Municipal Gardens and Play area

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HCC Site ID: 1289 Parish: Rowhill Ward, Aldershot
Designations: Area:
Access: Public Access. See opening times Ownership: Rushmoor Borough Council

Location and Site

The Municipal Gardens are situated inside the Aldershot West Conservation Area at the edge of the town centre.
The main entrance is five minutes from the town centre on Grosvenor Road, though Edwardian gates restored in 2000. There are two other entrances in Arlington Terrace and Laburnum Road.

Historic Development

The Municipal Gardens are located on tracts of land purchased between 1894 and 1895 by Aldershot Urban District Council from the Church’s wardens and overseers for public use. It was laid out as the Municipal Gardens and opened to the public in 1904. On ‘Arbour Day’ on 13 December 1905 32 trees including lime, chestnut, acacia and sycamore were planted by their donors who were prominent local people.
The park is set out in a typical late Victorian style, with pathways with the main avenue shaded by mature trees and an ornamental garden with a modern water fountain and two wisteria pergolas.
The park underwent a number of improvements between the 1980s and 2004. The former tennis courts were turned into a hard court. The historic path network and railings were restored and a new fountain installed. Various artists and craftspeople contributed stone lettering, mosaics and metal sculpture. The children’s playground was renewed and improved.
In the ornamental garden at the eastern end of the park is the Cenotaph which was dedicated by the Bishop of Winchester in March 1925 in memory of those who gave their lives in World War I. The memorial was formally presented to the Mayor of Aldershot by Mr F B Bateman of the Aldershot War Memorial Committee. The guard of honour at the unveiling was formed by detachments from every branch of the Service then at Aldershot Command.

Cenotaph

The Cenotaph, which is made of Cornish granite, was originally flanked by two artillery pieces, one German and one Turkish dating from World War 1. These were removed in 1940. An additional inscription was added in 1950 in remembrance of those who died during World War II.
As Aldershot is a garrison town with a large population of serving soldiers and veterans the Cenotaph plays a key role in various acts of remembrance throughout the year.

Current Description

A well-preserved and well-maintained late-Victorian park. A lime avenue (half replanted in the 1980s) lines the main path through the park, authentically illuminated at night.
The site’s grassy slopes are bordered with trees and beds of shrubs, interspersed with wooden benches. As well as fitness equipment, there is a fenced and well-equipped playground for under 12s, and an AdiZone; a multi-use hard-surfaced games area suitable for a wide range of ball-games.
There is also an ornamental garden with two wisteria pergolas and rose beds bordered with box. A modern fountain sits in front of the Cornish granite war memorial. This cenotaph is the key focus of Remembrance Day – especially significant in the garrison town of Aldershot.

Summary & Significance

A well-used public park that is attractive to everyone. The prevalence of empty bottles and cans around the more secluded benches suggests that this is not always desirable. No other litter is evident, however.
Its significance lies in its carefully preserved and maintained character as a Victorian park, and in its central role on Remembrance Day. Some of the splendid specimen trees – mostly ash, chestnut and yew – may date from the original planting.

View looking South, showing the multi-use games area and the adult fitness equipment.

View of children’s playground, looking North from the Southern entrance.

References

http://www.rushmoor.gov.uk/article/3111/Municipal-Gardens-and-play-area.

Click here to visit Municipal Gardens web page


Our address

Address:
Rowhill Ward, Aldershot Public Access. See opening times Click for Disclaimer & copyright
GPS:
51.247222951646464, -0.7696223258972168

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