There were three large houses on the eastern side of Muswell Hill until the late 19th century – Bath House, The Grove and Grove Lodge. By far the oldest site was the one which still remains, Grove Lodge.
This is thought to occupy the site of an Elizabethan house which, with all the land on that side of Muswell Hill, was owned by Christopher Fulkes. After the 17th century Civil War and the Restoration of the monarchy which followed, the owner was Sir Paul Paynter (died 1686) who also bought the Clerkenwell Nunnery lands around the Mus Well. It was sold by his widow to a member of the Downing family and in 1705 Sir George Downing, the builder of Downing Street (and presumably the benefactor of Downing college), acquired it.
The estate was bought in 1708 by Anthony Dickins. Either at this time, as part of the same transaction or shortly afterwards, the northern part of the estate was sold off and the two houses – Bath House and The Grove – were built in the early to mid-18th century. Charles Scrase Dickins is shown as the owner of Grove Lodge on the 1815 Hornsey Enclosure Map. Interestingly, in addition to the frontage of his own property on Muswell Hill, he bought much of the land between The Grove and the road. The tree-lined strip, which is still there, was later called Grove Lodge Gardens. Scrase Dickins never lived in Grove Lodge and in 1837James G Remington was the tenant.
In 1839 William Ashurst, an attorney, lived there. He was a liberal, a supporter of women’s suffrage and against slavery. He worked with Rowland Hill on the penny postage and the Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzinin (1805-72) took refuge in Grove Lodge several times as shown in the 1841 Census. The house was rebuilt in 1854 for George Attenborough, a jeweller, who lived there until 1894 when it was sold to Col. John George Abraham MP, a surveyor. He died, aged 62, in 1912 and in 1939 his family put the estate up for sale, but when it didn’t sell, they first lent it, and then in 1945, gave it in Trust to the Red Cross. It was JG Abraham’s wife Maggie who had opened Hornsey Central Hospital in Park Road in 1910. In 1968 Haringey Council purchased the house from the Red Cross, added a wing, and by the 1980s were using it as a Children’s Home. The house was converted into flats in the late 1990s and the grounds accommodate businesses.
David Frith, HHS Conservation Officer
Grove Lodge 1914 – NMPS/HHS; OS Map 1873 reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.