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Blake Gardens


Blake Gardens is located in Bridgwater Town Centre near Bridgwater Library and Blake Museum. It is a good surviving example of a simple municipal garden from the late Victorian/Edwardian period. The Public Gardens were opened on 9th August 1902 as part of the town’s coronation celebrations.

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

The Blake Gardens were opened in 1902 and spanned two and a half acres of gardens, alongside the river. Unfortunately the gardens were cut in half when the Blake Bridge and Broadway were opened in 1957.

Some sources suggest that the area now occupied by Blake Gardens was originally part of the grounds to a house nearby (now part of No.3 Blake Street) that has C17 origins. A town plan of circa 1835 shows that by this date the land had become the garden to Binford House which is shown occupying the northern end of the plot, at the junction between King Street and Dampiet Street. Both Binford House and its land were purchased by Bridgwater Corporation in 1898 with the intention of creating a public garden.

Principle Buildings

Small building over Durleigh Brook at the junction with the River Parrett. Early C19. Flemish-bond brick with lean-to pantile roof. Square plan. Single-storey; 2-window range. The high parapet obscures the roof. Probably housing a sluice-gate mechanism, the building has fine gauged brick arches, a semi-elliptical intrados over the planked door and flat arches to blocked openings flanking it. Though very simple, the building adds to the character of the garden and pre-dates the acquisition of the garden by the Corporation in 1898.

Blake Gardens, named after the C17 Bridgwater-born General Blake, opened on 9 August 1902 to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII. Binford House was demolished and replaced by a public library (Grade II listed) which opened in 1905. Historic photographs illustrate other structures within the municipal gardens of which a folly and a small stone building have since been demolished.

The building has previously been described as a garden seat but based on documentary research it may have been a summer house. Although it appears to incorporate some re-used C17 brickwork, it probably dates from the late C18 or early C19. The building appears to have undergone various alterations and repairs, most recently in the early C21.

The gardens contain several structures including a Summerhouse and Bandstand.

The Summerhouse is constructed predominantly of local Wembdon sandstone rubble and brick; some limestone rubble is also present. It has a shallow, domed concrete roof but the original form of the roof is not known. The Summerhouse is of circular construction with seven projecting buttresses and a diameter of approximately 3m.

The summer house in Blake Gardens, Bridgwater, a late-C18 or early-C19 ornamental garden building, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

  • Architectural interest: a picturesque and highly distinctive summer house in a Gothic style;
  • Historic interest: it incorporates earlier fabric and retains evidence for historic alterations;
  • Alteration: despite some alteration, it remains a good and indicative example of an ornamental garden structure.
Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts
Features & Designations



    • Victorian
    • Edwardian


    • Summerhouse
    • Description: A Grade II Listed Building. It is constructed predominantly of local Wembdon sandstone rubble and brick; some limestone rubble is also present. It has a shallow, domed concrete roof but the original form of the roof is not known.
    • Bandstand
    • Garden Building
    • Description: To the south west of Blake Gardens.
    Key Information

    Principal Building

    Parks, Gardens And Urban Spaces

    Open to the public


    Civil Parish