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The Pergola and Hill Garden by dfsiopmhy6


									The Pergola and
Hill Garden
The Pergola is one of the hidden delights    Construction began in 1905.
of Hampstead Heath. It overlooks West        Central to the project was raising the
Heath, and was the dream of William H        large gardens of The Hill to the required
Lever, later Lord Leverhulme, a wealthy      level. This required an army of workers.
idealist, patron of the arts, architecture   There were no mechanical diggers or
and landscape gardening, and Thomas          earth-movers then. Furthermore, a vast
Mawson, the celebrated landscape             amount of material was needed. As
architect.                                   chance would have it, the Hampstead
                                             extension to the Northern Line was
In 1904, Lord Leverhulme purchased The       being built at the same time. The
Hill, a substantial house facing North       contractors urgently needed somewhere
End Way. He subsequently acquired            to dump the spoil from tunnels being
adjoining land, and had the opportunity      created. Soon thousands of wagon-loads
  to create the Pergola, a magnificent       of that spoil were making their way to
         Edwardian extravagance which        The Hill, with the astute Lord Leverhulme
           would be the setting for          being paid a nominal fee per wagon for
              garden parties and summer      accommodating the material that he
                evening strolls and be a     happened to need to realise his dream.
                  striking addition to the
                   garden of The Hill.       The first part of the work was completed
                                             in 1906. It was extended in 1911 when
                    Masterminding the        further property became available. The
                    work was Thomas          difficulty of the public right of way
                    Mawson, a world-         between the two parts of the final
                    famous authority on      structure was overcome by the
                   civic design, town        construction of a fine stone bridge over
                  planning and landscape     the public path.
               architecture. He brought
             architectural treatment and     The landscaping work on what would
           formality to garden design,       become known as The Hill Garden was
       and The Hill’s Pergola and            interrupted by the Great War. The final
  gardens were destined to become the        developments, involving a further
best surviving examples of his work.         extension of the Pergola, complete with
a Summer Pavilion and another viewing      Greater London Council in 1986, the
terrace overlooking the Heath, were        City of London Corporation took on
completed by 1925, shortly before Lord     responsibility for Hampstead Heath and
Leverhulme died.                           its structures, including the Pergola, in
                                           1989. By that time, many of the original
After Lord Leverhulme’s death The Hill     timbers of the Pergola were twisted and
was purchased by Baron Inverforth – and    rotted beyond repair and smothered by
renamed Inverforth House. He lived         a profusion of climbing plants that had
there until his death in 1955. The         been allowed to grow unchecked. Much
property was then for a period used as a   of the stonework was missing or
convalescent home for Manor House          damaged.
                                           The LCC and its successor bodies began
The Second World War and subsequent        work of restoration, which has been
years were not kind to the Pergola. In     continued by the City. However, the
1960, the London County Council            Pergola, a Grade II listed structure, still
bought the Pergola and associated          requires considerable investment. The
garden areas, which were by now in a       City is seeking to find ways of meeting
very dilapidated condition. The area was   the financial challenge of ensuring that
opened to the public in 1963 as the Hill   the Pergola remains true to the dream of
Garden. Following the abolition of the     its creators.

(Photos: credit Richard Lea-Hair)

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