I've been published!
Updated: Nov 12, 2018
My garden history paper 'The Gardens of Witanhurst, Highgate, London' can be found in 'The London Gardener' Journal of the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust, volume 20, for the years 2015-16. The article is based on my MA Garden History dissertation of the same name, completed in 2007. #haroldpeto #witanhurst #italianategarden #edwardiangarden #arthurcrosfield
Witanhurst is an enormous neo-Georgian mansion situated at the top of Highgate ridge, in extensive grounds with far-reaching views across Hampstead Heath to Kenwood and central London. Reputed to be the second largest private house in London after Buckingham Palace, Witanhurst was built during the First World War by soap magnate Sir Arthur Crosfield.
Crosfield commissioned the renowned garden designer Harold Ainsworth Peto c.1913 to design an Italianate scheme for the thirteen-acre hillside grounds. A small ‘East Garden’ by garden designer Percy Cane was later added c.1929.
After a downturn in fortune for the Crosfields the house and grounds went into decline. Left unoccupied from the mid 1960s, the lower parkland was built on in the 1980s leaving five and a half acres of formal gardens and mansion intact. Numerous development proposals for the remaining site floundered in the years that followed until 2008 when the estate was sold to an unknown buyer who is now extensively redeveloping the house and garden under a shroud of secrecy. Peto’s architectural garden features were in poor repair in 2008 and their fate today is unknown, although planning documents lodged with Camden Council suggest their restoration is in progress.
If that has piqued your interest then please get hold of a copy of my article by contacting the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust.