Highlands Gardens (Barnet)
Highlands Gardens was formerly the garden of Highlands House, built in 1897 for Bevan Braithwaite, who probably laid out the gardens. When he sold the property in 1930 the house was converted into 8 flats, although it later reverted to a family home after 1951. It gradually deteriorated and was eventually demolished in 1972 when the current flats were built. During WWII the garden was dug up for vegetable plots. Now open to the public, the gardens retain features from the old layout, including terraced lawns and water-gardens up the western side, with C19th rock-works, cascade, rustic bridges and an octagonal wooden summer house.
- Site location:
- Leicester Road & Abbotts Road/Prospect Road, Barnet Vale
- EN5 5EB
- Type of site:
- Public Gardens
- Open to public?
- Opening times:
- Special conditions:
- no cycling
- Public transport:
- Tube: High Barnet (Northern) then bus. Bus 34, 84A, 234, 263, 307.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/05/2009
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.barnet.gov.uk
Full Site Description
Highlands Gardens was formerly the garden of Highlands House, built in 1897 for banker and government stockholder Bevan Braithwaite who probably laid out the gardens. Braithwaite was also an amateur astronomer whose telescope was housed in the copper dome that surmounted the building. When Braithwaite sold the property in 1930 the house was converted into 8 flats, although it later reverted to a family home after 1951. It gradually deteriorated and was eventually demolished in 1972 when the current flats were built. During WWII the garden was dug up for vegetable plots and the dome was painted black, as it was thought to represent an aid to aerial navigation.
The garden is a small site on sloping ground, enclosed by railings with a wooden lych-gate entrance at the junction of Leicester Road and Abbotts Road. There is a raised lawn terrace in front of which is a pergola walk, and up the western side are water-gardens with C19th rock-works, cascade, rustic bridges and an octagonal wooden summer house. The rockworks may have been carried out by the firm of James Pulham & Sons in c.1871. Although the lawn terrace is overlooked by the flats built on the site of the original house, the paths meandering through the water garden are secluded and lead to formal bedding towards the top. Highlands Gardens are quite densely planted with specimen trees and exotics including yucca, monkey puzzle and yew.
At the highest point of the park there used to be an aviary until the late 1990s, now derelict but once signposted as the 'Bird World Display Centre' but by 1996 only contained budgerigars, cockatiels, finches, rabbits, hens, partridges and guinea pigs.
Friends of Highlands Gardens website
Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
- Grid ref:
- TQ255959 (525544,195954)
- Size in hectares:
- Site ownership:
- LB Barnet
- Site management:
- Leisure and Youth Services, Green Spaces Division; Friends of Highlands Gardens
- C19th; 1931
- 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:
- Green Belt:
- Metropolitan Open Land:
- Special Policy Area:
- Other LA designation:
- Small Local Park