Dartmouth Park

Dartmouth Park, Camden/Islington

A group of well-built Victorian estates in south Highgate

Chetwynd Road

Dart­mouth Park Hill was orig­i­nal­ly part of the old­est road in High­gate, a mucky track through thick for­est that lat­er became part of the manor and parish bound­aries. The earls of Dart­mouth acquired much of the land here in the 18th cen­tu­ry. To the south-west of their estate, lux­u­ri­ous four-bed­room homes lined Grove Ter­race in 1780. Oth­er impres­sive hous­es were built on the periph­er­al roads in the first half of the 19th cen­tu­ry.

Oppo­site the south­ern tip of High­gate Ceme­tery is Hol­ly Vil­lage, built in 1865 for the retired ser­vants of the Bur­dett-Coutts fam­i­ly, who lived on the oth­er side of Swains Lane. Whit­ting­ton Hos­pi­tal evolved from a work­house infir­mary estab­lished in 1869 by the Poor Law guardians of St Pan­cras parish.

In the 1870s the Dart­mouths began to devel­op their estate and few gaps remained by the end of the cen­tu­ry. Dart­mouth Park Road was endowed with some very spa­cious prop­er­ties but those near­er Dart­mouth Park Hill were priced more afford­ably.

The ter­raced hous­es of High­gate New Town extend­ed across the bor­ough bor­der into Isling­ton dur­ing the 1880s, while the Con­ser­v­a­tive Land Soci­ety laid out Spencer Rise, Churchill Road and Ingestre Road near Tufnell Park. Around the same time the New Riv­er Com­pa­ny built a pump­ing sta­tion and two cov­ered reser­voirs on the east side of Dart­mouth Park Hill.

Dart­mouth Park Lodge became a gate­house for Water­low Park when it opened in 1891.

Twen­ti­eth-cen­tu­ry evo­lu­tion con­sist­ed of gap-fill­ing and the sub­di­vi­sion of larg­er hous­es. Cam­den coun­cil rede­vel­oped High­gate New Town in the 1970s in a scheme that has been called ‘archi­tec­tural­ly sculp­tur­al, but social­ly dis­as­trous’.

Hidden London: an imposing residence on Dartmouth Park Hill
Dart­mouth Park Hill

Local res­i­dent and Cam­den coun­cil­lor John Thane court­ed con­tro­ver­sy in 2005 when he argued that Dart­mouth Park is “a nice hotch­potch but why should that make it a con­ser­va­tion area?”

The “exot­ic and the­atri­cal” rein­ven­tion of a ter­raced Vic­to­ri­an house in Dart­mouth Park won a RIBA Lon­don award in 2018.

The open space called Dart­mouth Park con­sists most­ly of the fenced-off and grassed-over roof of the Vic­to­ri­an reser­voirs men­tioned above. But there’s also a pub­licly acces­si­ble sec­tion that offers some dis­tinc­tive views across north Lon­don.

The operatic impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte lived at 2 Dartmouth Park Road in the early 1860s, with his parents and many siblings.

Postal districts: NW5, NW6 (Holly Village) and N19
Website: Dartmouth Park
* The pictures of Chetwynd Road at the top of this page is modified from an original photograph, copyright Christopher Hilton, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.