Historic ‘healing’ well of Barnet restored
- Planning, conservation and building control
Barnet Council and Historic England have restored the Physic Well, an historic Grade II-listed building near Chipping Barnet.
Spring water was found at this location hundreds of years ago and was thought to have healing properties. The esteemed diarist Samuel Pepys made the pilgrimage to Barnet in 1664 ‘to see the Wells’. He drank five glasses of well water before departing, pleased to see his ‘waters working at least seven or eight times upon the road’ home.
In 1937, the Council built a Tudor-style well house, which by 1998 had fallen into disrepair and was on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.
Its future has now been secured after an extensive restoration by Barnet Council and Historic England between April 2018 and November 2018. The restoration works included replacing rotten timber, installing a rainwater collection system, fitting glass window panes, and replacing the roof with handmade clay tiles. The Heritage of London Trust contributed towards the cost of the new windows.
In addition, the Chipping Barnet Area Committee councillors unanimously granted funds to install atmospheric lighting inside the well house.
The well will be managed by Barnet Museum and open on special dates and by appointment. You can book a tour of the Physic Well, including the 17th century underground well chamber, by contacting the museum on 020 8440 8066.
Councillor Stephen Sowerby, Design and Heritage Champion, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to restore the well house and preserve this important part of Barnet’s heritage. I hope that the Barnet Physic Well will become as popular as it was in years gone by, drawing visitors into our borough for many years to come.”