Chiswick House History

For the first few years Burlington’s villa stood alongside an old Jacobean house purchased by his grandfather in 1682. This separation soon proved impractical, and in about 1732 a two-storey link was added. After the earl’s death in 1753 the estate passed by marriage to the Dukes of Devonshire, and in 1788 the fifth Duke decided to demolish Old Chiswick House and make a proper mansion of the villa by adding substantial wings. Both the fifth and sixth Dukes remodelled Burlington’s gardens. From the 1860s onwards the Devonshires let the house and gradually moved the historic contents to Chatsworth House, where many items remain today. In 1929 the reduced estate was sold to Middlesex County Council. In 1948, ownership of the house passed to the Ministry of Works, which embarked on a restoration campaign aimed at returning the villa to its original size and design and the gardens to their original layout. The house and the gardens are now under the stewardship of an independent trust, Chiswick House and Gardens Trust who work with the London Borough of Hounslow and English Heritage Trust to preserve this important heritage site for the benefit of the nation.