Gunnersbury, Hounslow

A tube station, park and a pair of mansions situated in the far north-western corner of Chiswick

The large and small mansions in Gunnersbury Park
The large and small man­sions in Gun­ners­bury Park, seen before restora­tion got under way

Gun­ners­bury is one of the few places in Lon­don to have been named after a woman, in this case Gunnhil­dr, whose manor this was. There is no evi­dence for the sug­ges­tion that she was a niece of King Canute but she may have had Dan­ish blood.

Gun­ners­bury House was a Pal­la­di­an man­sion built in the mid-17th cen­tu­ry for Sir John May­nard, the king’s prin­ci­pal ser­jeant-at-law. Princess Amelia, daugh­ter of George II, made the vil­la her sum­mer res­i­dence from 1762 to 1786.

The estate was sold in 1800 and the house was demol­ished and replaced by Gun­ners­bury Park and Gun­ners­bury House, lat­er called the Large Man­sion and the Small Man­sion.

In 1835 Gun­ners­bury Park was acquired and then enlarged by the banker Nathan May­er Roth­schild. His nephew Leopold de Roth­schild bought Gun­ners­bury House in 1889 and put it to use as a guest house for vis­i­tors to Gun­ners­bury Park, who includ­ed Edward VII.

After Leopold’s death in 1917 the estate was split up. Part was sold for build­ing, while the local bor­oughs bought the man­sions and 186 acres of park­land. The Large Man­sion is home to Gun­ners­bury Park Muse­um, which dis­plays Eal­ing and Hounslow’s local his­to­ry col­lec­tions. The Small Man­sion is most­ly in a state of dis­use.

In 2014 the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund and Big Lot­tery Fund made a grant for the restora­tion of and improve­ments to the land­scape and build­ings of Gun­ners­bury Park. The muse­um reopened in June 2018 and the over­all ‘trans­for­ma­tion’ is due for com­ple­tion in 2026.

Gun­ners­bury sta­tion (orig­i­nal­ly Brent­ford Road) was rebuilt in 1966 with an 18-storey office block above, now occu­pied by the British Stan­dards Insti­tu­tion.

The Russ­ian Ortho­dox Cathe­dral stands on Har­vard Road, just south of the sta­tion. It was built in 1998 in the tra­di­tion­al ‘Pskov’ style, with an onion-shaped dome paint­ed in blue with gold stars.

Gun­ners­bury Tri­an­gle is a six-acre nature reserve on Bol­lo Lane, sit­u­at­ed between rail­way lines. It has birch and wil­low wood­land with an attrac­tive pond, marsh and mead­ow, but not much in the way of rare species.

Postal districts: W3 and W4
Station: District line and London Overground (North London line) (zone 3)
Further reading: Ann Collett-White and James Collett-White, Gunnersbury Park and the Rothschilds, Heritage Publications, 1993
Website: Visit Gunnersbury