parish boundary, also became the county boundary with Middlesex and remained so until their abolition in 1965. When the London County Council was given the grounds in 1928, they were administering land which extended across the London County boundary into Middlesex.

Shrubbery behind a rough stone bollard is post no. 299 described in 1888 as under laburnums but these are no longer here. This post was disturbed a few years ago during replanting of the flower bed, and then re-instated nearer the drive where it is visible to the public. Also a post painted with the words ‘May Peace Prevail’.

Stone steps going up in the flower bed.. Parish markers appear by these steps which used to lead to Dr. Johnson's rustic summer house before it was destroyed. Here is a Hornsey post, no. 300, by a St. Pancras stone no. 211.

Two paths turn left at right angles. Between the junctions of these two paths but opposite them on the right is an important meeting place of three parishes, now beneath the shrubs. There are three stones: a Hornsey stone dated 1823, a St. Pancras stone no. 212, undated, and a Finchley stone of 1845.

Drive from the House to the car park there are Hornsey posts of 1887 on both sides and also a Finchley post high on the bank on the north side of the drive.

Footpath through North Wood. There are two stones to the south of this path near the tombstones of two animals. One is another Finchley stone of 1845 and the other a St. Mary Hornsey stone of 1823. To the north of this path, where there is a double bend, there is the oldest stone on this boundary. It was originally where the three parishes meet on the site of old Hampstead Lane. But was replaced and moved here to what was then the bare summit of the hill; The 1865 Hornsey Perambulation Report described it as being under a holly tree, and there is a thicket of holly by the stone. There is a Finchley stone of 1845 behind it.  Both sides were inscribed 1738. However the figure 3 has a Hat top like a 7 and the lower half is defaced. Similarly the upper half of the 8 is missing causing it to be misread as 6, and this has led to 1738 being read as 1776.

Close to the fence by Hampstead Lane boundary marker along the Hornsey-Finchley parish boundary and is inaccessible. This is a Hornsey post, number 306, of 1887.

Paths beyond Kenwood

Path through high banks towards the farm gate. St. Pancras boundary with Hampstead. By the sunken path there are two boundary stones low down in the bank just behind the fence. One of these was completely buried and only the top of it may be seen by looking down a hole. The higher stone is more visible, hexagonal and dark in colour seven yards from the gate behind the new fence on the left. These stones do not appear in the 1854 Hampstead Perambulation report, but the St. Pancras report of 1874 describes them: Stone inscribed "St. P.P. 1845. 215" standing, against the back Embankment on the South East side of the entrance to the Meadows from the Farm on Earl Mansfield's Estates; about 4 feet from this Stone stands a Stone with the inscription "St. P.P. 215A" and "St. l.H 1859"  - St. John Hampstead

Path beyond the gate to follow the path. Thirty yards from the gate a stone which is concealed by nettles in summer. This marks the site of a large elm tree which was depicted in the 1854 Hampstead Report. This records the site as having a Joint stone let into the Ground under an Elm Tree. This stone is numbered 216 on the St. Pancras side and 51 on the opposite side. The stone scarcely shows above ground now, but in the 1854 drawing there is a line across the top of the stone dividing it in half and the two inscriptions St. P.P. 1845 / St. l.H. 1845 on the upper surface of the stone. Most of the Hampstead side is still decipherable.

Path. Three young oak trees follow the line of the St.Pancras/Hampstead boundary. There should be St. Pancras stone number 217 but it is no longer visible. Thence, southwest, across the Meadow, where formerly was a hedge, cut down and levelled in 1845 probably the occasion when the ancient ditch was filled though traces may well survive below ground level. The 1845 stones come to an end where the ditch survives and this implies that the ditch was still considered an adequate boundary marker then. The Hampstead side of the boundary was owned by Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson, Lord of the Manor of Hampstead, but Kenwood's owner Lord Mansfield acquired it on a long lease and included this area and land now occupied by Mount Tyndal within a walk known as 'the extended circuit'.

Path off the main path on to a small foot path rising to an oak tree. At its foot a stone stands prominently out of the ground in the smaller footpath under the oak. It bears the inscriptions for the two parishes and a bench mark on its side. The stone is numbered 218 (St. Pancras) and 53 (St. John, Hampstead).

Small path after an oak tree is another stone. Here the number 219 still retains red paint in its lettering. It has suffered some damage on its corners from mowing machines and the clearing of undergrowth when it was presumably not visible.

Small path past another oak and past a clump of bushes and there is another oak tree well and under it the last of the joint stones. This is numbered 220 (St. Pancras) and 55 (St. John, Hampstead). The Hampstead report of 1854 described this stone as: Sunk stone on south side of Path leading from Kenwood to Mr Hodgson 's on Mr Hodgson 's grass.

Small path fallen tree. More boundary markers which are no longer visible.

Sheldon Avenue

Stormont Road

Grotto in Garden


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