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The Plantation Garden Archive

The early years

PGPT106
Date: probably 1850-60
Source: Kathleen Barnard, descendant of Henry Trevor.

This photograph is probably of Henry Trevor. The inscription on the back of the original, in the Trevor family's collection of photographs, reads 'Great-grandfather Trevor'. Unfortunately, because of a marriage of cousins, there were 2 great-grandfather Trevors - Henry and his brother Frederick. As Henry was the prosperous one it seems more likely that he afforded a photograph.

Henry was born in Wisbech but came to work in Norwich as a young man (see PGPT079 for the opening of his business in Norwich). He married his employer's daughter, Mrs Mary Page, and became stepfather to her 3 young sons, the eldest of whom, John Page (PGPT168), became a partner in his business.Henry and Mary had several children of their own, but only one, Eliza (PGPT162), survived to adulthood.

In 1855 Henry bought the lease of an old quarry just outside the city walls and built a fine house (PGPT067), then started creating a picturesque garden in the quarry.

He was a very active member of the Baptist church, worshipping and indeed maintaining a chapel in Pottergate (provision of candles, coal and maintenance appear in his account book). He transferred to St Mary's Baptist church when elderly, and took part in building plans there.
PGPT067
Date 1897
Source Auction particulars, as in PGPT001

This shows the Plantation house which Henry Trevor completed in 1856 (date on Chimney) He was granted a 75 year lease of the land (a former quarry) from 1855, at a ground rent of 66 p.a.
 
A condition of the lease was that he was to build a house, by the spring of 1857,  spending not less than 2000 - a very considerable sum at a time when a terrace house might cost 100. The style is firmly classical, with columned portico, pilasters at the corners. and pediment over the central bay. The quality of the building work is high, with fine pointing between the 'white' bricks (now grey). The windows of the upper storey have 12 panes, while on the ground floor the sash windows are glazed with plate glass.

The photograph shows the garden laid out in the popular mid 19c style with beds and edges closely planted to form a 'carpet' of colour for the summer.
PGPT136
Date: 10th July 2007
Source: photograph by volunteer

The 'Gothic' fountain was built by Henry Trevor in 1857, a year after he finished his house (cf PGPT366). It must have provided immediately a view point of interest in the quarry where he was planning his garden. It is a unique feature: a tribute to the popularity of the Gothic style in the mid 19c - a reminder that the Houses of Parliament were under construction during 1857. The materials used include flints, probably from the site itself, which form the buttresses that give the impression of a grotto. There are also a large number of Gunton Bros white bricks, moulded into classical and Gothic patterns, which have weathered to look like stone. The 'windows' with the cusps in their tops, match drawings in the Gunton catalogue (PGPT300).
Thus this structure combines the attractions of a ruin, a fountain, a grotto, a fish pond and a lily pond.
PGPT479
Date 1886
Source: original 1886 photograph in PGPT archive, re-photographed by Sarah Cocke 1998

It is remarkably fortunate that this family photograph has survived since 1886. members of Henry Trevor's family are posed in front of a rustic summerhouse in the Plantation garden, probably returned from, or about to set out for, the service advertised on the poster in the background (cf PGPT007). From left to right we see Eliza Trevor (cf PGPT162), daughter of Henry and Mary Trevor, holding by the hand Hugh, her eldest son (cf PGPT266). John Page (cf PGPT168) stands behind, beside his son Herbert, his wife (seated, cf PGPT171) and son Sydney, who died as a soldier in Gaza in WW1. Are the blurred figures moving away to the left Henry and Mary themselves?
Remains of this summerhouse were found on the lawn beside Plantation house in 1980 (cf PGPT255). From these we know that the roof was thatched with heather, and the inside lined with rattan. The wood used in the structure was intended to look 'rustic', like the bridge (cf PGPT373). This appearance of a natural look, of 'rus in urbe', was very popular with the Victorians, as is shown by the huge sales of Shirley Hibberd's book (cf PGPT329) in the years following its publication in 1856.
PGPT001
Date:1897
Source: Spelman (auctioneers) included this photograph in their particulars of sale of the lease of the Plantation house and garden. The sale was held after Henry Trevor's death in May 1897. Re-photographed in 1998 by Sarah Cocke from the original in the NRO.

This view was taken looking south from the rustic bridge (cf PGPT402). It shows clearly the overall 'bowl' shape of the garden, which was built in an old chalk quarry. Even before chalk was quarried flints were mined there.
Various structures can be seen: prominent in the centre is the 'Gothic' fountain (cf PGPT298): 'Italian' balustrades and terraces (cf PGPT320) can be seen at the far end: the 1871 Palm House and Winter Garden (cf PGPT003) is visible at the right.

H.T's gardening style is revealed by the emphasis on carpet bedding in the flower beds, with 'exotics' as 'dot' plants along the edge of the lawn and shrubs and trees planted on the slopes.

    

PGPT002
Date:1897
Source: as in PGPT001

This view was taken looking north from the top of the Italian terrace. The Plantation house (PGPT067) can be seen near the horizon on the left, and the Palm House and Winter Garden (PGPT003) are visible at the far end of the garden. The way the ivy has been cut into triangles and decorates the 'medieval' wall (cf PGPT227) to the left of the Palm House is similar to the treatment on the balustrade walls in PGPT001.

PGPT019
Date:1890s
Source: photograph taken by John Gavin. PGPT003 shows an enlarged detail of this photograph.

This view was taken from the Italian terrace looking North, from a point slightly lower than in PGPT002. The plantings are so similar in these 2 photographs that it is tempting to think they come from the same set, but there are differences, e.g a ladder propped against the Palm house in PGPT002 does not appear here. Because the distance from the flower beds is less, it has been posssible to identify some of the plants e.g.the echeveria which edge the long bed on the left of the lawn (cf PGPT021).
PGPT079
Date: 15th October 1842
Source: The Norwich Mercury newspaper

This advertisement was placed in the newspaper by Henry Trevor as he opened his shop in Exchange Street (then called Post-Office Street) which ran from the market square down to the river. The salesmanship is skilful: the wide range of products, their modernity, high quality and low prices, combined with promises of personal attention to a wide range of customers over a wide area are all such enticements as might be offered today. Today, though, a customer would not expect to have to read so many words in an initial approach! Henry Trevor also differs from modern practice with his strict insistence on ready money only!
Henry Trevor (PGPT106) was only 23 when he set up shop on his own account. As the advertisement says, he had been an assistant to Mr Gray (PGPT158), whose shop was nearby. Mr Gray was happy to support Henry who was about to marry his eldest daughter, the widow Mrs. Mary Page (PGPT159)
The business was very successful and it was in part the profit from this which enabled Henry to create the Plantation garden.
PGPT294
Date: 18th October, 1842
Source: The Norwich Mercury newspaper

See PGPT079 for discussion of Henry Trevor's advertisement. Here more of the surrounding advertisements are shown, giving a picture of commercial activity in Norwich when Henry Trevor opened his shop.
PGPT341
Date: 1842
Source: 'The Plantation Garden' by Sheila Adam, UEA dissertation 1996

This copy of the tithe map (1842) illustrates the fact that Joseph Gray, Henry Trevor's father-in-law, owned considerable property in the area of Heigham Grove and Chester Place. At this time there were 2 buildings on the site of the Plantation, and the cliff of the quarry can be seen.
  PGPT231
Date: 2008 (1880)
Source: photograph by volunteer

For the story of the discovery of this pediment see PGPT134. We do not know whether these bricks were produced by Gunton Bros. This is the latest date (1880) to appear in the garden.
PGPT007
Date:1886
Source: original photograph in PGPT archive re-photographed by Sarah Cocke in 1998.

This detail is taken from a family photograph (cf PGPT479) posed in front of the rustic summerhouse. It shows John Joseph Gray Page, Henry Trevor's stepson and business partner (see PGPT295 for a watercolour of John as a charming toddler!) One of his teenage sons stands beside him.
The poster in the background advertises a Flower Service, for the Horticultural Society, at the Old Parish Church on Sunday afternoon Aug 1st 1886. The sermon will be given by Rev J.Mellor Evans, offertories of flowers received from 2.30 to 3.15, service to commence at 3.30. There can surely be no doubt that flowers went to the church from the Plantation garden.
PGPT018
Date:1890s
Source: photograph in PGPT archive

The cathedral of St John the Baptist (R.C.) is an immediate neighbour of the Plantation garden. It was built, between 1884 and 1910, on the site of the old city gaol, for the 15th Duke of Norfolk. The architect was G.G.Scott Jun. Henry Trevor must have been delighted when this prestigious building replaced the gaol, for he had a clear view of it from his garden (cf. PGPT015)
The nave was the first part of the building to be finished, in 1894, so this photograph must date after that.This view is of the east end, on the junction of Unthank Rd and Earlham Rd. The surrounding wall has yet to be built.
PGPT015
Date:1890s
Source: negative donated by J.F.C.Mills

The photograph was taken from the lawn of the Plantation house, looking across the top of the Palm house to St John's Catholic cathedral. The cathedral is only partly built, and this is how the photograph can be dated to the 1890s. N.b. the globe lights beside the steps, the open ventilators of the Palm house, and the immaculate carpet bedding.
PGPT169
Date: 14th July 1892
Source: original poster in Norfolk Record office, copy in PGPT archive

This poster advertises 'An International bazaar and Garden Party' to be held in The Plantation 'through the kindness of Henry Trevor Esq.' in aid of the Y.M.C.A. Stalls represented goods from various countries (ivory from Bombay, Japanese wares, Spanish fans etc) with stallholders dressed in 'Native Costumes'. The Carrow band and fireworks were added attractions.

Points of interest: cheap trains from all over Norfolk, entrance cost 1s,  fashionable oriental decoration (advertising by the oriental merchants Bonsor at the bottom of the sheet?), tickets sold by Jarrolds etc.

An EDP report next day said 4000 attended in spite of bad weather.
   PGPT008,009
Date:1897
Source: Spelman (auctioneers) included these photographs in their particulars of sale of the lease of the Plantation house and garden and other properties owned by Henry Trevor. The sale was held after Henry Trevor's death in May 1897.

PGPT008 shows part of the terrace of 7 houses which Henry Trevor built in the 1860s to form Chester Place. They were designed by the architect Edward Boardman. The low walls between the houses were built to the same design as balustrades in the Plantation (PGPT022) and the pedestals, like the one visible here at the end of the wall, are very similar to those around the fountain in the garden (cf PGPT356), using flints and Gunton fancy bricks.

009 shows two houses in Chester Place (Chester House in the foreground. The Rosary on the left) which were owned by Henry Trevor and included in the 1897 sale.
PGPT010
Date:1897
Source: as PGPT008/9.

The photograph shows The Elms, Heigham Grove. In 1897 and for many years before, Henry Trevor's stepson, John Joseph Gray Page (PGPT168) lived in this house with his large family.
PGPT051
Date: 1897
Source:  Auction sale particulars, as PGPT008

This photograph shows 'The Beeches', which Henry Trevor built in the 1860s between his own dwelling house and the Earlham Rd. The conservatory, garden and thatched summerhouse (cf PGPT047/8) are visible to the left of the house. Henry Trevor let the property to tenants. In 1897 the rent was 75 p.a.

In the early 1980s the property was leased to a Mr Hill, who converted it and the neighbouring Plantation house into a hotel.
PGPT054
Date: 1897
Source: the map that was used by Spelmans in the auction particulars when Henry Trevor's estate was sold in 1897. It was based on the O.S. map of 1883/4

This is the northern section of the 1883/4 map. The entrance to the garden lies further north, leading off the Earlham Rd .Henry Trevor's residence, The Plantation, (cf PGPT067), is prominent, and the 'cottage' of the gardener (cf PGPT034) is labelled. Several glasshouses, including the Palm House, are marked by crosshatching, and there are 2 other roofed buildings which may be the fruit store and gardener's office listed in the 1897 auction particulars.
PGPT055
Date: 1897
Source: See PGPT054

This is the southern section of the map shown in PGPT054. Notable features include the fountain (top right), the glass propagating house (crosshatched), steps, paths and flowerbeds. The number '1' is the lot number of this property at the auction and the names on the right hand side are the owners of the houses in Unthank Rd whose gardens abutted the boundary of the Plantation Garden. The Baptist church of 1897 became a United Reform church in the late 20c.
PGPT056
Date 1897
Source Detail of PGPT001

This enlargement shows clearly the propagating house (described in the auction particulars as 'span-roof.....24ft by 10ft), with the row of finials along the top, an open door and plants standing on the shelf inside. There is also a cold frame behind. On the pedestals around the fountain urns shaped like tree trunks can be seen, and fragments of these have been found in the garden.
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