Work starts ahead of Dollis Hill House demolition

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

Workmen are preparing to knock down a historic mansion which once was a holiday retreat for Prime Minister, William Gladstone.

Earlier this year, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, gave Brent Council the go-ahead to demolish derelict Dollis Hill House – a Grade II listed building.

Preparation work has now begun on the building in Gladstone Park and demolition is due to take place between December and January.

Trustee Sarah Calef, who lives opposite, said: “It’s very sad to see Dollis Hill House knocked down. I have lived opposite for almost 40 years. My children Laura, Clive and Susie, have spent many happy hours there. But my grandchildren have seen a dilapidated building for several years.

“One consolation for me is that we know it is not going to be a car park, which is something I campaigned against for many years.

“Lets now concentrate on The Stables Gallery next door and make sure it doesn’t end up as an unsightly eyesore.”

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

It has been suggested there was a long standing agreement preventing the house from being knocked down.

Trustees say the council will be breaking this conveyance which was agreed upon on February 19, 1900.

A Brent Council spokesperson said: “Gladstone Park was conveyed to the council in 1900 for use by the public. There are no conditions or covenants in the conveyance which prevents the council from demolishing Dollis Hill House.

“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 had lost its roof, most of the internal features of the first floor, and the staircase.

“The council had no alternative but to apply for demolition and in April 2011 Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government approved the decision.”

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