The mansion, which was initially called 'Southgate Grove', was built in 1797-98 to the designs of John Nash for Walker Gray, a Quaker brewer. The grounds were landscaped by Humphry Repton. 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."
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 Hospital Group. In 1998, General Pinochet was held under house arrest initially in Grovelands House while a patient at the Priory Hospital.
Listed and at risk
Grovelands Park was designated Grade II* Listed in October 1987, and has been on English Heritage's "Heritage at risk register" since 2009. English Heritage describe the park as highly vulnerable with "significant localised problems" and the trend of further decline. English Heritage believe the issues are caused due to the fragmented management of the park due to the number of landowners. A "historic environment assessment" commissioned by the London Borough of Enfield in 2008, provided priorities and guidelines for landowners when carrying out "repairs and restoration".
In 2013 Enfield Council revealed several concepts to improve the park, including refurbishing existing sports facilities, opening up disused land owned by Thames Water, and the provision of a new primary school.
Enfield Council reassured residents that the park they currently have access to will not be built on or reduced in size. The council has stated that: "Options include locating the new school in the area near to existing tennis courts whilst restoring and extending the existing tennis provision which may involve an artificial turfed surface."
Flora and fauna
When the lake was drained to install a new pumping and drainage system to curb flooding problems,[when?] 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.
- Historic England, "Grovelands Park (1000395)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 1 January 2017
- Historic England, "Grovelands Park Hospital (original block only) (1078925)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 1 January 2017
- Pps 771-772 in London and Middlesex: Or, An Historical, Commercial, & Descriptive Survey of The Metropolis of Great-Britain: Including Sketches of its Environs, and a Topographical Account or the Most Remarkable Places in the Above County by James Norris Brewer, 1816.
- "Suburbia Exotica". The Daily Telegraph, Property section. 17 May 2003.
- "Pinochet is told to quit his private hospital bed". Telegraph. London. 1998-12-01. Archived from the original on September 4, 2005. Retrieved 2006-08-01.
- English Heritage | English Heritage Archived 2013-10-20 at Archive.today
- Grovelands park - Proposal for Refurbishment and New School at Grovelands Park - Enfield Council Archived 2014-02-28 at the Wayback Machine
- "Feral terrapins terrorise ducks". BBC News online. 2005-08-10. Retrieved 2008-01-04.