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Inventory Site Record

South Grove Square and The Grove Enclosures (Camden)

Brief Description

Between The Grove and West Hill Highgate are a number of areas of open space, originally part of the old village green, which were preserved as public open space through the London Squares Preservation Act of 1931. In front of The Grove are two railed enclosures with grass and trees, to the north of which is the old Highgate Service Reservoir. Near the junction of South Grove and Highgate West Hill and opposite St Michael's Church is a small island divided by a central path into two railed garden areas with grass and trees, including one planted by the Highgate Society in memory of Doreen Mostyn.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Highgate Green
Site location:
The Grove/South Grove/Highgate West Hill, Highgate
Postcode:
N6
What 3 Words:
wash.soon.pipes
Type of site:
Public Open Land
Borough:
Camden
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport:
Tube: Highgate, Archway (Northern) then bus. Bus: 143, 210, 271, 214.
Research updated:
01/10/2009
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

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

Full Site Description

Between The Grove and West Hill Highgate are a number of areas of open space, once part of Highgate's old village green, which were preserved as public open space through the London Squares Preservation Act of 1931. The largest area is in front of The Grove, consisting of two railed enclosures with grass and trees, to the north of which is the old Highgate Service Reservoir (q.v.). Near the junction of South Grove and Highgate West Hill and opposite the forecourt to St Michael's Church is a small island divided by a central path into two railed garden areas with grass and trees, including one planted by the Highgate Society in commemoration of Doreen Mostyn in 1971.

St Michael's Church, the highest church in London, opened in 1832 to serve the parishioners of Highgate, who had outgrown Highgate School's Old Chapel, which had been used up until then. Designed by Lewis Vulliamy, later a resident of Highgate, and built by William and Lewis Cubbitt, the church was on the site of C17th Ashurst House, part of whose terrace remains behind the church overlooking Highgate Cemetery West, which was laid out over the grounds of Ashurst House. The approach to the church echoes the drive to the house. The remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge were reburied under the aisle of St Michael's in 1961; the poet had lived with the Gillman family from 1816, first at Moreton House in South Grove and then at No. 3 The Grove from 1823. When he died in Highgate in 1834 he was initially buried in Highgate Old Chapel, before being reinterred in 1842 to a vault in the old burial ground.

In the C17th The Grove was the site of two mansions with large grounds, Arundel House and Dorchester House, the garden wall from the latter remains in the gardens of No. 6, The Grove. Dorchester House was replaced by three pairs of semi-detached houses built as Nos.1-6 The Grove in c.1688 by William Blake, a City merchant, as part of an unsuccessful scheme to found a charity school. He purchased the house for £5000 to establish a school for 40 poor children or orphans and the rent from the houses he built in the grounds was to form the endowment. Unfortunately the school was unsuccessful and Blake was sent to debtors' prison. The garden of No.4 The Grove is described by Arabella Lennox-Boyd, in her book 'Private Gardens of London' (1990). No.5 The Grove was rebuilt in the 1920s; Nos. 7-9 The Grove were built c.1832, and No.12 dates from the 1970s.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Camden Listed Buildings website; 'Streets of Highgate' ed. Steven Denford and David A Hayes (Camden History Society Publications, 2007); John Richardson 'Highgate Past' (Historical Publications Ltd, 1989); Arabella Lennox-Boyd, 'Private Gardens of London', London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990; LB Camden, Highgate Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Strategy, 2007

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ282874 (528220,187260)
Size in hectares:
0.09
Site ownership:
LB Camden
Site management:
Parks & Open Spaces
Date(s):
1830s (to check)
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
LBII*: St Michael's Church; Nos. 3, 4 & 6 The Grove and attached railings, walls and lamps. LBII: Houses in The Grove: Nos.1, 2 and attached railings, walls & gate; No.5 and attached railings, wall and lamp; garden walls, terraces and steps of Nos.1-6 (consec) & Garden arbour to No.6; Nos.7, 7A and 8 with attached railings; Nos. 9B, 10, 11.
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

No
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Yes

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:
No
In Conservation Area:
Yes
Conservation Area name:
Highgate
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Special Character: Hampstead & Highgate Ridge
Other LA designation:
Public Open Space (Small Local). London Squares Preservation Act 1931.
Photos

South Grove Square and The Grove Enclosures

South Grove and The Grove Enclosures, August 2002. Photo: S Williams

Small enclosures opposite St Michael's Church, October 2009. Photo: S Williams
2009
South Grove and The Grove Enclosures, October 2009. Photo: S Williams
2009

Click a photo to enlarge.

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.