Bury Lodge Gardens is an ornamental public park, laid out in 1937. Much of the original layout is intact. There is a rose garden with lily pond, surrounded by a pergola, an open-air draughts board, a pool for paddling and sailing model yachts, a children's playground, two shelters and a grass plot for games.
The layout of the gardens remains largely intact today. There is a rose garden occupying approximately 1.5 acres in the northern part of the park and an ornamental lily pond surrounded by four pergola walks. The sheltered retreat for the elderly remains, as does the open-air draughts board, oval pool, children's playground (although the original equipment is gone).
The crazy paving in the centre of the gardens has been replaced by concrete slabs, while the perimeter paths are now laid with tarmac. The circular millstone from the house remains in the paving beneath the pergola closest to the entrance of the park.
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The site is open from 8am to dusk, 7 days a week
Rail: Bush Hill Park; Bus 192
London Borough of Enfield
Bury Lodge Gardens is on the site previously occupied by Bury Lodge, which may originally have been a timber-framed house dating from late medieval or early Tudor times. The house appears to have been linked to Salisbury House next door, probably towards the end of the 16th century. The two buildings are shown on the 1867 O.S. map and are labelled as ‘Bury Lodge'. When or whether the link between the two houses was demolished is unclear. An ink-and-wash drawing of 1798 shows the two houses apparently linked. The buildings appear to be linked on the 1867 OS map and the link building remains on the OS map of 1939, although Bury Lodge itself is gone.
In 1893, Henry Soundy and his family lived at Bury Lodge. A painting of 1894 by G.W. Fairbank shows a timbered, cottage-like building flanked by trees, with outhouses to the right. The front garden is set with rectangular lawns and some flower planting close to the house. An undated photograph, probably dating from around the 1920s, shows the front of the house adorned with flowers, and an avenue of standard roses either side of a wide path leading to the front door. There is a high garden wall with an open gate to the right that appears to adjoin the house. A photograph of 1936 shows the same view. The depressions of the filled-in beds where the standard roses had stood are visible in the lawn.
A photograph of about 1895 shows the Soundy family sitting in the back garden, which appears to be laid mainly to lawn. Another photograph shows Reg Soundy in what could be, from the rectilinear layout, the kitchen garden. Judging from his style of dress, this photograph probably dates from the very early 20th century. Two early 20th-century photographs (probably 1920s) show the back of the house, with a series of shrubs set out close to the house walls. There are photographs of children playing in the back garden and a child in the front garden dating from the late 1920s to early 1930s. The child in the front garden is Peter Ellis, who was born at Bury Lodge and whose grandmother put the property up for sale in February 1933 when he was aged about four or five.
The site was purchased, between May and October 1933, by Edmonton Urban District Council for £7,150. The house was described in the District Valuer's report as a 17th-century weather-boarded building which had six inter-connecting bedrooms. The garden was ‘well-timbered' and contained several old outbuildings. The grounds covered an area of 4 acres, 2 roods and 20 perches.
Responsibility for establishing a public recreation ground on the site was delegated to the Fire Brigade, Cemetery, Park and Allotments Committee (FBCPAC), which in December 1933 formed a sub-committee to look at the layout of the gardens and the use of the house. Half the cost of purchase had been met by the London County Council, which was at the time, the committee noted, urging local authorities to ‘seek every opportunity to acquire open spaces for the future'. Financial assistance was given on the condition that the site was used for public recreation, and in June 1934 the name of the site was formally changed to ‘Bury Lodge Recreation Ground'.
In October 1934, the sub-committee recommended that the gardens be laid out with a sunken garden with a lily pond as a central feature, a tea garden, a paddling pond, a children's playground, shelters and a public convenience opening on to Bury Street. There were also proposals for reconditioning the Lodge (it was later noted that the idea was to use the building as a public tea room and living quarters for the gardeners). The Engineer estimated the cost of the work outlined as £5,800. Approval for the plans was sought from the Ministry of Health, but in December 1934, the Ministry queried plans for the development of the grounds ‘in the present economic circumstances'. A further letter from the Ministry in April 1935 gave the opinion that the scheme was too expensive for the size of the space concerned, and that it was not clear what the Lodge was to be used for. The estimate was revised down to £5,195, and it was agreed to demolish the Lodge. In September a loan of £5,264 for the laying out of the gardens was agreed and the site's development as a public recreation ground was approved by the Ministry of Health.
There were objections from the Edmonton Labour Party League of Youth that the site was not being developed as a sports ground, and from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings that the Lodge was being demolished. Despite these protests the FBCPAC went ahead and appointed a foreman, Mr E.G. Cutts, of 216 Hertford Road, Edmonton, on a salary of £6 6s per week. Mr Cutts started on 12 December 1935 and work began on laying out the gardens. Those responsible for the layout were Mr F.J. Willis, the borough engineer and surveyor, and Mr G.W. Bailey, the parks superintendent; Mr F.H. Elgar was the engineer in charge of the job. Playground equipment was purchased for £153 17s 0d, and drinking fountains and sanitaryware for a public convenience at £71 5s 10d. There were objections over the siting of the public convenience, which was to open on to Bury Street West, from the residents of Sunnydene Gardens, who felt that it would create ‘an objectionable outlook from their premises and depreciate the properties around'.
Photographs of 1936 show the front and back of Bury Lodge before demolition. The men laying out the gardens applied for holiday pay in June 1936, but their claim was rejected in the September because there was just £658 left in the budget. At this point, the Lodge was still only half demolished. In October 1936, £300 was approved for the purchase of roses and shrubs. In March 1937, the committee agreed to appoint two park keepers, with the stipulation that they had to be under the age of 45.
The gardens were officially opened by the deputy mayor-elect, Councillor A. J. Hollywood, on Saturday 10 April 1937. As soon as the gates were opened, a swarm of children, many clutching model sailing boats, surged into the playground, and began to make use of the facilities, while the adults listened to a number of formal speeches made by councillors. The gardens featured a rose garden, occupying approximately 1.5 acres in the northern part of the park and containing 4,700 roses. An ornamental lily pond surrounded by four pergola walks, a sheltered retreat for the elderly with an open-air draughts board, a oval pool for paddling and sailing model yachts, slides, swings and merry-go-round, and a grass plot for games, surrounded by gravel walks.
The eastern garden wall of Bury Lodge was retained, and part of the back garden and its trees, including a copper beech, were retained in a secluded grass plot. Tiles taken from the roof of Bury Lodge were re-used for the shelters in the children's playground and the elderly people's retreat, and the public convenience. The public convenience was built on the site of the Lodge's stables and cartshed, to the right of the house from the street. The bell that had hung on the front of Bury Lodge was re-fixed in the roof of the elderly people's shelter in the north-eastern part of the park, to be rung at park closing time. Several of the seats in the park were set on paving stones taken from the kitchen of Bury Lodge. A circular stone - probably a millstone - also found in the house, was incorporated in the crazy paving close to the main entrance of the park (and is still there today).
Two undated postcards show the park in summer, probably a few years after opening. One (entitled ‘Bury Lodge, Bush Hill Park') shows the ornamental pond, looking from the south west - two of the pergolas and one of the shelters can be seen. The other postcard shows the central path that bisects the park from east to west. An undated photograph shows the paddling pool and children's playground, with slide and roundabout. A planting of dahlias fronts the entrance to the pool area.
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Open to the public