Plaque: Lord Leverhulme
William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme, 1851 - 1925, soap-maker and philanthropist, lived and died here.
Site: Inverforth House (3 memorials)
NW3, North End Way, Inverforth House
Hill House (or The Hill), was occupied after his father's death by John Gurney Hoare. In 1896 his son, Sir Samuel Hoare, sold it to George Fisher, (Ronald's father) who rebuilt the house and moved his family in. In 1904 Fisher lost his fortune, relocated his family to Streatham and sold the house to William H. Lever, who was moving his headquarters to London. Lever made further additions, including a ballroom and art gallery. He bought and demolished two neighbouring houses to enable him to extend the gardens, using Thomas Mawson (the architect responsible for much of Port Sunlight) to design the grounds for the combined estate. The work stretched over the period 1910-25 and created a 60-room mansion in magnificent grounds. This garden is depicted in a photo at the Library Time Machine showing some dancers on the “ornamental pond in a classical garden in Hampstead”.
In 1925 Leverhulme died (in the house) and the whole estate was bought by Lord Inverforth (1865-1955), the ship-owner, and the new house named Inverforth House.
In 1956 Inverforth bequeathed the house to the Industrial Orthopaedic Society and it became the women's section of Manor House hospital, Golders Hill, with 100 beds, and a home for 60-70 nursing staff. In the late 1980's it was decided that the mansion was surplus to requirements and it was then converted into 9 apartments.
A large section of the gardens is now open to the public, the Pergola in particular is worth a visit.