Marble Hill Revived
There is an exciting project underway at Marble Hill. We are working hard to open up the house more often, revive the landscape, and - from the play area to the sports pitches - improve the facilities across the park. And we need the support of volunteers to help us get it right.
Now, with the award of a grant of over £4m by National Lottery, English Heritage will 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
- Open up more areas in the park and create new habitats to improve the park's biodiversity
- Improve the sports pitches and changing facilities
- Refurbish the existing café
- 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.
Winter 2020 Updates
As you may have seen, work has been continuing across the park this winter, including archaeology in three locations to explore and understand the park’s history in a little more detail. More sports pitches have been resurfaced and the children’s play area is due to have equipment installed – ready to open alongside the café in 2021.
- We’ve been carrying out work to the drainage system to help with the significant damp problem. All the windows and blinds in the house are in the process of being restored and replaced where necessary, and now we have much better water pressure.
- Significant conservation work has been carried out on key pieces within the collection and new interpretation is being installed, including a soundscape and children’s dress up area.
- This November you’ll also see poppies across Marble Hill – each one representing a life lost in our community during the two world wars. During November volunteer research on Marble Hill’s role in the war effort will also be on display alongside our programme of online seminars.
- A group of volunteers has set up the Friends of Marble Hill to help support the park and the house, and to ensure it continues to be a wonderful place for community. Find out how you can get involved in our newsletter.
Read our full newsletter here.
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’s only a part of her life story. Orphaned at the age of 12, she was married at 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
Dogs at Marble Hill
We want to make sure that everyone has a great experience when using the parklands at Marble Hill. To ensure this happens, we introduced a dog walking code of conduct and professional dog walker licence on 4 May 2020.
The new policy is in response to a consultation with local dog walkers, families, vets and professional dog walkers and we hope the introduction of this policy helps Marble Hill Park to be a clean, safe and welcoming space for the local community and visitors.
To apply, please email: MarbleHillPark@english-heritage.org.uk
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. Through the project, English Heritage will 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 1749, 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.
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.
Read more about the life of Henrietta Howard, and how she overcame personal adversity to become an extraordinary figure in Georgian court society.
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.
We would like to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.
A project made possible thanks to a £4.08m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.
Please visit The National Lottery Heritage fund website