|Town or city Northwood, London|
Owner Denville Hall Ltd.
Phone +44 1923 825843
Designation Listed building
Designations Locally listed
|Former names Maze FarmNorthwood Hall|
Address 62 Duck's Hill Rd, Northwood HA6 2SB, UK
Similar St Paul's - Covent Garden, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Aldwych Theatre, Ambassadors Theatre London, Garrick Theatre
Denville hall 1926
Denville Hall is an historic building in Northwood, a town in the London Borough of Hillingdon, England which is used as a retirement home for professional actors, actresses and other theatrical professions. The present building incorporates part of a 16th-century house, which was substantially rebuilt in 1851 and later considerably extended after becoming a retirement home in 1926. Many well-known British actors have been residents of the hall.
History and description
The hall includes part of a 16th-century house called Maze Farm. In the 18th century it belonged to the judge, Sir John Vaughan. In 1851 it was rebuilt in Victorian Gothic style by Daniel Norton, and renamed Northwood Hall. Alfred Denville, impresario, actor-manager and MP, bought the hall in 1925 and dedicated it to the acting profession in memory of his son Jack, who had died at the age of 26 after onstage complications with re-aggravated World War I injuries. He renamed the hall " Denville Hall" and created a charity in the same name. It was opened formally as a rest home in July 1926 by Princess Louise, the then Princess Royal.
The building, heavily extended in the intervening years, is locally listed. A further remodelling and expansion project with landscaping, by Acanthus LW Architects, was completed in 2004.
Simon Williams, who was co-chairman of Denville Hall for 15 years, based Yew Tree House in his play Laying the Ghost on it.
Present state and notable residents
Though actors have priority, the home is available to other people in the entertainment industry (including the circus), such as agents and dancers, and their spouses over the age of 70 and offers residential, nursing, convalescent, dementia and palliative care. Residents can stay on a long-term or short-term basis, and physiotherapy is provided. There is also a subsidised bar.
Many actors and actresses, mostly British, have spent their retirement years there, including Betty Marsden, Rose Hill, Carmen Silvera, Dulcie Gray, Daphne Oxenford, John Woodnutt, Brenda Cowling, Maurice Denham, Peggy Mount, Doris Hare, Pat Coombs, Mark Kingston, Robert Harris, Arnold Ridley, Nan Braunton, Wanda Rotha, Margot Boyd, Geoffrey Toone, Frank Middlemass, Eileen O'Casey (Seán O'Casey's wife and a former actress), Ronnie Stevens, Edgar Wreford, Douglas Byng, Brian Rix, Andrew Sachs, and the world's longest serving understudy, Nancy Seabrooke of The Mousetrap, as well as screenwriter and playwright Roger MacDougall, columnist Alan Brien and theatre designer Margaret Harris. Jack Lynn recuperated from an illness there. Theatrical agent Elspeth Cochrane had intended to move into Denville Hall but was unable to afford it after being swindled out of her money in her 90s.
The hall and charity have had a number of notable supporters. Lord Attenborough, whose widow Sheila, Lady Attenborough resided at Denville Hall, was president. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, performers including Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Paul Scofield and Elizabeth Taylor (for her television debut) donated their fees to rebuilding the house. In 1999 the original set from The Mousetrap, after 47 years' continuous use, was auctioned to raise money for Denville Hall. Restaurateur Elena Salvoni donated a portion of the profits of her 2007 autobiography, Eating Famously, to the hall. Terence Rattigan left his Estate to charity, with all royalties from his plays being donated to Denville Hall and the King George V Fund for Actors and Actresses.