|Brent Lodge Park||Ealing|
Brent Lodge Park is on the site of the former landscape park of Brent Lodge, created by the Rector of Hanwell. He acquired the house in 1795 and enlarged it, created a new driveway and landscaped the grounds, building a cottage orné in the east. Owners in the C19th added a walled garden, stable block, greenhouses and other outbuildings, and ornamental tree planting continued. It became the home of Sir Montagu Sharpe and his wife, who eventually sold the estate to Ealing Council in 1931. Brent Lodge Park was opened to the public and various recreational facilities have been added over the years, including Brent Lodge Animal Centre, which has developed from a small group of aviaries in the 1960s. The gardens are on the higher ground overlooking the parkland and river, either side of the main path on the east of the site, and provide the setting for the buildings and animal enclosures. The park became part of the wider Brent River Park in 1976.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2010
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The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
Brent Lodge Park is on the site of the late C18th/early C19 landscape park of Brent Lodge, which is now much fragmented and altered. Settlement at Hanwell is mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086 and a church had been established on the site of St Mary's Hanwell (q.v.) by 948 AD. In 1788 outlying parts of the estate at Hanwell Park to the east of the church were sold off and land became available on Church Road. During the late C18th and early C19th, several cottages on Church Road were demolished to make way for larger houses with pleasure gardens running down the hill to the north. In 1785 the Rector of Hanwell was George Henry Glasse, a classical scholar, who began to buy land around the church and who in 1795 acquired the house at Brent Lodge, formerly known as Brent End. He enlarged the house, established a driveway from the end of Church Road to the house, and landscaped the grounds. His land extended eastwards into Churchfields and Church Road where he built a cottage orné. On his death in 1809 Brent Lodge passed to his son-in-law Dr Hume, medical assistant to the Duke of Wellington during his campaigns, and after this to Alderman George Bridge, former Lord Mayor of London. In the C19th a walled garden, stable block, greenhouses and other outbuildings were added and ornamental tree planting was continued. By the late C19th the owner of Brent Lodge was Captain John Parsons, whose daughter married Sir Montagu Sharpe, the heir to Hanwell's largest estate, Hanwell Park, and an eminent local historian and politician. The couple made Brent Lodge their home.
In 1898 Sir Montagu sold land in Churchfields to Hanwell UDC, which had been established in 1895, as a result of which Churchfields Recreation Ground (q.v.) was opened as a public park. Then in 1931 Sir Montagu sold the Brent Lodge estate to Ealing Borough Council, which had been established as a Borough since 1901 and had absorbed Hanwell UDC in 1926. Brent Lodge Park was then opened to the public; the house was demolished in 1936 after a fire, and a café was built on its site.
Brent Lodge Animal Centre has developed in the park from a small group of aviaries, which had been erected in the 1960s; in 1976 the small collection of animals was enlarged and new enclosures were built, which was further extended in 1983 and again in 1998. The Animal Centre is probably one of the smallest member collections of The Federation of Zoological Gardens of Great Britain and Ireland.
The park is bounded by the River Brent to the north, west and south, with the main entrance from Church Road through the restored C19th church lych gate. To the east of the main entrance a lawn extends out into the park, and the main path southwards follows the former route to the Lodge laid out in the C19th. The gardens are situated on the higher grounds overlooking the landscape park and river and are on either side of the main path on the east of the site, and provide the setting for the buildings and animal enclosures. The garden area has hedges, shrubs and trees, raised beds with paths. The only building to survive from the C19th is the two-storey stable block, now the Environmental Centre occupied by the Brent Lodge Ranger Team, although fragments of C19th wall survives in the brick wall running from the stable block to the animal buildings and to the café. A gate at the north of the wall, into which just north of the gate is a well, leads to a garden area with timber deck bridges over a rockery and a cascade between upper and lower ornamental ponds planted with conifers and water plants, and picnic areas to the south with small trees, bamboo and shrubs. Bird cages and a brick column pergola lie to the east. The gate adjacent to the café is dated 1983 and is flanked by a cast iron water hydrant and well built into the raised brick planting beds. Land to north of the main path in the north-east corner of the park is managed as a nature reserve with mature trees and scrub partially cleared next to the path and contains the ruins of an icehouse. Within the park are a few trees that pre-date the C18th/C19th landscaping (holm oak, yew, London plane), and near the Gothic lodge are Cedars and yew, with good plane and horse chestnut trees on the lawn.
Later C20th developments have included a pitch and putt course, bowling green and tennis courts, the latter now the site of a Millennium Maze, opened in May 2000 and planted with yew hedges and a central shelter. The former walled garden is behind the old stable block, and there are plans for this neglected area to be reclaimed and turned into a wildlife garden. Other later features include a good horse chestnut walk, and a C20th shelter.
Other fragments of the earlier landscape include 2 lakes in private woodland of horse chestnut, yew, holly and laurel located north of Church Road, with C19th cascades fed by springs, and a stone-edged circular pool. Planting around the lake includes a group of London plane, horse chestnut, holm oak, holly and yews. A small grotto arch has the inscription "Dulcissimo sororum pari amoris ergo et hostii [?]pos fonteis"; there are remains of paths with stone steps, and a boathouse, which may have been built by Montagu Sharpe in the early C20th. The cottage orné remains as The Hermitage, No. 204 Church Road. A notable hollow way leads north across the golf course from Church Road with oak boundary trees.
In 1976 Brent Lodge Park became part of the Brent River Park following proposals by the Brent River and Canal Society, which was established in 1973 to set up a linear park and improve the Brent Valley river corridor. Brent River Park covers 400 hectares along its 7km length, and includes formal parks such as Brent Lodge Park, Churchfields Recreation Ground, Pitshanger and Elthorne Parks (q.q.v.) and open space, golf courses, sports grounds, allotments and privately owned land. Brent River Park received £400,000 in 2009 under the Mayor of London's Priority Parks scheme, which was matched by £487,000 from Ealing Council. Improvement projects are underway in the various parks and open spaces that come under Brent River Park, including in Brent Lodge Park. A number of projects were completed in 2010 in the Animal Centre where the South American Aviary opened on 17 July, the Pond Aviary on 21 August and the Ibis Aviary on 18 September. The Brent Lodge Park toilet block is due to be refurbished and a new community garden is being created. Brent Lodge Park and Churchfields won a Green Flag Award in 2009.
Meg Game, John Archer, Mathew Frith, 'Nature Conservation in Ealing', Ecology Handbook 16 (London Ecology Unit), 1991; Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed); LB Ealing Conservation Area Appraisal (April 1999). AJC also lists: Montagu Sharp 'Bygone Hanwell', 1924 pp72-73; Victoria County History vol 3; K McEwan 'Ealing Walkabout', 1983 pp206-207; Peter Hounsell, 'Ealing and Hanwell Past' (Historical Publications, 1991).