Bulldozers move in to knock down historic Dollis Hill House

Former residence of 19th Century Prime Minister, William Gladstone, will be flattened

A part of the borough’s history will disappear for good today when a historic mansion which was once a holiday retreat from Prime Minister, William Gladstone, is finally demolished.

Bulldozers moved in this morning and began knocking down Dollis Hill House – a grade II listed building in Dollis Hill.

The Regency villa once housed guests including 19th century Prime Minister William Gladstone and American author Mark Twain.

Last year the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, gave Brent Council the go-ahead to demolish the building.

Campaigners have always said there was a long standing agreement preventing the house from being knocked down including a conveyance which was agreed upon on February 19, 1900.

Graham Durham, who has campaigned to save the mansion, said: “It’s a very sad day for the borough which will be losing a precious part of its history.

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“A forlorn Save Our House has been painted on the hoardings. We will have no buildings of historic importance left in Brent anymore.

“Dollis Hill House was an important resource for the community before it was let to get into this state and disrepair.

“The council could have done more to save it but it never bothered.”

The council says it plans to create a lasting legacy for Dollis Hill House on the site and details will be released soon.

A council spokesman said: “Since its closure in 1994, the council spent many years exhausting all options in securing a viable future for the building. After four arson attacks; Dollis Hill House lost its roof, most of the internal features of the first floor, and the staircase.

“Faced with no viable option for the future of Dollis Hill House, the council had no alternative but to apply for demolition.

“The decision was approved by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles in Spring 2011.

“The council will now create a lasting legacy for Dollis Hill House. Plans include an open air community venue incorporating original brickwork from the house, as well as a memorial. This is due to be completed by Spring 2012.”