Primrose Hill (also known as Primrose Hill Open Space)6428

Camden, England, Greater London

Brief Description

Primrose Hill, which lies to the north of Regent's Park, became a public park in 1842. The site occupies about 25 hectares, and has spectacular views of central London. The hill top, which gives panoramic views over London, has been exposed and treeless since the Middle Ages, and on the slopes are many mature trees including oak, horse chestnut, London planes, whitebeam and hawthorn.

History

Until the mid-19th century Primrose Hill was farmland. The owners, Eton College, had been planning to use the site for building plots, but following a recommendation from the government, the Crown Commissioners, in 1838, offered to buy Primrose Hill to form an extension of Regent's Park. The site became Crown property in 1841. After 1851 the land was drained and levelled on the north and west sides of the hill, and footpaths and lamps and some new planting were laid out. In 1863 the north side of the hill was developed for housing. The site is now managed by the Royal Parks Authority as public park.

Visitor Facilities

The park is open daily from 5 am. Closing times vary seasonally. Please see: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/the-regents-park/visitor-information/opening-times-and-getting-there More information

Terrain

The site rises steeply to a northern plateau before dropping down to the northern boundary.

Detailed Description

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

A mid-19th century public park added to Regent's Park in 1841.

SITE DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES AND LANDFORM

Primrose Hill is situated to the west of London, immediately to the north of Regent's Park (qv GD1156) and clkm west of Euston Station. Green Park (qv GD1799) lies c3km to the south and Hampstead Heath c3km to the north. The 25ha of Primrose Hill rise steeply to a northern plateau before dropping down to the northern boundary. To the south, Primrose Hill is separated from Regent's Park by Prince Albert Road and is bounded to the north by the backs of houses and school buildings in Elsworthy Road, with Primrose Hill Road, Regent's Park Road and Albert Terrace making for the eastern boundary. The boundary to the south-west is largely made up from Barrow Hill, a covered reservoir made to supply water to the villas in and around Regent's Park in 1828. The boundary to the north-west is made up from the backs of houses on Avenue Road. The site is enclosed with various materials including railings, brick wall, clipped hedges and shrubberies.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

Primrose Hill is entered from a number of points around the site. The entrance to the south-west, from Prince Albert Road, is guarded by brick built Primrose Hill Lodge (c1870). After standing empty for a number of years the Lodge was refurbished in the late C20. The grounds around the lodge are separated from the park by C20 iron railings.

THE PARK

The steeply rising hill is laid to grass and cut by tarred paths which radiate across from points on the east and west perimeter paths and from the south-west and south-eastern corners. The paths to the south are largely decorated with ornamental trees, Primrose Hill lost many of its mature trees during the storms of 1987 and 1990. A path runs north-west from the south-eastern corner and continues, slightly to the east of centre, to the circular hard surfaced view point at the summit of the hill. From this point, which in the late C20 was marked with the points of the compass, the panorama of the city of London can be viewed. To the west, the roofs of the covered structures of Barrow Hill Reservoir are partially screened by trees as are the C 19 housing developments on the northern and eastern boundaries. To the north-west, below the western slopes of the hill sports pitches have been made. Below the southern slopes is a late C20 children's recreation ground, built near the site of the gymnasium made in 1847.

REFERENCES

Printed material:

William Gillespie and Partners, The Regents Park: Royal Parks Survey, 1981. (This report contains numerous references and maps.)

The Royal Parks Review Group, Royal Parks Review, St James and Green Parks, Regents Park and Primrose Hill, 1993, pp 41-84

Maps

G.Richardson, Marylebone Park Farm, 1794

Barnett and Britton, Survey of St Marylebone and Paddington, 1834

Plan of Regent's Park and Primrose Hill Estate belong to the Crown, 1850

W A Nesfield, Plan for Avenue Garden, 1864

First edition Ordnance Survey, 25" to one mile, 1870

Second edition Ordnance Survey, 25" to one mile, 1895

Description written: September 2000

Features
  • Boundary Wall
  • Description: Brick boundary wall.
  • Hedge
  • Description: The site is partly enclosed by clipped hedges.
Railings, Shrubbery
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The park is open daily from 5 am. Closing times vary seasonally. Please see: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/the-regents-park/visitor-information/opening-times-and-getting-there

Directions

London Overground: Camden Road then bus. Tube: Camden Town (Northern) then bus. Bus 274.
History

Detailed History

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

Until the mid 19th century Primrose Hill was farmland with hedgerow boundaries and a few tree surviving from the ancient Middlesex Forest (William Gillespie and Partners p18). However since 1822 the owners, Eton College, had been planning to divide the hill into building plots. In 1829 plans were drawn up to develop the whole of the hill, the plans included new road links to the north but no offers were made for them. In 1831 a private individual leased the hill intending to sub-let it to the Royal Botanical Society and, in 1836, the London Cemetery Company made an application for land for a burial ground. Neither of these proposals was approved. Following a recommendation from the government, the Crown Commissioners, in 1838, offered to buy Primrose Hill from Eton College in order to form an extension of Regent's Park, and the site became Crown property in 1841. In the following year, after an Act had been passed securing the land as public open space, the public was freely admitted. The boundaries were marked by an oak fence and hedgerows were removed, a year later the bridge connecting Regent's Park with Primrose Hill was completed and opened. A Gymnasium was built near to the southern boundary in about 1847.

In 1851 Primrose Hill, along with the parkland of Regent's Park, was transferred, by means of the Crown Land Act, from the management of the Commissioners of Woods, Forests and Chases, to the newly formed Ministry of Works. The new management soon tacked the problems of drainage and levels, especially in the north and west where ponds and hollows were considered dangerous to the public. The improvement work was carried out intermittently between 1851 and 1900 and included the laying of an extensive footpath system with lamps along the main routes and some new planting.

By the 1860s Primrose Hill had become a popular place for public meetings, demonstrations and rallies and, around this time, an area to the east was set aside as a Guards Drill Ground and a Refreshment Lodge was built to the west. By the turn of the century buildings surrounded Primrose Hill on three sides.

In the year 2000 Primrose Hill remains the property of the Crown, and, along with Regent's Park, is managed by the Royal Parks Authority as public park.

Period

  • Mid 19th Century
Contact
References

References