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Waterloo Park


Waterloo Park has a formal layout and contains one of the largest herbaceous borders in the United Kingdom. The park also features tennis courts, putting green, paddling pool, bandstand and pavilion.


The site, an inverted kite shape, occupies a gently falling east-facing slope.
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):

One of five registered sites in the city of Norwich which form part of a set of public parks laid out in the 1920s and 1930s by the then Parks Superintendent, Captain A Sandys-Winsch.



The c 7.5ha site on which Waterloo Park is laid out lies in a residential area to the north of the city centre. The site, an inverted kite shape, occupies a gently falling east-facing slope. It is surrounded by housing to the north-west, south-west, and north-east and is bordered by a school to the south-east.


The main entrance to Waterloo Park is through the gateway with its brick piers and iron gates (listed Grade II), which stands on Angel Road on the south-east boundary. A second gateway enters the park midway along the south-west boundary from the end of Waterloo Park Avenue while there is a third entrance off Philadelphia Lane on the north-west.


The Angel Road gate lies on the main east/west axis of the site, the walk from it planted with an avenue of cherries leading between two stone walls. To either side are yew-hedged bowling greens, one to the south and two to the north, both sets having a pavilion sited on their eastern edge (no longer in use, 2013). These are divided from the back gardens of the houses beyond by a path alongside the brick boundary wall which is planted with a row of pleached limes.

The walk from the eastern entrance then crosses the main north/south axis, a broad path flanked by 300m long herbaceous borders, which leads to a pavilion at the north end. The original layout of the northern tip of the site as a school garden has been modified, and it is now informally planted as a light grove through which runs a putting green (now closed, 2013). To the east of the northern end of the main path is a service yard and buildings.

A double set of curved steps leads up from the eastern entrance walk to the central garden on the upper level. The focus of this green is a bandstand (listed Grade II) set in a moat of pools and rills. The north and south sides of the green are marked by pergolas (listed Grade II). Steps lead down from the centre of the two pergolas to the levelled playing fields which lie to the north and south. From the west side of the bandstand terrace, steps lead up to the pavilion (listed Grade II) which dominates the site (currently out of use, 2013). Straight walks bordered by flower beds set into broad grass borders, again backed by yew hedges, extend north and south of the building. Above it, to the west, are yew-hedged tennis courts, the area being divided into two halves by a central flagged path. Three grass tennis courts were converted to hard surface courts in 2012.

A path leads round the western perimeter of the site giving access from the Waterloo Park Avenue entrance. This walk leads through less formal areas and passes in front of a yew alcove for seats at the southern end of the site. From here it continues east into the children's playground which lies south of the southern bowling green. This area was redesigned in the 1990s to an award-winning layout, and the original play equipment modernised, but it retains the original focus of a circular paddling pool surrounded by a ring of sand pits.

The park also contains the 'splash park' which was refurbished in 2011 with more up-to-date children's play facilities.

Selected Sources

Other Reference - Description: The Norwich Parks, (Norwich City Council internal report 1993)

Book Reference - Author: G Goreham - Title: The parks and open spaces of Norwich - Date: 1961

Map Reference - Author: Sandys-Winsch, A - Title: Plan of Waterloo Park - Date: 1928 - Source: (City Hall, Norwich) - Description: Plan of Waterloo Park, 1928 (City Hall, Norwich)

Reasons for Designation

Waterloo Park, Norwich, opened in 1933, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Date: the park is as a good example of an early C20 municipal park;

* Design: the park's design is essentially unchanged from its original layout of the mid 1929;

* Designer: the park was designed by Captain Sandys-Winsch, a protégé of Thomas Mawson;

* Historic interest: the park was the second largest of a series of parks laid out by Sandys-Winsch in Norwich; four others are registered;

* Structures: the park retains various structures from its foundation.

Date first registered: 08-Oct-1993

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Aug-2013

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

This is a municipal park, open daily for general public use.


Norwich City Council

City Hall, Norwich, NR2 1NH

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):


At the beginning of the C20 an area of land owned by the Great Hospital Trust was laid out as a park in a densely populated area of Norwich which lay outside the old city walls. The conversion of the existing fields was completed by 1904 and the park, originally known as Catton Recreation Ground, was opened in May of that year. In the late 1920s a proposal was put forward to redevelop the site and in 1929 a design was drawn up by Captain Sandys-Winsch, a protégé of Thomas Mawson, who was appointed as Norwich City Parks and Gardens Superintendent in 1919, remaining in the post for 34 years. It was one of a series of parks that received government funding after World War I as part of a building and planting programme, providing unemployment relief. Work began in 1931 and two years later the park was reopened under the new name of Waterloo Park. It provided within its 18 acres (7.5ha) grass tennis courts, football pitches, bowling greens, formal gardens, pergola walks, a pavilion, a bandstand, and a children's playground which was considered to be one of the finest in East Anglia. It was reported at its opening to have been created with the purpose of giving 'pleasure to the greatest number of people'. The park, which offers active and passive recreation within a formal setting of yew-hedged enclosures, remains (2013) a public amenity.

The park, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), was restored in 2000.

The other four registered parks which make up the series are Wensum Park, Eaton Park, Heigham Park, and Mile Cross Gardens.


Early 20th Century (1901-1932)

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD2755
  • Grade: II*


  • Bandstand
  • Herbaceous Border
  • Description: Waterloo park contains one of the largest herbaceous borders in the United Kingdom.
  • Pavilion
Key Information





Principal Building

Parks, Gardens And Urban Spaces


Early 20th Century (1901-1932)





Open to the public