Stephen's House and Gardens receives £2.1million to restore listed landscape

Trust chairman Andy Savage outside the estate's stable block, which will be converted into a café

Trust chairman Andy Savage outside the estate's stable block, which will be converted into a café

First published in News
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Times Series: Photograph of the Author by

A historic estate received £2.1million funding to restore its listed landscape.

Avenue House Estate Trust was awarded the money from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery’s Parks for People programme to restore the Grade II listed landscape in East End Road, Finchley.

The estate's original owner Henry Stephens bought Avenue House in 1874 after his father Dr Henry Stephens invented blue-black ink in 1832 – and bequeathed the land to the people of Finchley on his death in 1918.

While living there, he instructed the leading garden designer of the time, Robert Marnock, to develop the grounds. which have remained open to the public since 1928.

Speaking to the Times Series, Andy Savage, chairman of the Avenue House Estate Trust, said: “I'm overjoyed to get the funding - it's been three years of hard work to get to this stage.

"We can now put the grounds and outbuildings into first class use, providing better catering, better facilities and decent toilets.

"We've had the estate roughly 100 years since Henry Stephens lived there - and this is hopefully a step in the right direction to maintaining it for the next 100 years."

The money will be used to restore many of the principal features of the garden’s original Marnock design, including the terrace, pond, rockery, bothy garden and the water tower, which will subsequently be taken off the English Heritage's 'at risk' register.

In addition, the Grade II listed stable block will be converted into a new café, the garage will be redeveloped into an activity centre and the play area will be improved with a new kiosk.

The project also includes funding to train both staff and volunteers, including two new apprentice gardeners.

The grant is part of a wider investment of £34.5million of Lottery money to 13 parks across the UK.


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