Grove Park, Chiswick
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Grove Park is an area in the south of Chiswick, now in the borough of Hounslow, West London. It lies in the meander of the Thames occupied by Duke's Meadows park. Historically, the area belonged to one of the four historic villages in modern Chiswick, Little Sutton.
Much of Grove Park was still rural until late in the 19th century; the risk of flooding from the tidal Thames protected it from building. One of the four constituent villages of Chiswick, Little Sutton, was in the Grove Park area, about the centre of the parish of Chiswick at that time; two other villages, Strand-on-the-Green and Old Chiswick, lie just to the west and to the east of Grove Park, respectively, with Turnham Green to the north.
Grove House to housing estate
A house stood on the site of Grove House from 1412; it was replaced by 1705 with, according to a contemporary observer, "a spacious regular modern building ... pleasantly situated by the Thames side. Behind it are gardens by some said to be the finest in England". Grove House was owned by the Barker family at that time; from 1745 it belonged to the Earl of Grantham, and then to an eccentric animal-lover, Humphrey Morice. The Duke of Devonshire bought the whole estate in the 1840s, reshaping Grove House without its third storey, and letting it to tenants.
The building of the railways including Chiswick railway station in 1849 spurred development. Grove Park Hotel was built in 1867, soon followed by housing. Growth was slow but steady, with residential development accompanied by small-scale industry such as soap making.
Robert William Shipway bought Grove House in the 1890s; it was demolished in 1928, and replaced by the houses on the west side of Kinnaird Avenue.
Queen Anne Revival style, Spencer Road, c. 1890
St Paul's Church
St Paul's Church, Grove Park Road, was designed in 1872 by Henry Currey, and built at the expense of William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire to provide a church for the newly-build Grove Park estate. It is made of irregular blocks of stone, and has an apse at its eastern end; there is no tower or tall spire. It has instead a fleche (a small spire) atop a mock belfry at the western end. Inside, the church has a high altar from St Margaret's, Birmingham, to a design by Lord Norton, and a large 16th century Florentine painting of the transfiguration of Christ.
The Transfiguration, after Raphael, late 16th century
St Michael's Church
St Michael's Church on Elmwood Road, Sutton Court was designed by the architects W. D. Caröe & Herbert Passmore; it was founded in 1908 and completed in 1909. It is described by Nikolaus Pevsner in The Buildings of England as "one of Caröe's most interesting churches in outer London". The building was funded by the sale of St Michael, Burleigh Street, on the Strand (in central London). Pevsner calls the exterior "picturesque"; it is in red brick, its buttresses joined by tiled arches, and with dormers in the roof. The crossing-point of the roof is marked by a turret with shingles and tiles; on the north of the crossing is "a curiously domestic excrescence" for ventilation and the church's belfry. The windows have decorative curving stone tracery in "free flamboyant Gothic" style; they are recessed under tiled arches. Inside, the font, lectern, and pulpit were brought from St Michael on the Strand, while the 1911 choir stalls were designed by Caröe. The south chapel's roof has a decoration made by Antony Lloyd in 1932. The stained glass windows in the south chapel and the sanctuary were made by Horace Wilkinson between 1914 and 1925.
Parks and nature reserves
Just to the east of the Grove Park area is Chiswick House, its gardens a public park. In the south of the peninsula is the open space of Duke's Meadows, though much of its area is now taken up with private sports grounds and allotments. Just beside the railway bridge is the small Duke's Hollow nature reserve, which is allowed to flood at high spring tides.
In the First World War, a pleasure lake that had belonged to Grove House, at the southern end of Hartington Road, was turned into Cubitt's Yacht Basin; during the war it made cast concrete barges to carry ammunition. When the war ended it was used to moor houseboats.
The actor John Thaw lived on Grove Park Road for many years, while British Army Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein lived on Bolton Road as a teenager. The poet Dylan Thomas lived in the vicarage of St Paul's Church in the 1940s.
St Paul's vicarage was used in the 2011 film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy of John Le Carre's novel, as was the BBC drama series Killing Eve, and the television detective series Lewis and Grantchester. The vicarage's garden was used "extensively" in the 2014 film about the physicist Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything.
- Willey, Russ (2007). Chambers London Gazetteer. Chambers. p. 205. ISBN 978-0550102591.
- Bolton, Diane K.; Croot, Patricia E. C.; Hicks, M. A. (1982). "Chiswick: Growth". In T. F. T. Baker; C. R. Elrington (eds.). A History of the County of Middlesex, Volume 7, Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden. London: British History Online. pp. 54–68.
- Clegg 1995, pp. 6, 12, 17.
- Clegg 1995, p. 31.
- Cherry & Pevsner 1991, p. 394.
- "Our History". St Paul's Church, Grove Park. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
- Cherry & Pevsner 1991, p. 394
- Baker 1982.
- Baker, T. F. T.; et al. (1982). A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden. Chiswick: Growth. British History Online.
- Cherry, Bridget; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1991). The Buildings of England. London 3: North West. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-071048-9. OCLC 24722942.
- Clegg, Gillian (1995). Chiswick Past. Historical Publications. ISBN 0-94866-733-8.