Kensington Roof Gardens

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The Roof Garden
  • The Roof Gardens
  • Derry and Toms Roof Gardens
  • Kensington Roof Gardens
Derry & Toms 26.JPG
Kensington Roof Gardens is located in Kensington
Kensington Roof Gardens
Type roof garden
Location 99 High Street
Coordinates 51°30′4″N 0°11′31″W / 51.50111°N 0.19194°W / 51.50111; -0.19194Coordinates: 51°30′4″N 0°11′31″W / 51.50111°N 0.19194°W / 51.50111; -0.19194
Area 6000 m2
Created 1936–1938
Founder Trevor Bowen
Designer Ralph Hancock
Open yes
Status listed
Designation Grade II

The Roof Garden (formerly known as Derry and Toms Roof Gardens and Kensington Roof Gardens) is a roof garden covering 6000 m2 (1.5 acres) on top of the former Derry and Toms building on Kensington High Street, in central London, in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Since the 1980s the garden has been used as a restaurant and club.

The gardens are not visible from Kensington High Street.[citation needed]


Derry and Toms department store was opened in Kensington in 1933. The gardens were laid out between 1936 and 1938 by Ralph Hancock, a landscape architect, on the instructions of Trevor Bowen (then vice-president of Barkers, the department store giant that owned the site and constructed the building). They cost £25,000 to create and visitors were charged 1 shilling to enter. Money raised was donated to local hospitals and £120,000 was raised during the next 30 years.[1]

The building housed the department store Derry and Toms until 1973, and then Biba until 1975. Since the 1980s the garden has been used as a restaurant and club.[2]

The Roof Garden was listed as a Grade II site by English Heritage in 1998.[2]

The gardens[edit]

It is divided into three themed gardens:

The Kensington Roof Gardens are barely visible from Kensington High Street.
  • a Spanish garden, in a Moorish style based upon the Alhambra in Spain, with fountains, vine-covered walkways and Chusan palms;
  • a Tudor style garden, characterised by its archways, secret corners and hanging wisteria. Roses, lilies and lavender contribute the rich summer scent to the garden;
  • an English woodland garden, with over 100 species of trees, a stream, and a garden pond that is the home to pintail ducks and four flamingos called Bill, Ben, Splosh and Pecks. There are over 30 different species of trees in the woodland garden, including trees from the original planting over sixty years ago, despite having only a metre of soil in which to grow. Although they are on a rooftop, the trees were made the subject of tree preservation orders in 1976.



  1. ^ Ralph Hancock F.R.H.S. – Landscape Artist - Derry and Toms roof garden, Parks & Gardens UK. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  2. ^ a b The Roof Garden, 99 High St, Kensington – 1001406. Historic England. Accessed March 2017.