Denville Hall

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 and actresses have been residents of the hall.

Denville Hall
The building in December 2013
Former names
  • Maze Farm
  • Northwood Hall
General information
Address62 Ducks Hill Road
Town or cityNorthwood, London
Coordinates51.61029°N 0.44049°W / 51.61029; -0.44049
OwnerDenville Hall Ltd.
DesignationsLocally listed

History and description

The hall includes part of a 16th-century house called Maze Farm.[1] In the 18th century it belonged to the judge Sir John Vaughan.[2] In 1851 it was rebuilt in Victorian Gothic style by Daniel Norton, and renamed Northwood Hall.[1][2] Alfred Denville, impresario, actor-manager and MP,[3] 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.[2] It was opened formally as a rest home in July 1926 by Princess Louise, the then Princess Royal.[4]

The building, heavily extended in the intervening years, is locally listed.[1] A further remodelling and expansion project with landscaping, by Acanthus LW Architects, was completed in 2004.[5]

Simon Williams, who was co-chairman of Denville Hall for 15 years, based Yew Tree House in his play Laying the Ghost on it.[6]

Facilities and services

Though actors have priority,[7] the home is available to other people in the entertainment industry (including the circus),[8] such as agents and dancers,[7] and their spouses[9] 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.[10][11] There is also a subsidised bar.[9][12]

Notable residents

Many British actors and actresses have spent their retirement years at Denville Hall,[13] including:


The hall and charity have had a number of notable supporters. Lord Attenborough, whose widow Sheila, Lady Attenborough, resided at Denville Hall, was president.[47] 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.[48][49] In 1999 the original set from The Mousetrap, after 47 years' continuous use, was auctioned to raise money for Denville Hall.[50] Restaurateur Elena Salvoni donated a portion of the profits of her 2007 autobiography, Eating Famously, to the hall.[47] 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.

See also


  1. "Review of Local List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Importance: Denville Hall" (PDF). Hillingdon London Borough Council. May 2010. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  2. "History". Denville Hall. Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  3. "Rep. Pioneer left £57,400". The Bulletin. 15 June 1955. p. 12. Retrieved 17 January 2019. He left £5,000 to Denville Hall in his will.
  4. "Denville Hall 1926". British Pathe. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  5. "Projects: Denville Hall". Acanthus LW Architects. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  6. "Laying the Ghost: 'A fun play with a heart' in Polruan". Plymouth Herald. 20 January 2009. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  7. Pearson, Katie (18 April 2005). "For my final act". The Times. p. 6. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  8. "Religious service in circus ring at Glasgow". The Glasgow Herald. 29 September 1938. p. 9. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  9. Simkins, Michael (11 July 2009). "Ageing thespians should stick together". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  10. "Home". Denville Hall. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  11. "Denville Hall care home, Northwood". Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  12. Grove, Valerie (10 June 2010). "A modest man but certainly not retiring". The Times. Retrieved 17 January 2019. I wonder how West, at 75, regards the prospect of the actors' retirement home, Denville Hall, north of London. 'Well, the bar opens sometime after breakfast'.
  13. "Stars then and now". British Pathe. 28 April 1947. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  14. "Obituaries". The Stage. 28 November 2019. p. 40.
  15. Gallagher, Paul (6 November 2014). "Residents at Richard Attenborough's care home 'given wrong drug doses'". The Independent. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  16. "Margot Boyd". The Daily Telegraph. 25 May 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  17. "Obituaries: Alan Brien". The Daily Telegraph. 3 July 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  18. "Risque panto dame dies at 94". The Glasgow Herald. 26 August 1987. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  19. "'Blackadder' Actress Patsy Byrne Dies at 80". The Hollywood Reporter. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  20. "Peter Byrne 1928–2018". It's Behind You Dot Com – Green Room. 15 May 2018. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  21. Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3rd ed.). McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-78647-992-4.
  22. "Brian Cant, Play School presenter, dies at 83". BBC News. 20 June 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  23. "Actress Pat Coombs dies". BBC News. 27 May 2002. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  24. "Veteran actor Maurice Denham dies". BBC News. 25 July 2002. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  25. Hevesi, Dennis (17 November 2011). "Dulcie Gray, Stalwart British Actress, Dies at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  26. Billington, Michael (12 September 2017). "Sir Peter Hall obituary: powerful force in British theatre". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  27. "Robert Hardy: Harry Potter and All Creatures Great and Small star dies". BBC News. 3 August 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  28. "On the Buses star dies". BBC News. 31 May 2000. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  29. "Allo 'Allo: Where are they now?". Chortle. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  30. Farquhar, Simon (23 January 2014). "John Horsley: Character actor whose comedic talent brought him fame as Doc Morrissey in 'The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin'". The Independent. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  31. "Obituaries: Annette Kerr". The Daily Telegraph. 28 October 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  32. "Obituaries: Mark Kingston". The Daily Telegraph. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  33. Pace, Eric (31 May 1993). "Roger MacDougall, A Screenwriter, 82, And a Playwright". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  34. "Comic actress Betty Marsden dies". BBC News. 20 July 1998. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  35. Catholic Association of Performing Arts (CaAPA): Newsletter - December 2018
  36. "Actress Peggy Mount dies". BBC News. 13 November 2001. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  37. "Daphne Oxenford, voice of Listen With Mother, dies". BBC News. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  38. Criddle, Cristina (21 August 2016). "Actor and disability campaigner Lord Rix dies after urging for assisted dying to be made legal". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  39. Foster, Patrick (3 December 2016). "Dementia left Andrew Sachs unable to recognise Fawlty Towers footage, actor's son reveals". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  40. "Peter Sallis: Last of the Summer Wine actor dies aged 96". BBC News. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  41. "'Allo 'Allo star dies". BBC News. 4 August 2002. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  42. "Gerald Sim obituary". The Guardian. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  43. "Anthony Steel obituary". The Guardian. 26 March 2001. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  44. "Club comedian Oates dies does comic actor Stevens". Chortle. 14 November 2006. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  45. Harley, Nicky (3 May 2017). "Darling Buds of May actor Moray Watson dies, aged 88". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  46. Loxton, Howard (8 February 2006). "Obituaries: Edgar Wreford". The Stage. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  47. Salvoni, Elena. Eating Famously. WSM Wordsworth Limited. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-9556171-0-2. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  48. "Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Paul Scofield pledged their wages to England's Theatrical Charity Council, primarily for the rebuilding of Denville Hall". Los Angeles Times. 5 January 1969.
  49. "Liz Taylor in dramatic TV debut". Schenectady Gazette. 27 December 1969. p. 15. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  50. "Original Mousetrap Set Auctioned This Month". What's on Stage. 11 June 1999. Archived from the original on 28 November 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
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