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Canons Park

Grade II listed historic landscape containing several listed buildings, including an 18C 'temple' and walled kitchen garden, converted in 1937 to an informally planted garden.

Architect

Harrow Council

Date

18C/1930s.

Canons Park, Edgware HA8 6RH

Sun 10am-5pm. Hourly tours. Duration 30mins.

Canons Park

186, 79, 340, 142

  • Free parking
  • Access for wheelchair users
  • Regularly open to the public at no charge
  • Toilets available

CANONS PARK 1700s/1800sBefore its purchase by the Duke of Chandos, there is no evidence of a significant designed landscape at Canons. The Duke developed the Lake_s mansion and a grand park and garden c.1720. Not long after, the house was dismantled as part of the disposal of the second Duke_s estate (c.1750). Valuable components were sold off (eg fireplaces, gates, railings) and another, more modest, mansion rebuilt on the old foundations by a successful cabinetmaker, Hallett.1900sThe new house repeatedly changed hands and the accompanying estate began to be subdivided for residential development. The North London Collegiate School purchased the house, which is now the central building of their campus. The Council purchased remaining land forming the public park we see today. Other areas became housing, sports ground and railway land. During the late 1930s, demand for recreational facilities lead to the laying out by the Council of the George V Memorial Gardens as a flower garden, within the walls of the original Kitchen Garden, to the south of the house.21st CenturyEven though much of the estate was lost to housing developments, many original features that structured Canons are still intact, retaining the historic framework of the Duke_s Park and linking us to the past and the people who used and enjoyed the land.Remaining Historical Features in Canons Park:Oxford Archaeology Unit (OAU) has produced an Archaeological Investigation Report, September 2003 for the London Borough of Harrow. Copies are lodged at Stanmore Library and the Civic Centre Local History Library. The report covers the Temple, which was once part of a glass Palm House, the Walled Compound -which was the Duke_s melon-ground – a medieval track across the Whitchurch Avenue, research into the Whitchurch Avenue and the Memorial Garden wall.Whitchurch AvenueThis is the old name for the avenue in the park, mentioned in the Duke_s accounts, and not to be confused with the nearby residential road of the same name. From the south front of the house is seen the avenue which marks the road along which the Duke and Duchess proceeded to Church along a raised causeway. A semi-natural woodland strip ran parallel with the east side of the avenue. This is now called The Spinney. (Note: the name _Spinney_ was originally that of woodland to the north of NLCS).Stanmore AvenueThis woodland strip, which flanked the north edge, is all that remains of the original Stanmore Avenue, to the west of the house _ which was another carriage entrance and the main trade entrance. Also important in framing distant views of _Belmont_ the part man-made hill, now part of Stanmore Golf Course.Pleasure GroundsA garden with a folly set in woods, used for pleasure rather than utility, gives us the name for the Pleasure Ground around the Temple.The Temple is a classical garden building built between 1800 and 1838 and altered in form over the years. It once incorporated a heated, glass Palm House. A network of paths connected the House and Temple, remnants of which can be found in the park.The Walled Compound is present on maps from 1800 and some of the walls shown in a map c.1729.Kitchen GardenThe Kitchen Garden area included the Duke_s melon ground, fruit trees, vegetable plots and perhaps cloches or hothouses for pineapples and other exotic fruits.In the southern area of the Kitchen Garden is a plantation of trees known as The Hawthorn Orchard. The area seems to have been developed in the early 1900_s and the existing hawthorns are thought to have been planted c.1950.The Memorial Garden walls are certainly at least in part as old as those of the Walled Compound.The terracing, shelter, pool, gates and planting were probably added in 1937. The landform detectable on the north boundary of the Hawthorn Orchard is probably associated with the original boundary of the Kitchen Garden. see http://www.canonsparkfriends.org/a-full-history-of-canons-park.html