Inventory Site Record

Haven House Children's Hospice and White House Arboretum

Haven House Children's Hospice and White House Arboretum (Waltham Forest)

Brief Description

The site was acquired from the Highams estate in 1905 and the villa was built to a design of CFA Voysey for Lady Henry Somerset the following year. Lt. Col. Sir Stuart Mallinson was the owner from 1925-81 during which time he expanded the estate and by 1933 it was 25 acres. An arboretum was begun in 1953 when Lord Montgomery planted a walnut tree and a horse chestnut. A succession of eminent people who stayed at the White House planted trees over a period of 25 years. In the 1930s the Great Oak Garden was designed around a 500-year-old oak tree and the Rose Garden also dates from this time. The estate is now managed by LB Waltham Forest and the White House is Haven House Children's Hospice.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
The White House
Site location:
High Road, Woodford Green
Type of site:
Private Open Land;, Institutional Grounds
Waltham Forest
Open to public?
Opening times:
hospice private, access to Arboretum by appointment only or on occasional open days.
Special conditions:
House: occasional open days/charity events
Public transport:
Tube: Woodford, South Woodford (Central) then bus. Bus: 20, 179, 275, W13

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/11/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

The land for The White House was purchased from the Warners of Highams, at the beginning of the C20th by Robert Phillimore. It subsequently passed into the hands of Lady Henry Somerset who commissioned The White House to be built to a design of CFA Voysey in 1905. It was bought by Stuart Mallinson in 1926 who acquired extra land from Highams in 1928, 1930 and 1933, bringing the estate up to 10.56 hectares and in 1933 the house was expanded to provide better servant accommodation. The Cedar Lodge and South Lodge 2 were built at this time to provide more housing for estate workers. South Lodge 1 dates back to 1873 when Sir Thomas Warner had a carriageway made through the woodland to Hale End railway station. The final North Lodge was constructed in 1951.

The gardens were commissioned and designed by Sir Stuart in the 1930s. They included the Great Oak Garden, with a 500-year-old oak in the centre, the Rose Garden and a pergola covered with clematis and wisteria. Two tennis courts and a swimming pool were also built at this time. Sir Stuart Mallinson’s family business was international timber importing and the wood for the chapel was built with fallen oaks from Ypres. He had fought there in WWI serving as a Colonel with the Royal Engineers and was later awarded the DSO and MC. Sir Stuart was particularly active in the provision of sporting and recreational activities in the locality. He was Chairman of the Walthamstow Playing Fields and Open Spaces Association and Vice President of Scout County of Greater London North East. In 1967 he became Patron of the Walthamstow Scout Council and scouts have been camping on the White House estate since 1927.

After WWII, Sir Stuart and Lady Mallinson began to host a series of Anglo-American garden parties for American service personnel from the nearby airfields in Essex to promote Anglo-American goodwill. Between 1953 and 1978 an arboretum was created when Sir Stuart invited eminent guests to plant a commemorative tree. Field Marshall Viscount Montgomery was the first and he planted a walnut and a horse chestnut. Sir Winston Churchill planted a red oak, and other visitors who planted trees included Colonel Frank Borman, USAF captain of Apollo 8, Margaret Thatcher, Robert Runcie, Lord Attlee, Edward Heath, Shirley Williams, John Gielgud, and Yehudi Menuhin. The last tree, an oak, was planted on 13 Sept 1978 by the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, Judge Warren Berger. All in all 130 trees had been planted with information markers on each tree.

Little remains of the Friendship Circle planted for Sir Stuart’s close friends and only three of the fourteen trees planted by his family survive. Some trees remain in the President’s Grove, which was a copy of a grove planted in the White House, Washington.

In 1978 Sir Stuart, anxious about the future of the estate after his death, gave the property to the London Borough of Waltham Forest. The White House was re-named Mallinson Park and the Mallinson Park Trust was formed. A covenant committed Waltham Forest to the preservation of the arboretum and to maintain the wood in the White House grounds. Sir Stuart remained there until his death in 1981. In 1983 while the White House was being converted into a home for the elderly, a fire caused much damage to the property. It was finally opened in 1986 for short stay residents and during this time a conservatory was added and a wheelchair path in the woodland was created. It closed in 1999 due to high running costs. In 2000 the White House was leased from the Council by the Haven House Foundation. It is now a hospice providing short break respite care for children with life-limiting illnesses.

Up until now, there has been little or no demarcation between the immediate surroundings of the private house, the arboretum and what are now known as Mallinson Park Woods (q.v.). The arboretum had merged into the woods with the aid of self seeded trees and shrubs and a flimsy fence and a ditch are the only identifiable boundary between the woods and the private gardens. Waltham Forest’s Tree Preservation and Nature Conservation Officer is beginning to define new boundaries so that the arboretum is physically included in the private grounds of the house. These boundaries are in the form of a dead hedge, which guides visitors through the wood, keeping them away from the private grounds, and also provides habitats for wildlife and is easily renewable. This work is done by volunteers under the supervision of the Conservation officer.

Many of the trees in the arboretum were planted too close together and as they mature they are being mutually suppressed. There is a plan to clear laurel, rhododendron and holly from under the trees in order to create open spaces for wood anemones and woodland bulbs to grow. It is also planned to re-site and replace trees that are in poor condition or in an unfavourable position. Waltham Forest Council maintains the grass around the house and volunteers manage the flowerbeds in the immediate surroundings. The carriageway created by Sir Thomas Warner in 1873 is still visible and it is planned to keep it maintained.

Sources consulted:

Dr Thomas Crusz, 'A Brief History of The White House and the Mallinson Family', (Haven House Hospice, 2011); Haven House Arboretum Guide, (Haven House Children’s Hospice. 2011).

LPGT Volunteer Research by Catherine Davis, November 2011

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Waltham Forest
Site management:
Haven House Foundation
1906; 1930s
Sir Stuart Mallinson
Listed structures:
Local list: White House
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:
To be checked
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - SSSI (part)
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Local list of Historic Parks and Gardens

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