Books from Avon Gardens Trust

Historic Public Parks

The Trust has published three books on the Historic Public Parks of Bath, Weston-super-Mare and Bristol.

The origins and development of the parks are described, and there are maps and contemporary illustrations. The books are equally interesting to read at home or to take on a walk round the parks.

Historic Public Parks - Bath by Ruth Guilding

Guilding 1997 | 76 pages £3.00 | ISBN 0 9531013 0 4

Book Cover Historic Public Parks - Bath

The origins of Bath's parks are diverse: Sydney Gardens was developed as a pleasure ground in the late eighteenth century, with entertainments, swings (not permitted on Sundays), and a labyrinth of which Jane Austen wrote 'It would be pleasant to be near the Sydney Gardens. We could go into the Labyrinth everyday'.

Royal Victoria Park was created in 1814 to enhance the attractions of Bath as a tourist resort, and was a nationally renowned arboretum. Later the Botanical Gardens were added when a large collection of rare plants was bequeathed to the committee. Hedgemead Park was the result of a disastrous speculation that led to the collapse of 135 houses in 1881. Henrietta, Alexandra and Alice Parks were laid out amongst housing as Bath grew.

Together these parks provide Bath with a valuable resource which can be enjoyed by resident and visitor alike.

Historic Public Parks - Bristol by David Lambert

Lambert 2000 | 72 pages £3.00 |ISBN 0 9531013 2 0

Book Cover Historic Public Parks - Bristol

Bristol can probably claim to have the oldest public open space in the country: Brandon Hill, acquired in the twelfth century. However, the next seven centuries saw few gains of green space for public use and enjoyment. In neighbouring Bath, and later in Weston-super-Mare, the desire to attract visitors was a spur to the provision of parks and pleasure gardens. This motive was lacking in Bristol. It was the report of the unhealthy state of the city published in the mid-nineteenth century, that led to the gradual development of city parks.

They have an interesting variety of origins, and include a medieval churchyard and a bombed area in the heart of the city converted to attractive green spaces enjoyed by residents, workers and visitors. Some of the specially created larger parks have lakes and water features, though many interesting features such as bandstands, fountains and Russian guns have gone. Because these city parks form a vital part of Bristol’s environment and heritage, David Lambert’s account of their origin and development is also a plea for conservation and sympathetic maintenance.

This volume is illustrated with fascinating early postcard views, line drawings and modern colour photographs.

Historic Public Parks - Weston-Super-Mare by David Lambert

Lambert 2000 | 56 pages £3.00 |ISBN 0 9531013 1 2

Book Cover Historic Public Parks - Weston-Super-Mare

Weston-super-Mare is a more modern development than Bath or Bristol, and its parks were generally established rather later too. The first public gardens were opened in the mid-nineteenth century. Some of Weston's parks were created with the deliberate intention of enhancing the character of the town as a health and tourist resort. Adornments included statues, artificial lighting or bandstands, but above all splendid planting. Elaborate and ingenious floral displays have been an important and characteristic feature of Weston's public gardens.

These parks form an irreplaceable gift from the past: part not only of Weston's environment but its heritage also, which can be enjoyed by resident and visitor alike.

Parks and Gardens of Avon by Stewart Harding and David Lambert

Harding & Lambert 1994 | 132 pages £5.00 | ISBN 0 7291 0230 0

Book Cover of Parks and Gardens of Avon

The former county of Avon possesses superlative historic parks, and gardens, both urban and rural, which brilliantly illustrate the history of gardening in England. From the Middle Ages onwards, fuelled by wealth emanating from the Court and the Church, and later from Bristol, garden makers in Avon have explored the full repertory of garden styles - monastery gardens; the elaborate formal creations of the Tudor period; great baroque layouts of the seventeenth century; landscape parks in the eighteenth century; fine Public parks and botanic gardens, as well as Regency Gothick, formal Victorian revivals and informal villa gardens, in the nineteenth century; and, in our own time, a continuing inventiveness that often builds on the past. Virtually all the places described in this book still exist in some state of preservation - many of them accessible to the public.

Through Avon Gardens Trust's active role in conservation, and through much historical research, the Trust has amassed a great of documentation about its historic gardens. The book provides an important and fascinating record of the historic development of these threatened sites, while urging the importance of preserving them for their intrinsic interest and beauty, and suggesting how many of them may be used for public benefit in the future. It describes the successes - and problems - of conservation, and shows how local authorities, trusts, groups and individuals can work towards this aim.

Thomas Goldney's Garden by P.K. Stembridge

Stembridge 1996 | 30 pages £3.00 | ISBN 0 9518290 2 5

Book cover  Thomas Goldney's Garden P.K. Stembridge

In the 18th century, Thomas Goldney, a Quaker merchant, created a remarkable garden which survives today in Clifton.

This booklet tells of the building of the famous grotto, the planting, the gardeners and the visitors who left accounts of what they saw.

There are contemporary illustrations and maps in black and white and colour.

Prices include postage and packing to addresses within the UK. For overseas orders please contact us.

Available direct from Avon Gardens Trust, Pendle House, Church Road, Abbots Leigh, Bristol BS8 3QU

Please enclose a cheque payable to 'Avon Gardens Trust'.