Mill Gardens run along the south bank of the Leam, opposite Jephson Gardens. Features include Mill Bridge (listed grade II) and an 80m long boating pool with boathouse.
The Spa Gardens were developed from the 1820s onwards. The final component of Spa Gardens, Mill Garden, opened in 1903.
Visitor FacilitiesThese are municipal parks for general public use.
Detailed DescriptionThe 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):
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
Willes Bridge, at the east end of Jephson Gardens, allows access to Mill Gardens, which run along the south bank of the Leam, opposite Jephson Gardens. They are 320m long and extend south-west to a gate at the west end of Mill Road. The gate adjoins the south end of Mill Bridge (listed grade II), a suspension footbridge which crosses the Leam to the central portion of Jephson Gardens. The Gardens include, in their central part, an 80m long boating pool with boathouse. Mill Gardens were created largely as a children's playground as part of the Mill improvement scheme of 1903. That included the construction of a new weir, the bridge, boathouse and boating pool, all designed by the borough surveyor William de Normanville. Previously the area had been settlement ponds, a mill and an open-air swimming pool.
C Hodgetts, Jephson Gardens, Royal Leamington Spa: Historical Report (Report for Warwick District Council 1997)
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
- Ornamental Bridge
- Description: Mill Bridge is a suspension footbridge which crosses the Leam to the central portion of Jephson Gardens.
- Boating Lake
- Description: An 80m long boating pool.
- Access & Directions
Access Contact DetailsThese are municipal parks for general public use.
- Royal Leamington
Detailed HistoryThe 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):
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.
- Early 20th Century (1901-1932)
- Associated People
Warwick District CouncilRiverside House, Milverton Hill, Leamington Spa, CV32 5HZ