Iolanthe welcomes you
For absolute peace after a hectic day in the City, this is the place to be. Iolanthe is situated opposite Hampstead Heath - a miracle of preservation - 800 acres of woods meadows, natural ponds, where you can swim with the ducks, where wild flowers grow, birds sing and the air smells truly sweet. The Victorians called it "the lung of London", and as you leave the smoke behind and climb to 440 feet above sea level, you feel that you can breath again. Hampstead Garden Suburb is situated to the north of the village of Hampstead and east of Golders Green. It was founded by Dame Henrietta Barnett in 1907, who, appalled at the living conditions of London's poor, declared her intention to establish a community where persons of all classes of society and standards of income could be accommodated and the handicapped welcomed. She declared that houses be so planned that none should spoil each other's outlook or rob its neighbour of beauty. She was determined to retain and create as many features of the country as was consistent with a town community. Beauty both in layout, architecture and planting was an essential consideration, as beautiful surroundings contribute to the happiness of life for both rich and poor. Alas for Henrietta's dream, the beauty remains but only the rich can afford to buy even the smallest cottage. Iolanthe, was designed in 1921 by Sir Raymond's successor, Mr John C.S.Soutar, F.R.I.B.A. who was also responsible for the design of the extension in 1938. It is a freestanding dwelling, in neo-Georgian country-house style of red and grey brick, built for its first owner Herbert Stewart Parnum, a timber importer who laid the teak floors and gave the house its name. In 1935 Iolanthe was bought by a concert pianist and sculptress, Eleanor Wheatley Steele who built the extension to the drawing room to accommodate her grand piano. Rosy's grandparents bought the house in 1941 and lived in it during the war with their children and until 1987.