There is an early-18th-century landscaped park with a sunken garden. Gertrude Jekyll was involved in the planting plans in 1925. The site has been owned by IBM since 1945, and new office buildings were added in the grounds. Parts of the park are still privately owned and IBM has a policy for preservation and re-planting.
The site was a medieval deer park, giving rise to richly-wooded parkland. Hursley Park was rebuilt in the 16th century and again in the 18th century. The Tudor house was replaced by a Georgian one built by Sir William Heathcote. The house and parkland were privately owned until World War 2.
Detailed DescriptionNowadays the north-east part of the park is still privately owned, while the south-east part is the UK centre of IBM. As a reminder of its historic origins the park pale still remains and, being a Scheduled Monument, is protected. The house too remains. Inevitably, the park around it has acquired new functions.
Office buildings have proliferated where once stood the walled garden and pleasure grounds. Around them lie car parks and newly created access roads. Sports facilities take up parkland. Fortunately, IBM have recognised the historic significance of the park and the necessity of maintaining it. They have sought advice and have instituted a policy for the preservation and replanting of the trees so that the essential characteristics of the parkland have been restored and are being maintained.
- House (featured building)
- Now Research Centre
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Detailed HistoryHursley Park's glory lies in its richly-wooded parkland. The site can be traced back to a medieval deer park with pale which surrounded a Norman Castle belonging to the Bishop of Winchester. This was replaced by a Tudor house, the Great Lodge, which at one time belonged to Richard Cromwell, son of the Lord Protector. In the early-18th-century a Georgian house was built by Sir William Heathcote. The park too underwent changes. It was restored and re-stocked with deer to create an informal landscaped setting for the house. Close to the house a lawn was created next to a walled garden. Pleasure grounds and a sunken garden were added in the next two centuries.
Gertrude Jekyll gave advice on garden plants. A major change took place in World War 2 when the house was requisitioned for the Senior Staff of Vickers Aviation. New buildings were erected and the park was not properly maintained. This change of use became permanent after the war when IBM became owners of the south-east part of the park including the house.
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