Chiswick House and Chiswick House Grounds * (Hounslow)
* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens
Chiswick House and its grounds were created by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, one of the earliest promoters of Palladianism in England. His classical villa was built in the late 1720s next to Old Chiswick House, the Jacobean house he had inherited as part of the estate in Chiswick purchased by his grandfather in 1682. Burlington transformed the earlier layout of pleasure and productive gardens in various phases, working with William Kent to create formal gardens that evoked the ideals of ancient Rome. In 1753 the estate passed by marriage to the Dukes of Devonshire, and in 1788 the fifth Duke demolished Old Chiswick House and enlarged the villa. Both the fifth and sixth Dukes remodelled Burlington’s gardens. From the 1860s onwards the Devonshires let the house and in 1929 the reduced estate was sold to Middlesex County Council. In 1948, ownership of the house passed to the Ministry of Works, which embarked on a restoration campaign aimed at returning the villa to its original size and design and the gardens to their original layout. The house and the gardens are now under the stewardship of an independent trust, Chiswick House and Gardens Trust who work with LB Hounslow and English Heritage Trust to preserve this important heritage site.
- Site location:
- Burlington Lane/Hogarth Lane, Chiswick
- W4 2QN
- What 3 Words:
- Type of site:
- Public Park
- Open to public?
- Opening times:
- Grounds: 8am - half hour before dusk. House April - Sept 10am-6pm; Oct 10am-5pm; Nov-Mar Wed-Sat 10am-4pm.
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 9 times, most recently in 2023.
- Special conditions:
- Admission charge to house. Grounds free admission
- café, toilets, shop, car park
- Nature trails in grounds
- Public transport:
- Tube: Turnham Green (Disrict, Piccadilly) then bus. Rail: Chiswick then bus. Bus: 190, 415
- Research updated:
- Last minor changes:
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.chgt.org.uk; /www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/chiswick-house/
Full Site Description
Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list. 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.
Chiswick House and its grounds were created by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (1694-1753), one of the earliest promoters of Palladianism in England. His villa was built in c.1727-29 next to Old Chiswick House, the old Jacobean house his grandfather, the first Earl of Burlington, had purchased in 1682. In c.1732 a 2-storey link was built between the two properties. The estate Burlington inherited had pleasure gardens in three parts, including a knot garden, grass lawn with statuary and a large walled enclosure to the north divided by a tree-lined walk running north/south, the only feature that survives today. There were also productive gardens, including a kitchen garden, orchard and paddock. Initial projects by Burlington and Kent included creating the grass amphitheatre around a circular pool with a central obelisk, overlooked by an Ionic Temple, all still extant. A wilderness garden was created on the former paddock, the orchard was converted into a deer paddock, with a ha-ha and deer houses, and the kitchen garden was laid out with ornamental water with mounds and trees planted. The walled enclosure became a Grove, with the walls removed and in the north-east corner a statue of Samson slaying the Philistine, moved to Chatsworth in 1928. At the north end of the tree-lined walk a patte d'oie was created, the meeting point of 3 radiating hedged avenues. Each avenue ended in a built feature - the Casina, the Pagan Temple and the Rustic House, the latter the only to survive. Other features included a free-standing Doric column topped by a Venus de Medici, and a rectangular piece of water with a brick pavilion, later removed.
In 1753 the estate passed by marriage to the Dukes of Devonshire, and in 1788 the fifth Duke demolished Old Chiswick House and enlarged the villa by adding substantial wings. Both the fifth and sixth Dukes remodelled Burlington’s gardens. From the 1860s onwards the Devonshires let the house to a series of wealthy tenants, but gradually moved the historic contents to Chatsworth House. Between 1892 and 1929 the house was used as a private mental hospital.
In 1929 the reduced estate was sold to Middlesex County Council. In 1948, ownership of the house passed to the Ministry of Works, which embarked on a restoration campaign aimed at returning the villa to its original size and design and the gardens to their original layout. The house and the gardens are now under the stewardship of an independent trust set up in 2005, Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, set up to oversee the restoration, management and protection of this important historic site. The Trust, a registered charity, was created jointly by English Heritage and LB Hounslow in order to integrate the management of Chiswick House and Gardens. Under the chairmanship of Mr Rupert Hambro, the Trust is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of this outstanding listed Grade I listed villa and registered Grade I gardens, which have been enjoyed as a public park since 1929.
See NHLE Register. David Pape, 'Nature Conservation in Hounslow' Ecology Handbook 15, London Ecology Unit, 1990; Richard Hewlings 'Chiswick House and Gardens', English Heritage, 1994 reprint. See also: https://londongardenstrust.org/features/chiswick2006.htm: 'Grounds for Optimism: The Restoration of Chiswick House Gardens', EH Project Director Martin Clayton interviewed by Hazelle Jackson, London Landscapes, No.12, 2006
Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
- Grid ref:
- TQ210777 (520880,177620)
- Size in hectares:
- Site ownership:
- Grounds: LB Hounslow. Chiswick House: English Heritage
- Site management:
- Chiswick House & Gardens Trust
- 1682; c.1718; 1929
- 3rd Earl of Burlington/William Kent; Samuel Lapidge; Lewis Kennedy
- Listed structures:
- See EH Register
- On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:
- NHLE grade:
- Grade I
- 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:
- Chiswick House
- Tree Preservation Order:
- Not known
- Nature Conservation Area:
- Yes - Borough Importance I
- Green Belt:
- Metropolitan Open Land:
- Special Policy Area:
- Other LA designation:
- Borough Park. ENV 13. Historic Parks and Gardens
Chiswick House Grounds - Photo: Colin Wing
Date taken: 18/09/20 11:47
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.