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ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
Pinochet's Priory House Arrest
General Pinochet, held here under the Priory house arrest
Location: Winchmore Hill, N14
Description: Located in Winchmore Hill, 'Grovelands Park' originated as a private estate.
The original house was built in 1797 to the designs of John Nash for Walker Gray, a Quaker brewer with the grounds being landscaped by Humphry Repton.
The mansion was erected in 1797-1798 and was initially called 'Southgate Grove'. In 1816 the building was described as being 'a regular building of Ionic order, and presents a fine example of that beautiful style'.
Lucinda Lambton has called the building an 'idiosyncratically flounced, classical villa', and mentions that the owner bought much of the parkland to avoid the sight of other people's chimneys. She has described the interior as: 'Inside, there survives one of the most delicate delights in all London: Nash's octagonal dining-room, painted as if you are in a bamboo birdcage, looking our through the bars at the fields, woods and sky'.
After Gray's death the property was acquired by John Donnithorne Taylor (also connected to the Taylor Walker & Co Brewery), whose family continued to live at Grovelands up to World War I.
Part of the estate was purchased by the Municipal Borough of Southgate in 1913 to become a public park.
The house is part of the Priory Clinic and it was here in 1998 that General Pinochet, the evil Chilean military officer and dictator, was held under house arrest initially in Grovelands House while a patient at the Priory Clinic.