The Dairy is part of the Caring for Kenwood Project and has been restored and opened to the public. Read more about the next phase of the dairy's restoration.
Repton was extremely keen on introducing animals into the landscape at Kenwood, not just for their aesthetic qualities in creating an Arcadian scene, but also so they could graze the parkland.
Sheep were in West Meadow nibbling the grass well into the 1950's but now it's managed as a wildflower meadow with plants such as sheep's sorrel, pignut and buttercup. It also contains an area of sphagnum bog, home to a number of mosses and designated as a SSSI.
A 200 acre model farm, or 'ferme ornee', dates back to Repton's time and although it's thought that he didn't design it, he did incorporate similar model farms in his work elsewhere. It would have provided the estate with fresh produce and satisfied the 'rus in urbe' fashion of the time.
The highlights are a farm and a nearby cluster of three ornamental dairy buildings made up of a cottage, a buttery and a little room which served as a summer house for presumably equally ornamental dairymaids to take tea.
Dido Belle, the illegitimate daughter of Lord Mansfield's nephew, conceived when he was in the Caribbean serving with the British navy, oversaw the little dairy having previously been the superintendent of another dairy nearer the house.
Unusually Dido was brought up not as a slave in the Mansfield's household, as would have been common at the time, but as a companion to his niece Elizabeth Murray.
A painting from 1797 shows a bucolic scene, the dairy framed by trees and with long-horned Warwickshire cows grazing contentedly in the meadow.