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.