Jephson Gardens (also known as Newbold Gardens)1867

Royal Leamington Spa, England, Warwickshire, Warwick

Brief Description

Jephson Gardens are public gardens, originally established in 1836 as Newbold Gardens. The gardens were laid out between 1846 and 1848 and renamed after Dr Henry Jephson. The site occupies about 6 hectares, and includes lawns, beds, mature trees, a sensory garden and a late-20th century glasshouse with exotic plants.

Visitor Facilities

The site is open daily from 8 am until dusk.

Detailed Description

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 The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

The Spa Gardens comprise a linked series of gardens and parks, in all c 20ha, running east/west alongside the River Leam for just over a kilometre through the centre of Leamington Spa. From either end of the Gardens there is access to further green space. West of Victoria Park is a sports ground, Edmondscote, and open fields reaching to St Nicholas Park, Warwick, and on past the Castle to Warwick Castle Park (qv). To the east, along the river, are Welch's Meadow, a local nature reserve, and Newbold Comyn, where a country park was established in 1973.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

Immediately east of the Pump Room Gardens, and also on the north bank of the river, here broad and lake-like, are Jephson Gardens. These, 500m long from south-west to north-east and 100m wide, are bounded to the north-west by Newbold Terrace and to the north-east by Willes Road, which is carried over the Leam by Willes Bridge. The Gardens are entered by gates adjoining West Lodge, which is opposite the Pump Room. From this a straight, axial path runs north-east through the Gardens to East Lodge, on Willes Road. Both lodges are of 1847; the former (sometimes known as Parade Lodges; listed grade II), a pair in the Classical style, was designed by David [recte Daniel] Squirhill, the latter by J G Jackson in what he called his Old English style. A third gate, in the centre of the Gardens' north-west side, gives access from Newbold Terrace. Some 20m south-west of those gates is the start of Mill Passage, which runs southwards through the Gardens as a right of way from Newbold Terrace to Mill Bridge. Other paths run around the Gardens' perimeter and around the 100m long Lake (dug 1846-7) east of West Lodge. East of the east end of the Lake, adjoining the north end of Mill Bridge, is the site of the Nursery. About 200m to the north-east,on the river bank, is the Riverside Restaurant. The Gardens contain large numbers of other structures, many of them commemorative. These include the Hitchman Fountain (listed grade II) 30m north of West Lodge, a neo-gothic structure by J Cundall erected in memory of Dr Hitchman (d 1867) who had had a great influence on the town's layout; the Willes Obelisk (listed grade II) of 1875, 100m north-east of the West Lodge; a stone arbour of the 1860s 50m north of the Obelisk on the perimeter walk; the Jephson Temple (listed grade II), a white marble statue of Dr Jephson by Peter Hollins which stands in the centre of the Gardens in a circular, stone, domed pavilion of 1848-9 by David [Daniel] Squirhill; the Aviary (listed grade II), originally opened in 1899 as a buffet, 100m east of the Jephson Memorial; and 30m north-west of the pavilion the Davis Clock Tower of 1925. Around these various structures the Gardens are well planted with mature trees and shrubs and have numerous flower beds, mostly symmetrical. The Gardens originated as a meadow which c 1831 was fenced off and laid out to a design by J G Jackson (with planting by John Cullis) as Newbold Gardens (or Newbold Wood Walks), a commercial pleasure ground. A subscription of 1846 allowed the lease of the Gardens to be assigned to trustees and for them to be improved and opened to the public in 1847 as Jephson Gardens. The name honoured Dr Henry Jephson, promoter of a moderate diet, exercise and taking the waters, who established his practise at Leamington in 1828 and subsequently drew many visitors to the town.

References

C Hodgetts, Jephson Gardens, Royal Leamington Spa: Historical Report (Report for Warwick District Council 1997)

Maps

OS 6" to 1 mile: 3rd edition published 1925

OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1886; 2nd edition published 1905; 1936 edition; 1939 edition

OS 1:500: 1901 edition

Description written: January 1999

Edited: January 2001

Features
River, Ornamental Lake, Ornamental Fountain, Lawn, Walk, Specimen Tree, Flower Bed, Mixed Border, Arbour, Pavilion, Glasshouse, Temple, Tower, Ornamental Bridge, Obelisk, Temperate House
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The site is open daily from 8 am until dusk.

Directions

In the centre of Leamington Spa at the south end of The Parade, opposite the Royal Pump Rooms.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Royal Leamington
History

Detailed History

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 The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

The village of Leamington Priors, at the south end of a bridge across the River Leam, began to be developed as a spa resort in the last years of the 18th century. The first bath houses to be erected were south of the river; urban development on a far larger scale, crucially on open land, began when a spring was discovered north of the Leam. Immediately north of the bridge the land was owned by Bertie Greatheed, whose income from his West Indian sugar plantations had been much reduced by the French wars. In 1808 he formed a partnership with Warwick businessmen to develop a new town on his land focused on a Pump Room, opened in 1814, alongside which the Pump Room Gardens were laid out. Development of the surrounding land began only after it was inherited in 1820 by Edward Willes. He brought in the London architect P F Robinson to lay out Clarendon and Beauchamp Squares and the surrounding streets, with land on the east side of the town being laid out in the later 1820s and 1830s to plans by John Nash and his partner James Morgan, and by J G Jackson, a pupil of Robinson's who in 1832 was appointed Willes' agent. Jackson's schemes included wide promenades and open spaces and what in time became known as Jephson Gardens.

Leamington doubled in size between 1831 and 1841, but growth then slowed leaving large numbers of plots still vacant. The nature of the town changed in the mid century; the fashion for spa treatments waned, the town gained a higher proportion of residential middle-class professionals, while from the 1850s day trippers came by rail. In 1862 the Local Board of Health created the New River Walk on completion of its works to speed the flow of the sewage-laden Leam by raising and straightening its banks. The town gained borough status in 1875, and using powers granted by the 1875 Public Health Act extended New River Walk to the Pump Room Gardens. Additional Powers under the Leamington Spa Corporation Act 1896 enabled the acquisition of land for Victoria Park as a 'people's park'. The final component of Spa Gardens, Mill Garden, opened in 1903.

Period

  • Mid 19th Century
Associated People
Contact
References

References