Town Gardens Survey


In 1996 the Trust commissioned a survey of the gardens of the towns of Norfolk. With increasing pressure to develop the land within towns, with more houses, supermarkets, parking lots and roads, clearly the existing gardens within many of them were under threat, and many of the historic gardens clearly defined by the Ordnance Survey maps of the 19th century had already been sub-divided or had disappeared altogether. The Trust wished to have an authorative record of what had existed and what remained. The survey did not, however cover smaller, mainly 20th century gardens. The emphasis was on historical gardens, mainly pre-20th century, although there were exceptions: the inter-war Norwich Parks, and the many 20th century seaside gardens were included.

Anthea Taigel (Landscape History Research), then the gardens inspector for English Heritage for the Eastern region, researched and wrote the reports which were published by the Trust between 1997-99. Twenty one reports were produced covering the towns of Attleborough, Aylsham, Cromer, Diss, Downham Market, East Dereham, Fakenham, Great Yarmouth, Hingham, Holt, Kings Lynn, North Walsham, Norwich, New Hunstanton, Old Hunstanton, Sheringham, Swaffham, Thetford, Watton and Wymondham, plus an additional report on Wymondham Cemetery.

The surveys include a general history and introduction for each town. The number of sites included varies according to the size and importance of the location. Norwich has thirteen sites considered in detail, and a further fifty three in brief, whereas Holt has three detailed sites and sixteen in outline. The Reports include Ordnance Survey maps, clearly indicating the locations and extent of the gardens, but are not illustrated. The exception being the report on Wymondham Cemetery which has eight colour pictures and a detailed tree survey.