Yoga at Marble Hill House

Marble Hill Revived

There is an exciting opportunity to open up Marble Hill House more often, revive the landscape, and - from the play area to the sports pitches - improve the facilities across the park. And we need your help to get it right.

Marble Hill in Twickenham is a much-loved space for both locals and Londoners, young and old, to relax and play. However, since the 1980s it's seen little investment. Opening times for the historic house are limited, while the park's original character has been lost. Across Marble Hill, the facilities need upgrading.

Now, with the award of a grant of over £4m by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund from the Parks for People Programme, English Heritage plans to do justice to both house and park through a series of £6m improvements.

Our plans for Marble Hill

Key elements of our plans include:

  • Conserve and re-present Marble Hill House and open it to the public, for free, five days a week for seven months a year
  • Restore the lost 18th-century garden in places while in others, open up and replant overgrown areas to create new spaces and improve biodiversity
  • Improve the sports pitches and changing facilities
  • Extend the existing café in the Stable Block
  • Create a new play area for children

We want to keep what makes Marble Hill so special but we also want to make it even better. And we need your help to do this.

Latest updates

April 2018 - Our Consultation is Underway 

Since we withdrew our planning application and decided to look afresh at our plans for Marble Hill, our consultation with the local community has been in full swing.

  • Our expanded Community Steering Group has met (see here for the minutes: 20-03-18 , 24-04-18).
  • Our first Consultation Workshop looked at the proposed play facilities, and we've met with a number of local groups to discuss their concerns (see here for the minutes).
  • Our second Consultation Workshop focused on the landscape (see here for the minutes).
  • Our third Consultation Workshop considered the plans for the café (see here for the minutes).

March 2018 - Further consultation

We want to get our plans for Marble Hill right. In light of concerns raised about the project - about the extension of the café, the play area and the restoration of the historic garden - we are starting a new community consultation programme to try to find a practical consensus on the areas of concern.

We will:

  • Widen the membership of the existing Community Steering Group to include additional residents' groups and other groups so that their concerns can be fully represented
  • Set up a number of Consultation Workshops to discuss those aspects of the proposals that have attracted particular concerns
  • Organise a number of open days at the park where we can answer your questions
  • Be in touch with you more regularly so that you can see and read about the proposals more easily

We hope that, together, we can go forward positively to secure agreement on how best to revive Marble Hill House and Park.

Background to the project

Henrietta Howard in about 1724, by Charles Jervas

This portrait of Henrietta Howard by Charles Jervas was painted in about 1724, when work on Marble Hill House was just beginning

Henrietta Howard and Marble Hill

Henrietta Howard (1689–1767) is best known for being the mistress of the Prince of Wales, later King George II – but that is only a part of her life story. Orphaned at the age of 12, she was married aged 16 to a drunk and a gambler, and from quite a young age was partially deaf, but she overcame these circumstances to become one of the most liked ladies of the royal court.

It was during her 20 years at court that she began to build Marble Hill House at Twickenham as a retreat from court life. Here at Marble Hill, Henrietta built friendships and networks to become central to the ‘Twickenham set’, including Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, John Gay and Horace Walpole, and triumphed over adversity to marry again, happily, later in life.

Our new interpretation will re-animate the house with tales of the vibrant cast of characters around Henrietta, from family members to visitors to pet dogs.

Read more about Henrietta Howard
The survey of Marble Hill made in about 1752

We will base our restoration of the garden on this survey of Marble Hill made in about 1752. © Norfolk Record Office, MC184/10/1 (rights reserved)

the Historic Landscape

Henrietta Howard’s garden is a rare surviving example of an early 18th-century villa landscape. It was designed to provide an appropriately ‘ancient’ setting for the villa itself, which was in the classically inspired Palladian style. Key figures in the history of designed landscapes, including Charles Bridgeman and the poet Alexander Pope, played a part in the garden’s creation.

Marble Hill became a public park in 1902, after a campaign to protect the land from development and save the famous view from Richmond Hill – the only English landscape view protected by Act of Parliament. Today it’s a much-loved and lively local amenity, used for sports as well as a tranquil retreat from city life.

Currently, though, the park reflects neither the landscape’s 18th-century origins, nor Henrietta’s story. English Heritage plans to restore elements of her lost garden, which lay directly between the house and the river. Key features, based on a detailed plan made in about 1752, will be recreated for the first time, including a ninepin bowling alley, flower gardens, terraces and serpentine paths.  

Read more about the historic landscape

More about Marble Hill

  • Design for ‘a House in Twittenham’ by Colen Campbell, published in 1725

    History of Marble Hill

    Read a full history of this English Palladian villa and its gardens beside the Thames, from its origins in the 1720s as a retreat from court life for Henrietta Howard to the present day.

  • Henrietta Howard, 9th Countess of Suffolk

    Henrietta Howard

    Read more about the life of Henrietta Howard, and how she overcame personal adversity to become an extraordinary figure in Georgian court society.

  • The survey of Marble Hill made in about 1752.  © Norfolk Record Office, MC184/10/1 (rights reserved)

    Henrietta Howard’s garden at Marble Hill

    Find out what makes the garden between the house and the river at Marble Hill so significant, what we know about it, and how English Heritage plans to restore it.

  • A View from Richmond Hill by Antonio Joli, c.1750  © By kind permission of the Richmond Borough Art Collection, Orleans House Gallery

    The View from Richmond Hill

    See how artists have depicted the panoramic view from Richmond Hill over the centuries and find out how Marble Hill was saved thanks to a campaign to preserve this view.

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