The Derry Gardens (now Kensington Roof Gardens) as it was just shortly after it opened to the public in 1938, and in the 1960′s and the 1970′s and 2012.
These unique gardens were created on the roof of Derry & Toms, the London Department Store, between 1936 and 1938. They were designed and constructed by Landscape Architect Ralph Hancock for Trevor Bowen, the Vice-Chairman of John Barkers Ltd, owners of Derry & Toms, Ponting’s and Barkers of Kensington.
These unique gardens, 100 foot above busy Kensington High Street are 1 1/2 acres in size and consist of three styles. A traditional English Woodland Garden with a flowing river; a Tudor Garden and the pink painted Spanish Garden, complete with the well of St Teresa and a Court of Fountains.
The gardens remained largely unchanged until the early 1970′s when, Barbara Hulanicki’s fashion store Biba took over the now defunct Derry and Toms building.
In 1981, the gardens and a night club, which had been built in the old Tea Pavilion was bought by Virgin Boss, Sir Richard Branson.
Today the gardens have a Grade II* listing and, through the loving care of the Head Gardener, the gardens thrive and look as incredible as they did to visitors 75 years ago.