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