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The history of Bournemouth Gardens

The history of Bournemouth Gardens from their beginnings as marshy land to today.

Until the beginning of the 19th century, the area where the park now stands was mainly vegetation and marsh. Development of the land began in 1840, but it was not until 1859 that the owners granted permission for the area to become a public pleasure ground.


There was a competition to design the Lower Pleasure Ground in 1871. The winner was the aptly named Philip Henry Tree, whose design included new walks, plantations and flowerbeds.

Improvements continued over the years, but the biggest changes were in the 1920s when the square was laid out and the pavilion built in the Lower Gardens. Large ornamental rock gardens and small waterfalls were also included along the park-facing side of the pavilion.

In 1922 the war memorial was built in the Central Gardens and the rose beds were planted. The design and layout of the gardens has not changed much since the 1870s. A lot of the trees and shrub varieties are still the same too.

The Upper Gardens

To overcome the problem of extremely bad drainage in this area, broken pottery from a local clay works was used as drainage material.
Once the land was drained, four grass tennis courts were laid and a ‘dressing house’ for changing was built. The tennis courts were moved to their current location in 1903.

The water tower was built between 1883 and 1903. The original idea was to use a waterwheel to pump water to an ornamental fountain in the middle of the stream.

In 1992 the Upper Gardens were replanted to include meadow walks and seating areas. Information boards and fingerposts were put in to point the way to areas of interest and boardwalks were installed over the marshy areas.

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