Inventory Site Record

Inverforth House Garden * (Camden)

Brief Description

* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

The site was part of the gardens of Hill House, a villa of 1807, remodelled in 1896 and then rebuilt and enlarged by Sir William Lever, later Viscount Leverhulme, who owned the property from 1904-1925. His gardens were laid out in 3 phases as he acquired more land, in 1906 following his purchase of Hill House, renamed The Hill. A second scheme followed his purchase of Heath Lodge to the north-west in 1911, and a third in the 1920s after Cedar Lawn to the south was acquired. The first two schemes were by Thomas Mawson and included an extensive Pergola and formal gardens. Baron Inverforth acquired The Hill in 1926; it was renamed Inverforth House in 1955 when he left it to Manor House Hospital. The property was divided in 1960 and part of the Pergola and Hill Garden opened to the public in 1963. Inverforth House and gardens were sold to developers in the 1990s for private residences. Inverforth House is fronted on the west and south-west by a broad terrace with steps leading to a formal garden with paved rectangular pond and fountain, surrounded by classical urns and pedestals. The garden is visible from The Hill Garden.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Hill House, The Hill, Manor House Hospital
Site location:
North End Way/Inverforth Close
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Private Garden
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: Hampstead. 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.

Full Site Description

Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry for the Hill Garden see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

On the edge of Hampstead Heath (q.v.) and formerly known as Hill House, then The Hill, Inverforth House is a substantial building. The original house was built in 1807 and in the C19th was owned by the Quaker banking family of Hoare until 1896 when Sir Samuel Hoare sold the property to George Fisher, partner in a successful firm of auctioneers. Fisher rebuilt the house and moved here with his family. A blue plaque was erected to Fisher's son Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher, statistician and geneticist, who lived here as a child until the family left the property in 1904. Set in 5 acres of parkland and gardens, there were apparently ponies for the children and a goat-chaise. The house and its gardens were then successively modified by the philanthropist and soap manufacturer William Hesketh Lever, later created Viscount Leverhulme, who purchased the property in 1904 and owned it until his death in 1925.

After his death it was acquired by Andrew Weir, first Baron Inverforth, who left it on his death in 1955 to Manor House Hospital, when it was renamed Inverforth House. The property was divided in 1960 when the LCC purchased the western part of the site and the north-western part of the extensive 800ft-long Pergola, and Pergola and gardens were restored and opened to the public in 1963 as The Hill Garden (q.v.). Inverforth House and gardens were sold to developers in the 1990s for private residences. The early C20th alterations to The Hill included rebuilding of the central block and addition of north and south wings to the garden front (now with C20th 2nd storeys) of c.1905 by Grayson and Ould of Liverpool who also designed the terrace along the garden front, to which Thomas H Mawson added an Ionic veranda in c.1910. The Terrace was later altered in 1923 by Leslie Mansfield who added a ballroom beneath it. The south wing was extended and remodelled in 1924-5 by Mawson in conjunction with TH Mawson and Sons; the library wing was added to the entrance front in 1913-14 by William and Segar Owen of Warrington.

The garden of Inverforth House was designed in c.1906-10 by Thomas H Mawson as part of a scheme for Lord Leverhulme, which included a rectangular formal pond with central fountain and pedestals on a wide terrace, aligned westwards on Inverforth House, running east-west from Terrace Steps to the Cruciform Pergola that is now within the public gardens. The pond once had a bronze statue of a boy on a dolphin but this is now missing as are the pedestals flanking the pond that supported classical urns. Terrace steps, aligned westwards on Inverforth House, lead down to the pond and form part of the upper terrace layout, and were designed c.1906-10 by J Lomax Simpson as part of the garden scheme by Mawson, with a double flight of curved stone steps with stone balustrades. The terraces were constructed using spoil from the Hampstead Tube excavation. The area now forming The Hill Garden was divided when the house became a hospital; this part of the garden is open to the public.

The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England was established in 1984 and was commonly called English Heritage. In April 2015 it split into 2 separate entities, Historic England (HE), which continues to champion and protect the historic environment, and the English Heritage Trust, whose role is to look after the 400+ historic sites and monuments owned by the state. HE manages the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) that includes over 400,000 items ranging from prehistoric monuments to office blocks, battlefields and parks, which benefit from legal protection.

Sources consulted:

LB Camden listed buildings website; Corporation of London documents. NHLE Register: T H Mawson , 'The Art and Craft of Garden Making', 1907 pp272-7; Gardeners' Chronicle ii, 1912 pp482-3; Architectural Review 34, 1913, pls 12-13; Country Life 43, 23 Feb 1918, pp186-93; T H Mawson, 'The Life and Work of an English Architect', 1927; G Beard, 'Thomas H Mawson', 1976, pp20-1, 55; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); TFT Baker (Ed) 'A History of the County of Middlesex, vol IX, Hampstead and Paddington', London: Victoria County History of the Counties of England, 1989, pp66-71 and 138-145

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ261866 (526148,186702)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Site management:
1807; 1910-25
Thomas H Mawson; Leslie Mansfield
Listed structures:
LBII: Inverforth House, Formal pond surround, fountain and pedestals in Garden, Garden Terrace Steps
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Yes (with the Hill Garden)
NHLE grade:
Grade II*
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:
Conservation Area name:
Hampstead Village
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Special Character: Hampstead & Highgate Ridge
Other LA designation:

Inverforth House Garden *

Inverforth House Garden from The Hill Garden and Pergola, July 2005. Photo S Williams

Inverforth House Garden from The Hill Garden and Pergola, July 2005. Photo S Williams

Click a photo to enlarge.

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