Inventory Site Record

Marble Hill Park *

Marble Hill Park * (Richmond)

Brief Description

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

Marble Hill is the last complete survivor of the elegant C18th villas and gardens along the river between Richmond and Hampton Court. The Palladian villa was built in 1724-29 for Henrietta Howard, mistress of George II when he was Prince of Wales, the house and gardens planned with advice from the fashionable connoisseurs in her circle. Set in 66 acres of riverside parkland, Marble Hill was intended as an Arcadian retreat from crowded London and Mrs Howard's salon became renowned. The grounds sloping to the river were laid out with lawns, terraces, avenues and scattered trees and had an ice house and two grottos, one of which is visible today. The grounds have been open to the public since 1903. A Model Market Garden has been created on what may have been the site of the original kitchen garden, as part of 'Jam Yesterday Jam Tomorrow', a 3-year project that commenced in April 2013 exploring the history of nurseries and market gardening.

Practical Information
Site location:
Richmond Road/Orleans Road, Twickenham
Postcode:
TW1 2NL
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Borough:
Richmond
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
Park unrestricted (check website for opening times for Marble Hill House)
Special conditions:
Admission charge to House (free to EH members), check website for current charges
Facilities:
Playground, sports pitches, toilets, Coach House Café (10am-4pm daily)
Events:
Various events and exhibitions in the House. Tours of Grounds (fee payable & advance booking required)
Public transport:
Rail: St Margarets/Twickenham. Bus: R70, R68, H22, 290, 490, 33.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/03/2015
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/marble-hill-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

Marble Hill House was built for Henrietta Howard, later the Countess of Suffolk, between 1724 and 1729 by Roger Morris, advised by Lord Herbert, 9th Earl of Pembroke, and possibly with early advice by Colen Campbell. The stable block, now the café, dates from the early C19th. On Richmond Road is White Lodge, late C18th/early C19th, from where the approach drive leads to the house with an additional approach drive to the north-east, both drives leading to the circular forecourt to the north of the house. Near the house is Countess of Suffolk's Grotto, one of two grottos known to have been constructed in the grounds of Marble Hill House in the 1740s, inspired by Alexander Pope's Grotto (q.v.) at Strawberry Hill; the second grotto has not been discovered to date. Excavations have revealed traces of marble and flint patterns on the floor, and traces of the original incrustations of flints, clinker, corals and minerals on the walls; the ceiling was also likely to have been similarly incrusted.

The grounds slope gently down towards the Thames and were laid out in the early C18th with advice from Alexander Pope and Charles Bridgeman with short parallel rows of chestnuts to the left and aright of the house facing the Thames, with slightly terraced lawns between them. Today there are small areas of woodland to east and west of the house, with broad lawns to north and south flanked by trees along the approach drives to the north and to left and right of the lawn overlooking the Thames. There are spacious lawns to east and west with a noted black walnut of the mid-C18th in an enclosure 200m to south-east.

The grounds have been open to the public since 1903 and in the care of English Heritage since 1985. 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.

Little Marble Hill, the home of society artist Lady Diana Beauclerk, was situated near the river in the grounds of Marble Hill.

A Model Market Garden has been created on what may have been the site of the kitchen garden that existed in Henrietta Howard's day. This is part of 'Jam Yesterday Jam Tomorrow', a 3-year community project organised by the Environment Trust, Richmond and funded by HLF that commenced in April 2013. The aim is to explore the history of the nurseries and market gardening in south-west London. In the course of the work the volunteers, with the assistance of a trained archaeologist, discovered the remains of the wall of the original kitchen garden. The Model Market Garden was formally opened in May 2014.

Sources consulted:

NHLE Register list: Country Life 25/3/1916 p394-400; 'Blest Retreats' LB Richmond, 1984 p35-36; J Bryant 'Finest Prospects' 1986 p58-01; M P G Draper 'Marble Hill House', 1970; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999. John Archer, David Curson, 'Nature Conservation in Richmond upon Thames, Ecology Handbook 21', (London Ecology Unit) 1993 p77; The Marble Hill Society www.marblehillsociety.org.uk

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ171736
Size in hectares:
25.93
Site ownership:
English Heritage
Site management:
English Heritage
Date(s):
1724-29
Designer(s):
Advice from Alexander Pope and Charles Bridgeman
Listed structures:
LBI: Marble Hill House. LBII: C18th icehouse, C19th stables
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Yes
NHLE grade:
Grade II*
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

No

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:
Twickenham Riverside
Tree Preservation Order:
Yes? (Black Walnut)
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Local Importance (with Orleans Hse)
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
Yes
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Thames Policy Area
Other LA designation:
None

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