Return to the Forum homepage


Gunnersbury Park & Museum, London

The Rothschild family occupied Gunnersbury for over 100 years. The Gunnersbury Park estate was purchased by Hannah Rothschild (1783-1850), acting on behalf of her husband Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836) in 1835. In 1850, Nathan’s son Lionel (1808-1879) took over the estate, enlarging the park in 1861 and adding a pleasure lake and boat house. Here, Lionel and his wife Charlotte (1819-1884) entertained on grand scale.  Upon Charlotte’s death, the estate passed to their youngest son, Leopold (1845-1917) who enlarged the estate by purchasing the adjacent property in 1889 to provide extra bedrooms for guests. He transformed the gardens, creating a heath garden, an ivy garden and an Italian garden. In 1900, he created a Japanese garden.

In 1917, Gunnersbury Park was inherited by Leopold’s son Lionel (1882-1942); Lionel purchased the Exbury estate in Hampshire in 1919 and from then on devoted his energies to creating his famous rhododendron gardens there. In 1925, Gunnersbury Park was sold to the Boroughs of Ealing and Acton for use as a public park and museum, both of which remain open to the public today.

Gunnersbury Park, publications, 'Gunnersbury Park - some historical notes', c.1930

000/2448, 6 items

Gunnersbury Park, publications, 'Gunnersbury Park - some historical notes', 1930: six numbered copies of a booklet, Gunnersbury Park, being some historical notes on Gunnersbury Park,  (The Times Works, Ealing, c.1930).  Gunnersbury Park was acquired from the Rothschilds for the use of the public by the Town Councils of Acton and Ealing, with the assistance of Middlesex County Council. In its new guise, it was opened by the Rt. Hon. Neville Chamberlain, Minister of Health on 21 May 1926. In 1927, the U.D.C. of Brentford and Chiswick agreed to participate in the ownership and management of the Park. The brochure, published in the early days of public ownership of Gunnersbury Park, includes black white photographs of the interior and exterior of the large mansion and features of the grounds, and was designed to be sold to visitors.

Gunnersbury Park Museum, postcards, c.1970-2000

000/698 and 000/898, 13 items

Postcards published by Gunnersbury Park Museum; Views of the Mansion, Rothschild town chariot, Rothschild posting chariot, Gunnersbury kitchen staff, 1914, the kitchens at Gunnersbury; the painted ceiling (the four seasons) Gunnersbury Park Mansion.

Gunnersbury Park Museum, sundry publications, 1984; 1993

000/2578/1-2, 2 volumes

Gunnersbury Park Museum, publications: 

  • Gunnersbury Park and Museum, Gunnersbury Park Museum, (London Borough of Hounslow Department of Arts and Recreation, 1984);
  • Gunnersbury Park and the Rothschilds, Ann and James Collett-White (Heritage Publications/Hounslow Leisure services, 1993).

Gunnersbury Park Museum, sundry papers, 1994

000/1717, 1 item

Gunnersbury Park Museum Development Plan, 1994-1998.

Gunnersbury Park & Gunnersbury Park Museum, sundry papers, 1994-1996

000/1277, 2 boxes

Material pertaining to Gunnersbury Park and Museum's Lottery Submission of 1994-1996. Includes Development Plan Into the 21st Century, and reports, Photographic Survey, Garden Buildings and Structures.