Things to See and Do

The Dairy at Kenwood

While Humphry Repton worked on Kenwood’s grounds and the removal or disguise of old service buildings in the 1790s, George Saunders, the 2nd Earl’s architect from 1794–6, built a dairy for the Earl’s wife, Louisa.

The dairy
The recently restored dairy, now used as a centre for volunteers at Kenwood

Kenwood became what would be described in 1838 as ‘beyond all question, the finest country residence in the suburbs of London’. Tending a dairy was then a fashionable hobby for aristocratic women, following the example of the French queen Marie Antoinette. But such dairies were still functional, and the one at Kenwood would have supplied the house with butter, milk and cream, while ice was stored in the ice-house below.

Now, after restoration, the three dairy buildings can be appreciated once again: the small, colourfully decorated octagonal tea room, where Louisa entertained her friends, the rooms where the dairymaid lived, and the dairy room. The original marble benches in the dairy room are still here, although the more than 30 black marble milk pans and basins listed in the accounts are missing.

This project was funded by The Wolfson Foundation.

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