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: Friends of Gunnersbury Park & Museum