|The perfect escape from the Unfinished City.|
I was not disappointed. The Hill Garden is beautifully maintained, with manicured lawns, flowers, shrubs and trees from around the globe, a Georgian Arbour and, of course, the Pergola. Unfortunately, the Pergola was partially closed as someone had hired it for their wedding, so I was unable to witness the spectacular views over Hampstead Heath.
Although the Pergola is in need of some serious restoration, it is still a remarkable, and somewhat eerie, place to visit.
The Pergola was the brainchild of Lord Leverhulme and is, essentially, a raised walkway that offers views out over Hampstead Heath. Thomas Mawson, the landscape architect, began construction in 1905 using the excavated material from the nearby Northern Line. This saved Lord Leverhulme a small fortune by not having to import the material from further afield. Another benefit of this deal was that the construction time was also substantially reduced, which allowed for completion of the Pergola in 1906.
Extensions to the Hill Gardens and Pergola occurred in 1911 and 1925, shortly before the death of Lord Leverhulme.
Baron Inverforth then purchased the land and managed its upkeep until his death, in 1955.
The Hill Gardens and Pergola were opened to the public in 1963 and the Pergola is now Grade II Listed.