Marble Hill House, Twickenham, Greater London

Author(s): E Carpentar, Magnus Alexander

In late 2015, the English Heritage Trust (English Heritage Trust) submitted a successful Stage 1 bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop Marble Hill House and its park in order to improve its presentation and the associated leisure facilities. In support of this and the following more detailed Stage 2 bid Historic England undertook a range of landscape investigations during the winter of 2015 and spring of 2016. These included various geophysical surveys, aerial photography and lidar mapping, analytical earthwork survey, coring and vegetation analysis. This report presents the results of these surveys (the results of the geophysical surveys have already been published (Linford et al 2016) and are summarised here) and a synthesis outlining the development of the Marble Hill landscape from the 17th century onwards is set out. The project has demonstrated that the low rectangular area in East Meadow was probably a gravel pit pre-dating the house. There is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that an early garden design, thought to be by Alexander Pope and from about 1724, may have been at least partially implemented and that it was perhaps the acquisition of land to the south after work began that prompted a redesign resulting in the stronger north-south axis seen ever since. The project has also confirmed the accuracy of the plan of about 1752 and provided additional information on various topographic features and planting. In the mid-18th century the Pleasure Ground was expanded to the east and the Sweet Walk laid out to the west and north and evidence for both of these was recorded. Evidence for further developments in the 19th century were also seen across the park, in particular to the south of the house where the remains of an Italianate garden were recorded and to the east where evidence for Little Marble Hill and its approaches was seen. At the turn of the 20th century it was planned to develop Marble Hill as a housing estate and evidence for the preliminary work for this was seen to the north of the house. During the Second World War the park was given over to extensive allotments (perhaps persisting in some areas into the 1960s) but retained a surprising amount of sports provision.

Report Number:
5/2017
Series:
Research Department Reports
Pages:
185
Keywords:
Geophysical Survey Landscape Park Modern Post Medieval Survey Aerial Photograph Interpretation Analytical Landscape Survey Aerial Photography Public Park

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