THE HISTORY OF AVENUE HOUSE ESTATE

Avenue House is an imposing grade II listed mid Victorian mansion with extensive grounds landscaped by Robert Marnock. These contain a unique collection of trees forming an attractive backdrop to the House.

The mansion provides comfortable facilities for conferences, business functions, exhibitions, commercial filming, charity fund raising events, weddings and family celebrations. There is good access to public transport and convenient parking.

Avenue House is also home to The Stephens Collection, a museum that acknowledges the debt owed by the people of Finchley to Henry Charles Stephens and the Stephens Ink Company.

Avenue House is conveniently situated close to the M1, A1 and North Circular Road (A406) and within easy reach of several bus routes and Finchley Central Underground Station.

The Estate is operated by Avenue House Estate Management, a charitable company.

History
Originally owned by the Bishop of London, the land on which Avenue House stands used to be known as Temple Croft Fields, after the Knights Templars who were granted it in 1243. From 1312 it belonged to the Knights Hospitallers until their estates were seized by Henry VIII in 1540. It passed through various hands until in 1732 it was bought by Thomas Allen, builder of the existing manor which is now the Steinberg Centre.


In 1859, Rev. Edward Cooper, a relative of the Allen family, built a villa on the site, which later became known as Avenue House. It was bought in 1874 by Henry Charles (Inky) Stephens, son of the inventor of the famous blue-black ink. He died in 1918, bequeathing Avenue House to the people of Finchley. A small exhibition of the memorabilia provided by The Stephens Collection is on view at the house. The grounds were designed by Robert Marnock, said to be the best landscape gardener of his time. Click here to read about Marnock's life and work with William Robinson for the Stephens family.

On 3 May 1928, nearly 10 years after Stephens death, Avenue House was formally opened to the public. Since being opened to the public, Avenue House has become home to numerous clubs and societies, providing an important local facility for community meetings and events.

In 1989 the building was ravaged by fire, since when it was extensively and sympathetically refurbished to retain its character, and at the same time provide modern and comfortable facilities for conferences, business functions and exhibitions. It is also an ideal venue for family celebrations such as weddings.

On 1st November 2002 Avenue House Estate Management, a charitable company, took over the management of the Estate from the London Borough of Barnet. The Trustees comprise local residents and representatives of the users of the Estate.


 

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