Our Appeals

Marble Hill Revived

A much-loved London landmark is on the brink of being restored – but it needs your help.

We’re working on restoring the gardens, conserving the house and finding new ways to tell its stories. And, crucially, we want to share Marble Hill with more people than ever before. With your help we can conserve and restore this local landmark.

 

Sponsor a bulb

Help us plant thousands of bulbs in Marble Hill Park. Your bulbs will return year after year, propagating and spreading as the years progress. With your generous gift you are introducing features of the landscape which will last for generations, producing a bigger and better display with every spring which passes.

£10 will sponsor 10 bulbs.

Your support makes a difference

Marble Hill was opened to the public in 1903 after local councils and private donors came together to save it from developers. Now it needs our help again. 

The building is in need of significant repairs, and the Georgian glory of the landscape has been forgotten. The house is rarely open, and many people in the area have never visited this priceless piece of local heritage.

We’re working on changing that. But English Heritage is a charity, and we need your help.

 

OUR PLANS FOR MARBLE HILL

This is an exciting opportunity to open up Marble Hill House more often, revive the landscape and improve the facilities across the park. 

Key elements of our plans include:

  • Conserving the interior and exterior of the house
  • Opening up the house more often, for free
  • Re-creating Henrietta Howard's lost Pleasure Gardens
  • Opening up more areas in the park and create new habitats to improve the park's biodiversity
  • Refurbishing the cafe, sports pitches, changing facilities, and creating a new play area for children

We want to keep what makes Marble Hill so special but we also want to make it even better.

Kenwood Curator Tour

ENGLISH HERITAGE GUARDIANS

The Guardians scheme recognises donors who support English Heritage with gifts of £2,500 or more. The pandemic has seriously impacted our conservation work, and we need the support of our Guardians now more than ever.

Our circle of Guardians not only champion heritage, but have the chance to engage more deeply with our work, our places and our people. This includes opportunities to meet the conservators, historians, scientists, and educators who are at the front line of caring for our heritage.

Find Out More

Latest updates

August 2021 Updates

August will see the departure of the project's building contractors who've been working tirelessly on reviving Marble Hill House, and following the easing of restrictions the cafe interior is now open.

The project's contractors have been hard at work over the last year making necessary repairs and installing systems which carefully monitor the house's environment, safeguarding Marble Hill and its collection for the future.

English Heritage conservation specialists and volunteers are now making sure every inch of the space is free from dust before the silks can be rehung and the collection brought back.

The new interpretation scheme for the house and collection has been finalised, and local families have helped create a free family trail. When the house opens next spring, we hope it will give little explorers an enjoyable way to understand more about the stories and the people of Marble Hill House.

We're pleased to be able to open the Coach House Cafe for sit down service where visitors can now enjoy homemade soups and sausage rolls, hot sandwiches and scrumptious salads, some of which use produce grown in our very own kitchen garden.

To find out more, download a copy of our newsletter.

  • July 2021 Updates

    July 2021 Updates

    We have been planting thousands of shrubs and native hedgerow plants and hundres of trees in the woodland quarter over the past two years and fragrant herbs now adorn the entrace to the cafe.

    As you may have seen we have recently opened our play area, we hope your little ones have been enjoying its new features such as the trampoline and willow tunnel.

    We are also renovating the cricket nets and tennis courts, and there is a new website where you will be able to book your sessions.

    Marble Hill House's newly painted exterior was also revealed when the scaffolding came down in April and we have also been sampling the paint inside the house for research. We will continue to work on the interiors over the summer with the house's collection being moved back later in the year.

    To find out more, download a copy of our newsletter.

  • Spring Updates 2021

    Spring Updates 2021

    Huge progress has been made as part of the restoration of Marble Hill House which will see it open for free, five days a week in 2022. Before Christmas, we repaired the roof and the house was repainted a more authentic colour. Paint specialists specified an off-white to replicate the 'lead white' that would have been used historically.

    Seasonal highlights:

    • To help make sure that the house fully accessible and more people can enjoy Marble Hill's story, we have installed a lift to the first floor of the house
    • Repairs have been undertaken throughout the house and the drainage system has also been improved
    • We have been looking at new interpretation for the house, and we can't wait to work with the Marble Hill community to help develop the new family trail that will be given out as visitors enter the house
    • In the park, the football and rugby fields have been repaired and 4,000 bulbs have been planted by our volunteers
    • The Friends of Marble Hill group has been set up with more people joining the committee and bringing many skills with them. We're looking forward to working with them to broaden the outreach of the Friends group across all sections of the community.

    Read our full newsletter here.

  • Winter 2020 Updates

    As you may have seen, work has been continuing across the park this winter, including archaeology in three locations to explore and understand the park’s history in a little more detail. More sports pitches have been resurfaced and the children’s play area is due to have equipment installed – ready to open alongside the café in 2021.

    Seasonal highlights:

    • We’ve been carrying out work to the drainage system to help with the significant damp problem. All the windows and blinds in the house are in the process of being restored and replaced where necessary, and now we have much better water pressure.
    • Significant conservation work has been carried out on key pieces within the collection and new interpretation is being installed, including a soundscape and children’s dress up area.
    • This November you’ll also see poppies across Marble Hill – each one representing a life lost in our community during the two world wars. During November volunteer research on Marble Hill’s role in the war effort will also be on display alongside our programme of online seminars.
    • A group of volunteers has set up the Friends of Marble Hill to help support the park and the house, and to ensure it continues to be a wonderful place for community.  Find out how you can get involved in our newsletter.

    Read our full newsletter here.

  • Autumn Updates 2020

    Throughout the pandemic, the park at Marble Hill has been operating with a smaller than usual team – but it’s still been open for everyone to enjoy. We’ve also continued to work on the Marble Hill Revived project in a way that has ensured the safety of our park users, staff and contractors.

    Of course the impact of the pandemic has been challenging for us, and delays have been unavoidable. We are now planning to open the new café in 2021 with the house to follow in 2022. The house will still be opening free of charge five days a week, as planned.

    Seasonal highlights:

    • In July, we took a special delivery from Ham House – a boatload of freshly-cut hay, full of seeds of flowering plants and delicate grasses. This was then spread out at various locations across Marble Hill, it is hoped that a similarly abundant grassland will flourish in Marble Hill’s park.
    • We completed the walkway nearest to Orleans Gallery and work started on improving the sports pitches including significant drainage work and reseeding the grass.
    • Our event programme was also able to safely restart in September, with our Family Heritage Days and Planting for Butterflies online seminar.

    Find out more in our newsletter.

  • Winter Updates 2019

    With the House now closed to the public, our Collections team have been busy removing over 1,000 historic items from the house in time for the start of building works. Specialist art handlers have also helped us to pack and transport the house's delicate gilt furniture and precious paintings. 

    Since the collection has been removed we've made some intriguing discoveries - a fragment of historic wallpaper was found beneath the replica wallpaper in the Dressing Room, and we've uncovered evidence of previously unknown doorways. 

    When the house re-opens in 2021, you will be able to visit it for free, five days of the week for seven months of the year.

    Please note that from 25th November 2019 the White Lodge gate will be closed for public access as works take place on our Marble Hill House restoration project. The nearest access into Marble Hill Park in the vicinity of White Lodge will be the pedestrian gate on Richmond Road directly in front of Marble Hill House.

    Seasonal highlights include:

    • Landscape work began in the north woodland quarters in December to help encourage more biodiversity and protect native plant species. If you would like to get involved, please check our  Volunteers page for future opportunities and check our events page to join our community volunteer mornings. 

    Find out more in our newsletter.

  • Autumn 2019 update

    We are now at a stage where you will begin to see phased work taking place in the landscape and within the house at Marble Hill. 

    At the end of this season, Marble Hill House will close to the public for conservation works. When the house re-opens in 2021, you will be able to visit it for free, five days of the week for seven months of the year.

    Please note that from 25th November 2019 the White Lodge gate will be closed for public access as works take place on our Marble Hill House restoration project. The nearest access into Marble Hill Park in the vicinity of White Lodge will be the pedestrian gate on Richmond Road directly in front of Marble Hill House.

    Seasonal highlights include:

    • The recruitment of our new Head Gardener who will help recruit park volunteers and deliver the revived landscape as part of the project. If you would like to get involved, please check our  Volunteers page for future opportunities.
    • The project has also created training opportunities to develop skills in heritage and horticulture such as the recruitment of our new Apprentice Gardener.

    Find out more in our newsletter.

  • Summer 2019 - Marble Hill Revived Update

    Since our planning application received approval in December 2018, we’ve been working hard on the Marble Hill Revived project.

     This has included:

    • Our Ranger team working with the Environment Trust volunteers throughout the year to plant a new hedge line along the Western perimeter of the park. The improved wildlife hedge will provide increased nectar, berries and foliage. 
    • We have also had an action packed summer with an exciting events programme. Our programme included lots of various activities from art picnics to a family fun day and heritage mornings. We’re looking forward to our next season of events and hope to see you there. 
  • September 2018 our revised planning application has been submitted

    SEPTEMBER 2018 - OUR REVISED PLANNING APPLICATION HAS BEEN SUBMITTED

    We've been listening to your thoughts and concerns about our proposals for Marble Hill. And in response, we’ve made some significant changes including: 

    ■ The Café – instead of extending the existing café, we’ll refurbish it and keep it within the Stable Block

    ■ The Play Area – we will keep the existing baby area and provide another space for young children

    ■ The Landscape – we will place a greater emphasis on biodiversity and we’ll restore the landscape at a slower pace to reduce the short-term impact on wildlife

    For more information, read our latest community newsletter.

    Thank you to everyone who commented on our plans. The feedback we’ve received over the past six months has made for a better proposal. We’ve now submitted a new planning application and we’re asking you to support it.

  • March 2018 - Further consultation

    We want to get our plans for Marble Hill right. In light of concerns raised about the project - about the extension of the café, the play area and the restoration of the historic garden - we are starting a new community consultation programme to try to find a practical consensus on the areas of concern.

    We will:

    • Widen the membership of the existing Community Steering Group to include additional residents' groups and other groups so that their concerns can be fully represented
    • Set up a number of Consultation Workshops to discuss those aspects of the proposals that have attracted particular concerns
    • Organise a number of open days at the park where we can answer your questions
    • Be in touch with you more regularly so that you can see and read about the proposals more easily

    We hope that, together, we can go forward positively to secure agreement on how best to revive Marble Hill House and Park.

This portrait of Henrietta Howard by Charles Jervas was painted in about 1724, when work on Marble Hill House was just beginning
This portrait of Henrietta Howard by Charles Jervas was painted in about 1724, when work on Marble Hill House was just beginning

Background to the Project

HENRIETTA HOWARD AND MARBLE HILL

Henrietta Howard (1689–1767) is best known for being the mistress of the Prince of Wales, later King George II. But that’s only a part of her life story. Orphaned at the age of 12, she was married at 16 to a drunk and a gambler, and from quite a young age was partially deaf, but she overcame these circumstances to become one of the most liked ladies of the royal court.

It was during her 20 years at court that she began to build Marble Hill House at Twickenham as a retreat from court life. Here at Marble Hill, Henrietta built friendships and networks to become central to the ‘Twickenham set’, including Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, John Gay and Horace Walpole, and triumphed over adversity to marry again, happily, later in life.

Our new interpretation will re-animate the house with tales of the vibrant cast of characters around Henrietta, from family members to visitors to pet dogs.

Read more about Henrietta Howard
We will base our restoration of the garden on this survey of Marble Hill made in about 1749
We will base our restoration of the garden on this survey of Marble Hill made in about 1749
© Norfolk Record Office, MC184/10/1 (rights reserved)

The Historic Landscape

Henrietta Howard’s garden is a rare surviving example of an early 18th-century villa landscape. It was designed to provide an appropriately ‘ancient’ setting for the villa itself, which was in the classically inspired Palladian style. Key figures in the history of designed landscapes, including Charles Bridgeman and the poet Alexander Pope, played a part in the garden’s creation.

Marble Hill became a public park in 1902, after a campaign to protect the land from development and save the famous view from Richmond Hill – the only English landscape view protected by Act of Parliament. Today it’s a much-loved and lively local amenity, used for sports as well as a tranquil retreat from city life.

Currently, though, the park reflects neither the landscape’s 18th-century origins, nor Henrietta’s story. Through the project, English Heritage will restore elements of her lost garden, which lay directly between the house and the river. Key features, based on a detailed plan made in about 1749, will be recreated for the first time, including a ninepin bowling alley, flower gardens, terraces and serpentine paths.  

Read more about the Historic Landscape

Thank You

We would like to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.

A project made possible thanks to a £4.08m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.

Please visit The National Lottery Heritage fund website

Follow @HeritageFundUK on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and use hashtag #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

'step into englands story