Hidden London

Grove Park

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Hounslow

The south-western part of the Chiswick peninsula, consisting of a popular residential zone and extensive sports grounds. The first Grove House stood here from at least 1412. The Duke of Devonshire bought the estate in 1833 and remodelled the house. After the opening of Chiswick station in 1849 the duke began to plan a settlement at Grove Park but this was slow to get underway. Grove Park Hotel was built in 1867, followed by the first few houses and then St Paul’s church in 1872. The popularity of Bedford Park prompted two attempts at building a garden suburb here. Thomas Kemp Welch advertised a development called Chiswick Park and Jonathan Carr, Bedford Park’s creator, planned a new town called Burlingwick, which would have covered 330 acres and housed 40,000 people. Nothing so grand ever eventuated and Grove Park continued to grow with a series of smaller projects, such as the Riverview estate of 1904. Soap-makers Dan and Charles Mason began to produce Cherry Blossom boot polish at their factory in Burlington Lane in 1906. The company acquired land on Duke’s Meadows in the 1920s for a packaging plant and an employees’ sport ground. The rest of the meadows were preserved by the council after schemes for a gasworks and a power station were dropped. The Kinnaird Park estate replaced Grove House following its demolition in 1928. There seems to be some truth in stories that the house’s building materials were exported to the United States but they were not all reassembled in one place. In Staveley Gardens the Chiswick Polish Company built semi-detached houses for its workers in 1930 and maisonettes for retired employees in 1960. Cherry trees were planted to line the walks. Chiswick Quay is an estate of mid-1970s townhouses built around a marina that was once Grove House’s ornamental lake and later a yacht and houseboat basin. Many of the large homes of the original Grove Park estate have been demolished and replaced by flats or smaller houses but a few early villas survive, notably on Grove Park Road. The built-up stretch of the riverfront has seen several new developments in recent years, mostly of modest proportions, including the conversion of the former RAF Association offices into flats.

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Grove Park Road

Bernard Montgomery, later Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, lived on Bolton Road as a teenager. Actor John Thaw lived on Grove Park Road for twenty years from 1978.

Duke’s Meadows, to the south of Grove Park, is awash with sports facilities – for tennis, athletics, cricket and more – as well as with bases for rowing and sailing on the Thames. The University of Westminster’s sports ground (formerly the Polytechnic Stadium) has an impressive grandstand, in need of restoration.

Polytechnic Stadium

Postal district: W4
Station: South West Trains (Chiswick station is bang in the middle of Grove Park, zone 3)

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

 
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