Ennismore Gardens

Ennismore Gardens
(Photo: Gavin Gardiner)
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This beautiful, award-winning Victorian garden, named after William Hare, Viscount Ennismore and Earl of Listowel, formed part of the gardens and paddocks of Kingston House, which stretched the length of Prince's Gate. 

In the mid-19th century the house was built in the centre of the 21-acre estate for Elizabeth Chudleigh (the bigamist Duchess of Kingston, who was still married to the Earl of Bristol), from which she could enjoy uninterrupted views towards Surrey. Following her death. the development of the estate began in the 1840s.

The garden, named after William Hare, Viscount Ennismore and Earl of Listowel, covers half an acre. It was laid out and enclosed with cast-iron railings by Peter and Alexander Thorne in the late 1870s, after they had built the large houses of the northern, southern and western Portland stone ranges. These, added to the lesser brick-and-stucco houses of 1846-54 built by John Elger, completed the garden square.

The core of the garden, from the beginning, has been fine London plane trees. The present layout of grass, beds and borders, with a few minor changes, has survived for 50 or more years. The garden has been extensively developed and restored over the past 25 years.

An urn (a reduced-size replica of one designed by William Kent for Alexander Pope's garden in Twickenham) was erected in memory of actress Ava Gardner, who lived in the first-floor flat at No. 34 for many years. The most recent (2014) addition is a boulder garden of Cornish field stones, laid out below young silver birches.

Contract gardener: Robert Player

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