Located in Winchmore Hill, London is Grovelands Park which originated as a private estate.
The house was built in 1797 to the designs of John Nash
for Walker Gray
, a Quaker
brewer. The grounds were landscaped by Humphry Repton
. The mansion was erected in 1797–1798 and was initially called 'Southgate Grove'. In 1816 the building was described as being "a regular building of Ionic order, and presents a fine example of that beautiful style". Lucinda Lambton
has called the building an "idiosyncratically flounced, classical villa", and mentions that the owner bought much of the parkland to avoid the sight of other people's chimneys. She goes on to describe the interior: "Inside, there survives one of the most delicate delights in all London: Nash's octagonal dining-room, painted as if you are in a bamboo birdcage, looking our through the bars at the fields, woods and sky.
After Gray's death the property was acquired by John Donnithorne Taylor (also connected to the Taylor Walker & Co Brewery), whose family continued to live at Grovelands up to World War I.
Part of the estate was purchased by the Municipal Borough of Southgate in 1913 to become a public park. The house is part of the Priory Clinic. In 1998, General Pinochet was held under house arrest initially in Grovelands House while a patient at the Priory Clinic.
The park comprises a wooded area with a pumped stream that flows from a lake to a grill, a grassed area including several football pitches and associated facilities, a children's playground and a pavilion. A small aviary used to be present but was removed in the early 1990s.
There is also a single basketball court that has recently been refurbished and a nine-hole pitch and putt golf course that is open in the summer months.
Flora and fauna
A dangerous algal
bloom formed on the lake in the late 1990s.
When the lake was drained to install a new pumping and drainage system to curb flooding problems, a large number of terrapins were found to be living in the lake. The terrapins were believed to be the descendants of discarded pets that were able to survive and breed. Feral terrapins are a recurring problem in many London waterways.