Words and photo by Dave Barry
The Friends of South Cliff Gardens are appealing for old photos and memorabilia to support a bid for millions of pounds of lottery funding.
The gardens are in a fragile condition and in desperate need of improvement.
The community group was awarded £334,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund earlier this year. Plans to restore and improve the gardens are already under way.
The scale of the project means that a much bigger level of investment is needed to restore deteriorating paths and shelters and bring overgrown areas back into pristine condition.
An application for a full grant will be submitted to the HLF next August. If successful, the £6.5m renovation works will start in 2019.
The gardens are listed in a register of England’s historic parks and gardens of special historic interest.
The plans are being developed in partnership by the Friends, Scarborough Council and specialist consultants Southern Green.
They will include comprehensive repair and restoration of the gardens and new features to attract more people.
There will be changes to the way the park is managed, a programme of training and community involvement and a range of events and activities.
The Friends staged a collection point at Scarborough Library on three Saturdays in December.
The group invited people to share memories of the gardens and submit old photos, postcards, other pictures, stories and comments to help them build an archive.
Victoria Thompson of the Friends, who is helping to put the bid together, said: “For those of us helping to restore the gardens, it is important that the project is driven by the community”.
Southern Green director Simon Green said the gardens “contribute to making Scarborough such a green and enchanting place to live in and visit.
“Notable designers involved with the layout of the gardens include Sir Joseph Paxton, designer of Crystal Palace and head gardener at Chatsworth, as well as his apprentice Edward Milner, who became famous in his own right with credits such as Bodnant Garden and the People’s Park in Halifax to his name”.
Adrian Perry, who has chaired the Friends since the group was launched in 2006, said: “Everyone can be proud of what has been achieved during the 11 years of its existence.
“Working with the council and giving support to our wonderful team of gardeners, we have been able to make a difference and demonstrate how valued the gardens are by residents and visitors.
“The restoration work in St Martin’s Square, Shuttleworth Gardens, Prince of Wales Garden and the rose garden, along with many other smaller interventions, has made the gardens a delight to visit. However the infrastructure needs a major overhaul, so it is essential that we are successful with our bid to the HLF”.
The South Cliff gardens cover a large area stretching from the south end of the Spa bridge to Wheatcroft, bounded by the sea and the Esplanade; plus the other gardens mentioned above.
For further information, visit www.friendsofsouthcliffgardens.com or www.facebook.com / southcliffgardens.