Inventory Site Record

Golders Hill Park (Barnet)

Brief Description

Golders Hill Park is on the site of Golders Hill House and grounds, purchased at auction in 1898 by a committee of local residents. It was opened by the LCC in 1899, the first public park in Hendon. The estate was created in the 1760s for Charles Dingley, for whom 'Capability' Brown reputedly landscaped the grounds, which were improved by Humphry Repton for a subsequent owner. In the 1870s Robert Marnock made further alterations to create a 'natural gardening effect' and enlarged the lake. The café stands on the site of the house, demolished in 1941. The old kitchen garden was laid out by the LCC as an 'Old English Garden'. The park has a woodland garden walk leading to tennis courts, the Swan Pond and Water Gardens; animal enclosures, a small zoo and aviary; on the open grass slope are ancient oaks and a C20th bandstand; a number of sculptures.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Golders Hill House estate; Park is now part of Hampstead Heath
Site location:
West Heath Road/North End Road, Childs Hill
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
summer closing: 9.45pm (check opening/winter)
Special conditions:
no cycling, dogs on leads
Café, toilets, playground, tennis courts, aviary, animal enclosures; putting green (summer weekends/BHolidays); Greenhouse open Sat/Sun 2-4pm
Bandstand concerts (Sundays in summer); children's shows; Golders Hill Horticultural Clinic
Public transport:
Tube: Golders Green (Northern) then bus. Bus 210, 268.
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

Full Site Description

Golders Hill Park is on the site of the former Golders Hill House and its landscaped grounds, which was purchased at auction for £35,000 in 1898 by a committee of local residents led by Samuel Figgis and Thomas Barratt. The park was opened by the London County Council (LCC) in 1899, to become the first public park in Hendon. The estate had been created in the 1760s for Charles Dingley, for whom 'Capability' Brown reputedly landscaped the grounds. A subsequent owner, John Coore, probably had the landscape improved with advice from Humphry Repton, who refers in his Memoirs to advising Coore on his villa at Hampstead, i.e. Golders Hill. In the 1870s another landscape gardener, Robert Marnock, who had designed Avenue House Grounds (q.v.), made further alterations for Thomas Spencer Wells, a royal surgeon, aiming to create a 'natural gardening effect' and enlarging the lake. Additions were also made to the C18th house in the 1870s, but this was finally demolished in 1941 following damage in World War II; a café now stands on the site.

The old walled kitchen garden survives and was laid out by the LCC as an 'Old English Garden'; it is adjacent to the greenhouse, in front of a stream and duck pond traversed by a rustic stone bridge. The walled garden remains lavishly planted with a great variety of flowering species, including magnolia and gingko trees, around a central circular pond with fountain surrounded by pergolas. The fountain is a bronze sculpture, 'Young Tom and the Water Babies' by Bainbridge Copnall (1950), which has young Tom on a water lily surrounded by five different fish spouting water. It was originally commissioned for the Old Fashioned Garden in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets (q.v.) through the Constance Fund, which was set up in 1944 to beautify London's parks with sculptural gifts. Sadly Young Tom was vandalised repeatedly in his first home, and following the fountain's removal in 1973 it was reinstalled here in Golders Hill Park where it remains. Another bronze sculpture, 'Golders Hill Girl' by Patricia Finch (1991) was sited across the stream on the grass slope, and near the entrance on North End Road is a work in stone by Mark Batten, 'Diogenist'.

Along the northern perimeter is a woodland garden walk following the course of a stream through rhododendron, gunnera and bamboo to the tennis courts and the larger tree-lined Swan Pond and Water Gardens. The south-eastern side comprises an open grassy slope, with a few ancient oaks and a C20th bandstand of brick with pitched tiled roof. Further downhill are animal enclosures with deer and goats and a small zoo and aviary, which includes flamingos formerly inhabiting the duck pond. Beyond the park boundary is a wilder area of grassland and woodland adjoining the West Heath section of Hampstead Heath.

Golders Hill Park is part of Hampstead Heath (q.v.) and has been managed by the Corporation of London since 1989;

Sources consulted:

The Garden, vol.16, 13/12/1879, pp530-33 and vol.18, 31/7/1880, p105 (Barnet County File, H.P.G.T.); Andrew Crowe, 'The Parks and Woodlands of London' (Fourth Estate, 1987); G. Carter et al, Humphry Repton Landscape Gardener 1752-1818 (1882); B. Stevenson, Middlesex (1972); Victoria County History: Middlesex vol. VI, V; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); ‘A pictorial history of Victoria Park, London E3’, text and pictures collated by Philip Mernick and researched by Doreen Kendall, East London History Society, 1996, p.23

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ256870 (525642,186936)
Size in hectares:
(within Hampstead Heath)
Site ownership:
City of London Corporation
Site management:
Hampstead Heath Management Committee
1760s; 1870s; 1898
C18th: Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, Humphry Repton; 1870s: Robert Marnock;1898/9: LCC
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Metropolitan Importance
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Special Archaeological Significance
Other LA designation:
Metropolitan Park

Golders Hill Park

Golders Hill Park, July 2000. Photo S Williams

Golders Hill Park, Ornamental gardens, July 2000. Photo S Williams
Golders Hill Park, Young Tom and the Water Babies fountain,  July 2000. Photo S Williams
Golders Hill Park, Deer enclosure, July 2000. Photo S Williams
Golders Hill Park, Water Garden, July 2000. Photo S Williams
Hampstead, Golders Hill, The Bridge, postcard postmarked 1913 (private collection)
Views of Golders Hill Estate, c.1898. Courtesy of Barnet Local Studies & Archives
Bandstand, Golders Hill Park, undated postcard. Courtesy of Barnet Local Studies & Archives
The Rustic Bridge, Golders Green Park, undated postcard. Courtesy of Barnet Local Studies & Archives

Click a photo to enlarge.

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