hill garden & pergola
Hill Garden & Pergola. Camden. The Pergola, Inverforth Close, Hampstead, London NW3 7EX.
A beautiful secluded garden tucked into the western side of Hampstead Heath. The Pergola is an Edwardian raised and terraced walkway built to connect the two gardens of a house then known as The Hill, now known as Inverforth House. Closing times vary from 3.30pm in winter to 8.15pm at the height of summer. Check opening times here.
Lord Leverhulme, of the famous Lever soap family, bought The Hill in 1904. He then bought neighbouring land, giving him the opportunity to create the Pergola. It was a splendid Edwardian extravagance, intended as the setting for extravagant garden parties and summer evening strolls. The master plan was designed by Thomas Mawson, an authority on civic design, town planning, and landscape. The Hill Garden and Pergola is the best surviving example of his work. The raised garden was built using soil from the excavation of the nearby extension of the Northern Line to Hampstead. The overall scheme was completedin 1925, shortly before Lord Leverhulme's death.
After Lord Leverhulme's death the estate went into slow decline, accelerated by neglect during World War II. In 1960 the estate, now in a very dilapidated condition, was bought by the London County Council. The unchecked growth of numerous climbing plants had played havoc with the timbers and stonework, which were severely damaged. Following the abolition of the LCC in 1986, responsibility for the estate was in 1989 transferred to the Corporation of the City of London, who now care for it. Although some restoration has been undertaken, more is needed.