Rockstone Place Park 3923

Southampton, England

Brief Description

Rockstone Place is a small town park, walled on the south and east boundaries, with railings on the rest dividing it from the road. It was originally laid out in the mid-19th century with trees and plants. It was reinstated by Southampton City council in 1991 with additional trees, borders of shrubs and herbaceous plants, grass and paved areas.

History

Four blocks of houses were built on the adjacent land in the 1830s and 1840s. A small area of ground opposite the houses was laid out as a pleasure garden, which was gifted to the Council in 1879.

Visitor Facilities

This is a municipal park for general public use.

Detailed Description

Rockstone Place is a small town park, walled on the south and east boundaries, with railings on the rest dividing it from the road. It was originally laid out in the mid-19th century with trees and plants. It was reinstated by Southampton City Council in 1991 with additional trees, borders of shrubs and herbaceous plants, grass and paved areas.

Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

This is a municipal park for general public use.

Directions

The park lies off the A33, west of the River Itchen. It is at the most southern end of The Avenue leading into Southampton, adjacent to the Law Courts.
History

Detailed History

Before the 1830s the land was part of a farm on the outskirts of Southampton. It was included in a parcel of land bought by Edward Toomer in 1823-4, on which, during the 1830s and 40s, he built four blocks of houses. The street was given the name Rockstone Place.

The half acre opposite the houses and backing on to the already developed Carlton Crescent, was too narrow for a house and was left as an amenity for the residents of Rockstone Place. It was laid out as a small pleasure garden with railings. In 1879, the sisters Jane Wills and the Misses Margaret and Rebecca Toomer, the surviving heirs of Edward Toomer, gifted the garden to Southampton Borough Council to be kept as an open area in perpetuity.

Adjacent to the garden is the former site of the Ordnance Survey offices. During World War 2 the ground was turned into air raid shelters for the O.S. staff, and the railings removed for scrap. After the war the garden was neglected and became overgrown until 1967. At that date, the Corporation was pressed to provide more off street car parking, and the garden was cleared and tarred over to become a park for 60 cars. In 1969, the O.S. offices moved to Maybush. There were plans to develop the vacated ground owned by the government for Magistrates Courts, Crown Courts and a Police HQ, but action was very slow and the garden continued to be used as a car park.

In 1979, the Southampton Commons and Parks Protection Society (SCAPPS) committee made a presentment to the Southampton Court Leet about the misuse of the garden as a car park, failure to take steps to rectify the situation, and for encouraging attempts at circum-navigating the restrictive covenant instead of seeking ways of honouring its obligations.

After a prolonged campaign, which included a second presentment in 1983 and the subsequent intervention of the Local Ombudsman, the Council was forced to act. It was also necessary to convince the County Council's architect that it was not possible to establish a right of way through the park to the new Magistrates court and to agree to infill a breach in the south wall and rebuild the east wall. At last, in 1991, Rockstone Place Park was reinstated and the residents and other citizens have again been able to enjoy the small park.

Period

  • Victorian (1837-1901)
References

Contributors

  • Stan Hutton

    1

  • Barbara Hutton

    1