Kenwood Estate

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Kenwood House

For three centuries or more, the estate of Kenwood has been a designed landscape combining formal gardens, parkland and woods.

A house of 1616 and lands passed to the third Earl of Bute around 1747, but he sold them in 1754 to William Murray, later the first Earl of Mansfield. Mansfield landscaped part of the farmland, created earlier by felling woods and expanded the estate from about 90 to 232 acres.

In 1914 the sixth Earl planned to sell Kenwood for building but then decided to sell it to the public. World War I halted his plans but a preservation council formed in 1921 bought 132 acres, designated Kenwood Fields and South Kenwood and it was opened to the public informally in 1925 and formally in 1928.

The first Lord Iveagh bought the house and grounds in 1925, mainly to own a suitable period house for his collection of pictures. When he died in 1927 the house, with the paintings and the surrounding park, became public by his bequest. Private trustees took over the house and the LCC the grounds.

Kenwood House passed to the LCC in 1949. When the GLC was abolished in 1986, the house, listed Grade I and grounds, listed Grade II in the Register of Parks and Garden of Special Historic Interest in England were taken over by English Heritage. Finally, in 1989 it was taken over by the Corporation of London along with the rest of the heath on behalf of English Heritage.