Shakespeare's plays and Miss Isabel Pole in a green dress
26 Apr 2017
London, United Kingdom
Built in 1859 by Rev. Edward Cooper and then enlarged and renovated in 1874 by Henry “Inky” Stephens, Avenue House is a wonderful Victorian mansion with rooms overlooking the Gardens. Lived in by Henry Stephens from 1874 he oversaw the renovation of the house; the original features included a library, school rooms and bedrooms. The house and grounds were left for public enjoyment by Stephens in his will. At the time of his death it was already in use as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital and between 1919 and 1925 was the RAF central hospital before the grounds were formally opened to the public on 3 May 1928. The house was then used for many years as a public library, and as the offices of Finchley Borough Council after Council Offices in nearby Hendon Lane were destroyed by enemy action in the Second World War.
In 1989 the east wing of the house was gutted by fire, but it has been restored to its former condition. The house is now a meetings and events venue, while the gardens and arboretum are open to the public free of charge. The House and Gardens are now managed by an independent charitable body, the Avenue House Estate Trust, which took over responsibility from London Borough of Barnet in 2002.