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Originally a turbary common, a section was purchased on 15 th November 1906, with a “few winding paths 10 feet wide”, cut in the furze to give a good view of the surrounding country in the centre of the common. At this time the right to cut turf on the common was extinguished (and a dispute over a portion of the common which had been fenced in by a Miss Mills arose).
By 1909 residents of the area had requested a bowls green, which was duly built and opened by the Mayor on 27th July 1910. A pavilion was built by 1911, with the water tower already in existence, and it is probable allotments were in use prior to notice being serviced in 1921 in order to lay out formal parks and gardens including 8 tennis courts, shelters, mess room, seats and dressing rooms. To this end purchase of adjacent land was completed on 12 th July 1928 and a stone wall erected along Tuckton Road. A second bowling green was agreed in 1929 (by which time there were 14 tennis courts) and completed on 27 th July 1936.
By 1956, three of the tennis courts had become hard surface courts, while croquet commenced in 1963. In 1971, the remaining grass tennis courts were discontinued and a children’s play area provided. Following residents complaints this was re-sited near the Water Tower, before being re-located back to the area adjacent to the third bowls rink and croquet lawn in the mid 1990’s.
The Seafield Gardens Water Tower was originally built in 1898 to supply the Southbourne-on-Sea area following problems with the Iford Pumping Station. Built at a cost of £2,500 for West Hants Water Company the Tower is now a Listed building in private ownership.
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