The History of Bournemouth Gardens

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

Until the beginning of the 19th century the area was mainly vegetation and marsh. Development of the land began in 1840 but it wasn’t until 1859 that the owners granted permission for the area to become a public pleasure ground. 

The 3 kilometres of land we know as our Upper, Central and Lower Gardens today didn’t all join as one garden until 1872.

Making our gardens memorable

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

Improvements were carried out over the years but the biggest changes were in the 1920s when the Square was laid out and the pavilion was built in the Lower Gardens. Large ornamental rock gardens and small waterfalls were 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 hasn’t changed much since the 1870s.  Lots of the trees and types of shrubs are still the same too.

The Upper Gardens

This area was like a lake and had very bad drainage.  The problem was solved by bringing in broken pottery from a local clay works to use as drainage material.

Once it was drained, the land included four grass tennis courts and a dressing house for people to get changed in. The tennis courts were moved to their current location in 1903.

The water tower was built between 1883 and 1903.  The idea was to have a water wheel and use it 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. Board walks were installed over the marshy areas.