website: Chiswick House Grounds
Open Days: 27 April, 8 June, 21 September from 1pm to 5pm
Work Sessions: First Sunday of every month 1-5pm; `quietâ€™ gardening days on Tuesdays from 10am to 3pm.
Volunteers always welcome for work sessions and to help with school sessions, also those who would like to learn to garden and people with other skills to offer. Donations of gardening equipment or plants would be gratefully received.
History: This old walled garden, now being brought back to horticultural life by the Chiswick House Kitchen Garden Association, was originally the kitchen garden of a large mansion known as Moreton Hall. This was built between 1682 and 1684 for the financial entrepreneur Sir Stephen Fox, reputed to be the `richest commoner in three kingdomsâ€™. The house stood in Burlington Lane, next door to Chiswick House. When King William III visited in 1691 he paid it what for him was a great compliment: `This place is perfectly fine. I could live here for five daysâ€™.
Sir Stephen died in 1716 and the estate passed through several hands until 1812 when it was bought by the 6th Duke of Devonshire. The Duke promptly demolished the house and incorporated the land into the grounds of Chiswick House. The present Italian Garden was laid out on the site of the house by Lewis Kennedy and the large conservatory, designed by Samuel Ware, was built to the north. All that remains of Sir Stephen Foxâ€™s original kitchen garden are the walls and gate piers at its entrance.
The garden was long neglected until, in 2005, a group of local volunteers formed the Chiswick House Kitchen Garden Association and planted out the garden. Children from local schools attend weekly sessions, weeding, planting and learning about food â€“ they even get to eat the produce.