|Grovelands Park *||Enfield|
* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens
Grovelands Park was a late C18th landscape park. In the C18th the estate was owned by the 3rd Duke of Chandos, whose son-in-law sold it in c.1796 to Walker Gray. Gray had a new house built, Southgate Grove, and was advised by landscape gardener Humphry Repton on the layout of the grounds, whose designs included the lake and probably the ha-ha. Gray's nephew, John Donnithorne Taylor, inherited the property and retired here, renamed the house and proceeded to expand and improve the estate. His son later put up the estate for sale and the southern extension was sold in 1902 but the Lot containing the house and 314 acres of land failed to reach the reserve price. In 1911 26 hectares of grounds were purchased by Southgate UDC, opening as a public park in 1913. Grovelands House was purchased for a hospital in 1921 and is now a private psychiatric hospital.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/02/2011
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Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list
Grovelands was a late C18th landscape park, which in 1913 was made into a public park. Since medieval times the Lord's Grove estate lay between the villages of Southgate and Winchmore Hill. Southgate was once heavily wooded as part of the Forest of Middlesex, and there remain scraps of former woodland including oak coppices in the park. In the C18th the c.230 acre-estate comprised a gently sloping valley falling slightly from south-west to north-east, through which the Bourne stream ran from north to south, with Winchmore Wood to the east and open meadow and pasture with small groves and scattered oaks. It was at that time owned by the third Duke of Chandos, whose son-in-law sold it in c.1796 to Walker Gray, a Quaker brandy merchant from Tottenham, who was related to the Walkers of Arnos Grove, and the Taylor Walker brewery family. Walker Gray had Southgate Grove built in c.1797 by John Nash and also brought in Humphry Repton, who reputedly selected the site of the house, laid out gardens and pleasure grounds, carriage drives and entrances, planted the park and created the fine artificial lake and islands, which form the main feature of the park, formed by damming the Bourne stream. Repton's scheme for the lake included a bridge to the southern island, removed by the 1950s and a fishing temple, which had disappeared by 1896. Although details of Repton's work are uncertain, he probably also made the ha-ha extending from the north-east to south-west of the house. His sketches for the grounds were exhibited in 1797.
Southgate Grove was one of Nash's first buildings after his return to London in 1796 and has been described as 'the finest surviving example in the London area of a Neo-classical villa of the late C18th'. His designs were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1797 and plans and elevations were published in New Vitruvious Britannicus of 1802. The house is in the western sector of the grounds with stable buildings and offices to the west, a small early C19th octagonal granary to the west and polygonal walled kitchen garden, also early C19th to the south-west. A Lodge with gate piers and gates is 400 metres to west-south-west with an approach drive round the northern and eastern side of the house.
After Walker Gray's death in 1834, the house with 36 acres of park and 260 acres of meadow, arable land and woodland were unsuccessfully put up for sale, as a result of which the estate was then inherited by his nephew John Donnithorne Taylor, a partner in the brewery Taylor Walker, his interest in which he sold upon his inheritance. He then retired to Southgate Grove, which he renamed first Woodlands and then Grovelands. He proceeded to purchase neighbouring plots of land as they came up for sale such as Home Farm land to the north in c.1839 and the Old Park estate to the south in 1840, thereby extending his estate to over 600 acres. His various improvements to the estate included enlarging the lake and creating a second island, building a lodge and carriageway and providing a second grander approach from Aldermans Hill when he acquired and demolished a neighbouring house, Cullands Grove. In the early C20th the lake was further altered and the dam reconstructed at the northern end. Much of the mature tree planting dates from Taylor's ownership, and like other of the major landowners in the area including the Walkers of Arnos Grove, he aspired to keep Southgate rural, stifling development by refusing to sell land for building.
After his death in 1885 the estate passed to his son Major Robert Kirkpatrick Taylor upon whose own death in 1901 the estate was put up for sale by auction by his son Captain John Vickris Taylor. The southern extension of the estate was sold in 1902 and subsequently developed for housing, but Lot 9 which contained Grovelands house and 314 acres of parkland and wood was withdrawn, failing to reach the reserve price. Captain Taylor lived at Grovelands until 1907 and although the house and the land to the south-west of the house remained in the family's ownership until 1921, in 1911 64 acres (26 hectares) of the grounds were purchased by Southgate Urban District Council for a public park, thus saving it from housing development.
Thomas Mawson was landscape architect for Southgate UDC from 1912 and was responsible for some of Grovelands Park design, particularly the layout of paths, fencing the lake with post and single rails, perimeter planting of chestnut trees, as well as tennis, putting and bowling facilities. Grovelands Park was officially opened on 12 April 1913 and the park was later extended following further land acquisition by the Council to become the largest public park in the area of c.40 hectares. The fine wrought-iron gates on Bourne Hill were presented by Lord Inverforth in 1925 and opened on 10th October, forming an entrance to the public park leading onto an avenue of trees. In 1931 an aviary was donated by G W S Ingram and various sports facilities were added over the years including a golf course and children's playground, and the putting green has been moved to the other side of the south entrance drive. The park has lines of belts of trees and shrubbery along most boundaries.
Not part of the new park, Grovelands was unoccupied from 1907 to 1916 when it became a military hospital during World War I. In 1921 it was purchased by the Royal Northern Hospital and then in 1948 it was adopted by the NHS and used as a convalescent home until 1977, after which it remained unoccupied until 1985. In 1985 the Priory Hospitals Group purchased and restored the house for use as a private psychiatric hospital which it remains, re-named Grovelands Priory, with some new buildings added behind the house. A recent inmate in the late 1990s was General Pinochet. Although Grovelands Priory is outside the park remit, the house and the gardens to the east of the house are clearly visible from the park and only separated by wrought iron railings and ha-ha. North of the house is shrubbery and pleasure grounds, and to the south is lawn and ornamental planting, forming the pleasure ground which wraps around the south-eastern wall of the polygonal kitchen garden, to the south-west which it leads to the orchard. The kitchen garden is now laid to grass with rows of old fruit trees and a free-standing glasshouse.
Southgate stayed largely rural until the 1920s but the advent of public transport accelerated development although after World War II Green Belt policy stopped further expansion. Grovelands Park as entered from Church Hill is an informal open grassland, with dense woodland to the east and separated from the C20th housing to the west by fencing. A tarmac path runs through the middle towards the lake, with further tree-lined paths along the west top edge towards the house. The numerous trees include copper beech and an avenue of oaks planted by successive mayors of Southgate between 1933 and 1945. The Friends of Grovelands Park was set up in March 2002. Grovelands Park has won a Green Flag from 2007-2010. Although the management is fragmented due to the separate ownerships, Enfield Council has produced a historic environment assessment setting out priorities for repair and restoration of the park.
EH Register 1998; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1972); Victoria County History; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); EH Register; Elain Harwood & Andrew Saint 'London', HMSO/English Heritage 1991; local history leaflet; Bernard Byrom, 'Old Southgate and Palmers Green' (Stenlake Publishing, 2008)