Date: early 1980s
Source: photograph by Allan Sewell, a pioneer volunteer

The photograph shows Bryony Nierop-Reading, who organised the first meeting, in Norwich City Library, of people who would be interested in starting the restoration of the Plantation garden. She had been alerted to the existence of the garden by a midwife who attended the birth of her baby (the baby is invisible but held in a sling on Bryony’s chest).
As a result of that meeting, the Plantation Garden Preservation Trust (PGPT) was formed. Details of the progress of the restoration are best followed in ‘Ex Fonte’ (from the fountain). The fountain was adopted as a symbol for the garden from the formation of the Trust.
The photograph gives a vivid impresssion of the overgrown state of the garden and the formidable task that lay ahead for the early volunteers.

Date: 1980
Source: photograph by volunteer

This photograph shows as clearly as the 1980 photographs of the fountain (e.g. PGPT302) what a task was taken on by the original volunteers in the garden. A comparison with PGPT320, of the same view, indicates how much work was done to remove the years of growth of ivy and reveal the structure underneath. It is certainly to the credit of the original builders that once the ivy was removed so much of their work was still standing, although some of the ballustrades had to be reconstructed.

Date: 1980
Source: photograph by Allan Sewell

This view looking North from the Italian balustrades toward the house complements PGPT319. In the foreground is part of the ivy mountain covering steps and balustrades. The lawns and paths have disappeared under a covering of saplings, tall grass and brambles.

Date: 1980
Source: Photograph by volunteer

One of the early pictures of the fountain which shows how much work lay ahead of the pioneer volunteers. For a description of their first reactions see PGPT181.
This view has been taken looking west, so the Plantation house can be seen top left through the overgrown saplings.

Date: 1980
Source: photograph by volunteer Allan Sewell

This photograph shows the ruinous state of the retaining wall in the south east corner of the level area of the garden in 1980 when the Trust began its work. The most prominent of the mixture of materials are the Gunton Bros spiral chimney bricks, bottom right, and the three sections of balustrading middle left.

PGPT253 shows the restoration in progress.

Date: 1883/4
Source: O.S. map

This map has been invaluable as an aid to the restoration of the garden. It has proved so accurate that when the flowerbeds in the main lawn, which had been grassed over in the early 20c, were being restored, measurements taken from this map were found to tally exactly with the evidence on the ground of the position of those beds.

Date: 1981
Source: photograph by volunteer

Editions of Ex Fonte from 1981 onward report on the progress of excavating foundations, drains, paths and beds in the Palm House. Today the outlines are marked by flower beds with attractive planting schemes devised by Marj Wilson (see PGPT097 and History and Guide 2009 p31).

Date: 1985
Source: photograph taken by volunteer in PG archive

The Italian balustrade is shown here after some work has been done. Much of the ivy covering has been stripped away (cf PGPT319), and most of the balustrade has been restored. It can be seen that the lawn area is unkempt and full of weeds.

PGPT035 and PGPT036
Date: PGPT035 1986 early summer, PGPT036 1985
Source: photographs taken by volunteers

In 1980 when the work of restoration began the lawn area was a mass of self sown grasses, saplings etc. (cf ) When work began on the lawn, a decision was taken to use traditional methods, and so the painstaking work of levelling the ground before sowing one section at a time was undertaken, as these photographs show. At this stage there was no attempt to reinstate the flower beds either down the centre or along the West side.

Date: 1980s
Source: photograph by volunteer

In the 1980s there was continual work on restoring the fountain which had already become the iconic symbol of the PGPT (see PGPT181/2,184). There are reports in Ex Fonte throughout the 1980s of the progress of the work.

Date: 1980s
Source: photograph by volunteer

The brick construction of the fountain basin (see PGPT182,4) is being relined before filling with water.

Date: 1980s
Source: photograph by volunteer

An unknown event was taking place to display what improvements have been made: the balustrading of the Italian terrace has been repaired and a lot of the ivy which had covered the whole structure in 1980 (PGPT319) has been removed, revealing the fancy brickwork underneath. Urns have been placed on pedestals and planted. The lawn has been cleared and reseeded and even mowed to give stripes!

However, much work remains to be done – the west bank is tumbledown, like the rockworks on the bottom left, the lower path is rough and the middle path on the left has hardly been cleared. And why the cavities on the lawn?

Date: 1984
Source: photograph by courtesy of Eastern Daily Press

Much work has been carried out in the 4 years since the Trust was set up (see PGPT 201/2) but the basin has not yet been lined. John Watson (see PGPT192) is the central of the 3 figures and had probably invited the newspaper to give the Trust more publicity, as he frequently did.

In the background, the wall behind the figures has been partly repaired and a topping put in place along part of it. The plan and paths of the Palm House beds have been revealed and planted. The ‘medieval’ wall is still overgrown with ivy and the balustrading on top of it has not yet been repaired (see PGPT040-2). And of course the resurfacing of the paths is still a long way in the future.

Date: 1980s
Source: photograph taken by volunteer in PG archive

It can be seen that the fountain wall has been repaired, as has the wall alongside. The fountain wall is built with flints, the side wall with a mixture of flints, plain bricks, and ‘fancy’ Gunton bricks in red and white patterns. The fountain basin has not yet been filled with water.

PGPT043 and 044
Date: 1980s
Source: photograph by volunteer in PG archive

A theory was taken up by some of the volunteers which maintained that much terracotta in the 19c had been limewashed to imitate stone. This theory was acted on in the area at the bottom of the steps down to the lawn from the Palm House terrace. Here we can see some of the several plaques which have a design of a barrel and fruit being limewashed by volunteers. Fortunately the popularity of this idea was short lived.

Date: 1989
Source: photograph taken by volunteer in PG archive

The Plantation house, built by Henry Trevor in 1856. In the early 1980s it became part of ‘The Beeches’ hotel.

In this photograph the balustrade along the top of the retaining ‘medieval’ wall has not yet been restored, and there is much work to be done on the upper lawn (cf PGPT400).




PGPT040, 041, 042
Date: 1989
Source: photograph taken by volunteer in PG archive

There was co-operation between the hotelier and the PGPT to restore the balustrade above the retaining wall in front of the hotel.

Date: 1990s (?)
Source: postcard sold by PGPT

One of the ways the Trust tried to raise money was by printing and selling postcards. Their first publications in the 1980s were of old sepia photographs: this example comes from the second batch, when improvements could be illustrated. Thus the fountain has been cleared, repaired and the basin filled with water, flower beds have been cut into the lawn, and the bed along the edge of the Palm house lawn has been planted.

Date 1992
Source photograph by volunteer

Three young volunteers are shown uncovering one of the many drains alongside the path in the garden. It is notable that neither the flower bed along the edge of the Palm house lawn nor the round bed have yet been restored.

Date: 1992 reproduction of 1857 date plaque
Source: photograph by volunteer

This pedestal from the wall surrounding the fountain basin has yet another window frame by Gunton Bros, different from those in PGPT356 and 357. See PGPT186 for information about the reproduction date plaque.

Date: c1989
Source: photograph by volunteer

This photograph shows work in progress on the Italian terrace. The eastern section of the balustrade has been restored, the western has yet to be tackled. There are no urns on the upper pedestals and the summerhouse lies in the future.

Date: 1997
Source: photograph by volunteer

The family tomb in Earlham cemetery was built in 1862 when Joseph Gray (cf PGPT158) died. His inscription, on the right, tells us that he ‘lived in the faith of Jesus Christ for upwards of fifty years’, a reminder that he was a minister at the Pottergate St Baptist chapel, like his son-in-law Henry Trevor after him. Other family members buried here include Henry Trevor himself, Joseph’s grandson John Joseph Gray Page, another grandson and great-granddaughter.

By 1997 the tomb was in a state of dereliction and Bruce Adam, chairman of the Trust, raised the money from Henry Trevor’s descendants and others to restore it to commemorate the centenary of Henry Trevor’s death. Lead letters were replaced, some scattered railings retrieved from under bushes, others recast and the stone cleaned. Since this photograph was taken, a plaque reminds visitors that Henry Trevor created the Plantation Garden.

Date: 1998
Source: photograph by volunteer

In 1998 the Norwich Society was celebrating its 75th anniversary and invited suggestions for projects to commemorate the occasion. Fortunately for the PGPT, the restoration of a bridge had been one of the Society’s original projects, and so it was agreed that the Society would bear half the expense of restoring our bridge.

Allan Sewell, a local architect who had been involved in the Trust from its early days, designed the bridge after close study of the 1893 map, the site and the few existing photographs (cfPGPT373/4). He was pleased to find, once building was under way, that the builders uncovered the original bases of the bridge just where he had placed them.


PGPT312 shows the view from the bridge in 1998 – compare with the 1897 view PGPT001.

Date: 1999
Source: photograph by volunteer

The caption explains that a trench was dug for the pipes and cables needed and required to supply the south end of the garden with water and electricity, both often for events such as parties and weddings held in marquees on the lawn. Although this was for a time a profitable source of income, it did result in some damage to the flower beds and grass, and rarely happens now.

Date: 2003

This retaining wall in the south-east corner of the lower lawn had largely collapsed by 1980, when the garden was ‘discovered’ (cf PGPT252). Restoration was begun here in 2003, by Michael Herring (PGPT253), a builder who had done a lot of work on traditional buildings.The lower parts of this wall were still in situ, so the plan was clear, and for materials he had plenty of the original bricks and flints which he bound with an old-fashioned mortar, using a natural lime mix to give an authentic look. As for the design, as he said himself, ‘the best guide is the other walls, with their mixture of flints and plain and fancy bricks, so I’ve imitated the 19th century craftsmen.’ He ‘worked out a pattern, and then had a consultation with Bruce and Sheila Adam……we kept trying out different ideas until we got there.’ (Ex Fonte no 23 2003).

Date: July 2004
Source: photograph by volunteer

Many of the original steps at the top of the flight up to the Italian terrace had become worn and a possible hazard for the public, so in 2004 new ‘Mooncrete’ steps were used to replace the damaged ones, though care was taken to retain or re-use the originals where possible.

In the background can be seen the restored summerhouse, and the pedestal decorated with pebble flints and Gunton Bros ‘fancy’ bricks (cf PGPT354/5).

Date: June 2004
Source: photograph by volunteer

The photograph shows the recreated rustic summerhouse (cf PGPT114) at the top of the Italian terrace steps. At this date the heather roof is still in reasonable condition. Clearly visible are the ‘swans’ decorating the front panels, inspired by the panels surviving from Henry Trevor’s original summerhouse (PGPT331).

Date: 2004
Source: photograph by volunteer

This was one of the several successful fetes held in the 1990s and early 2000s to raise funds. Among the popular ‘Victorian’ attractions were Punch and Judy, barrel organs etc.

Of interest: the restored pillar on the left, part of the collapsed retaining wall which had been rebuilt using materials found in the garden (cf PGPT368): the tree fern beyond it, a gift from a visitor (PGPT100): the recreated summerhouse at the top of the steps (PGPT135). The retaining wall on the west has not yet been restored.

PGPT105 and 109
Date: April 2006
Source: photograph by volunteer

The ‘Gothic’ alcove before restoration (cf PGPT091). These ruins helped to indicate the original design.

The path behind runs from the southern end of the main lawn to the eastern end of the Rustic bridge. A pioneer volunteer remembers his pleasure at ‘discovering’ this path in the early days of restoration. it had been ‘lost’ amid the overgrown shrubs.

Date: September 2006
Source: photograph by volunteer

This fountain, probably made by Doulton, seems to have been introduced into the Plantation garden by George Green (PGPT087) in the 1920s. It is very similar to the one which appears in the photograph of the conservatory of Carrow house (PGPT066).

It appears on the lawn of the Plantation house in photographs from the 1940s and 1950s, when a gardener (PGPT014) and various midwives (e.g.PGPT141) chose it as a background for their photographs. It was still in that position when the Trust took over the garden in 1980, although the upper tier was missing (cf PGPT189). Now (2013) the pieces are kept in storage.

Ruins in this spot (cf PGPT109) suggested the ‘Gothic’ alcove which the Trust decided to reconstruct in 2007, using original material found in the garden. It is an example of the ‘medievalising’ taste of Henry Trevor, shown also in many of the garden’s walls. For practical reasons it was built lower than the ivy covered remains that appear in the background of PGPT063.

The work of restoring the ‘Gothic’ alcove using materials found in the garden, was undertaken by the building firm W.S. Lusher & Sons. See also PGPT103,105,130, and Guide book 2009 p34. All the builders who have worked on restoration in the garden have become enthusiastic about the unusual designs and materials they have been arranging, and interested in the thinking of the original builders.



PGPT211 and PGPT103
Date: 2007
Source: photographs by volunteer

Date: August 2007
Source: photograph by volunteer

On the O.S. map of 1883, flights of steps were marked clearly on the slopes in many parts of the garden, though by 1980 many had almost disappeared. This photograph shows work on the reconstruction of steps leading from the wide space at the top of the Italian terrace to the path running round the upper boundary of the garden. The completed work can be seen in PGPT247.

PGPT117 and 118
Date : September 2007
Source: photograph by volunteer

The shelter in the yard under construction. The completed shelter can be seen in PGPT120.

Date: 1898
Source: Boulton & Paul catalogue

When the Trust decided to build a shelter in the entrance yard of the garden (originally the site of glasshouses and fruit stores) the Boulton & Paul catalogue was consulted for design ideas, since Henry Trevor had used their design for his Palm House. This drawing, no. 653 in the catalogue, provided a suitable model (cf PGPT401).

Date: October 2007
Source: photograph by volunteer

The oak shelter finished! (cf PGPT117/8). Also visible is the Victorian post box used as an ‘honesty box’ for entrance fees when no volunteers are present (cf PGPT084).

Date: 2007
Source: Richard Horne

This is the design for the shelter drawn by Richard Horne, the craftsman who built it (PGPT094). The completed shelter is shown in PGPT121.

Date: October 2007
Source: photograph by volunteer
View from above of the newly finished shelter (cf PGPT120)

The rustic bridge, restored in 1998, is also visible to the right (cf PGPT402).

Date: July 2007
Source: photograph by volunteer

This view to the Italian terrace shows both the restored wall on the east (left hand) side of the lawn and the collapse of the wall on the west (right hand) side of the lawn. PGPT092 shows reconstruction of the latter underway.

Date : July 2007
Source: photograph by volunteer

In 1980 the ruins of a thatched summerhouse (PGPT255) were found on the lawn beside the Beeches. No such structure was shown in that position on the 1883 O.S. map. However, the map did show a structure with measurements corresponding to the remaining sections at the top of the terrace at the south end, and it was clear that a summerhouse in this position would look most fitting.

This prompted the Trust in 2002 to raise funds to recreate a summerhouse there, using the evidence of a photograph of 1886 (PGPT415) and the remaining fragments. A small surviving piece of the roof showed that it had been made of heather, and so the reconstruction was roofed with heather. Unfortunately this did not prove successful: it is possible to see in this picture the deterioration of the heather thatched roof which led to reroofing in Norfolk reed in 2008 (cf PGPT090).

Date: 2008
Source: photograph by volunteer

This photograph was taken from a high viewpoint at the south end of the garden, at the top of the Italian terrace, looking across the thatched roof of the summerhouse past the balustrade on to the main lawn.

When the summerhouse was reconstructed in 2003 (cf PGPT135) it was roofed with heather like the original. Unfortunately this did not prove successful under the canopy of the trees, and in 2008 the structure was re-roofed with Norfolk reed. The work is shown in progress here.

Date: April 2008
Source: photograph by volunteer

A view of the restored rustic summerhouse at the top of the Italian terrace, after the roof had been renovated with Norfolk reed (see PGPT114).

Visible on the inside wall is an information board about the summerhouse.

Date: 2008
Source: photograph by volunteer Patrick Halpin

The constitution of the PGPT sets out its aim of restoring the garden, so far as possible, to its 1897 appearance. The 1883 O.S. map (see PGPT407) showed flights of steps on the east bank which had virtually disappeared by 1980. This is an example of the restoration by volunteers of one such ascent, which has added to the pleasure of moving around the garden, especially for young visitors.

In 1994 an accidental slip of the foot led to the discovery of this brick pediment in the bank to the East of the summerhouse at the top of the Italian terrace (see Ex Fonte 14 for a drawing and full report).

It has the date 1880 carved into the brick, almost hidden among the carvings of fruit and foliage, and the letter ‘J’ (?) may be carved in the centre. This is one of the few dated items that appear in the garden, and shows that Henry Trevor was continually changing and adding to his garden.






PGPT134 & 231
Date: October 2008
Source: photographs by volunteer

The retaining wall in the south west corner of the main lawn was already in a state of collapse in 1980. PGPT110 shows its state in July 2007, before restoration began. The Trust decided to rebuild it in 2009, with an inner skin of breeze blocks to give stability as this photograph shows. A facing of original material found in the garden was added, using many of the ‘fancy’ bricks which Henry Trevor had obtained from Gunton Bros for his walls. For the finished restoration see PGPT277.






PGPT092 & 093
Date: 2009
Source: photographs by Douglas Stewart, volunteer

These two photographs show a further stage of the work being carried out in PGPT092/3. The collapsed retaining wall in the south west corner of the main lawn (cf PGPT129) was restored by building an inner skin of breeze blocks, then adding a facing built in ‘Trevoresque’ style using the many fancy bricks which had been gathered from around the garden and stored in the shed since 1980.

As described in PGPT211, all the builders who have worked on restorations have become enthusiastic about examining original walls and adapting ideas from them.






PGPT232 and PGPT233
Date: February 2009
Source: photograph by volunteer

Date: July 2009
Source: photograph by volunteer

On the O.S. 1883 map a flight of steps is shown leading from the south east of the upper terrace to the path which ran around the circumference of the top of the garden. In 2009 work was begun to uncover the remains of the original steps and reconstruct them. This photograph shows the work at an early stage: PGPT247 shows the project completed.

Date: 2009
Source: photograph by volunteer

The 1883 map shows that Henry Trevor’s design included many flights of steps to exploit the different levels of the garden, so as to make interesting walks and give varied views from above on to the colourful flower beds below. Many of these flights have been lost, some have been restored, and some await repair. This flight, east of the rustic summerhouse at the top of the Italian terrace, was rebuilt by Doug Stewart and Graham Pierce. PGPT278 shows an earlier stage of the work.

Date: 20th September 2009
Source: photograph by volunteer

See PGPT235 for the story of how the Trust was able to build a new greenhouse in 2009. The structure is not an exact replica of the original (we have no evidence of its appearance) but it has been built in a ‘Victorian’ style on the site of an original structure. PGPT235 shows the interior in the course of construction, and PGPT245 the exterior.

This photograph was taken when the greenhouse was officially opened by chairman Nick Belfield-Smith.

Date: 2010
Source: plan by Marjorie Wilson

West Bank Planting Plan.

Date: 2010
Source: photograph by volunteer

Preparation for planting.

Date: 2010
Source: photograph by volunteer

Restored access to the upper levels (above and left of the summerhouse).

Date: October 2010
Source: photograph by volunteer

New toolshed / Volunteer Mike.

West bank covering and new planting.




PGPT423 and PGPT 432
Date: May 2011
Source: photograph by volunteer

Date: June 2011
Source: photo by volunteer Cynthia Gibling

This gargoyle was returned to the Garden after spending many years in gardens owned by a descendant of Mr Green. It was reinstated in its original position as shown in June 2011

Date: 1920s
Source: photograph in PGPT archives from Green Family

Mr and Mrs Green are shown posing in the garden (cf PGPT 059) on the steps between the remains of the propagating house on the left and the ‘Window’ (cf PGPT 061) on the right.

Of the other sculptural decorations shown here, only the gargoyle to the right of Mr Green is presently on display in the garden. It was in fact given back to the PGPT in 2011, after spending many years in gardens owned by a descendant of Mr Green.


Date: June 2011
Source: photograph by volunteer

Planter sited in the shelter after restoration.

Date: April 2012
Source: photograph by volunteer

New retaining wall beside the toolshed.

Date: 24th July 2012
Source: photograph by volunteer Cynthia Gibling

The stock plant area has frequently been troubled by fox activity (they like to play with the pots). It is hoped that the trellis fence will deter them.

Date: October 2012
Source: photograph by volunteer Cynthia Gibling

The remains of the original chimney and underground ducting from the boiler house (which had been under the palm house) are rediscovered, recorded and reburied. The chimney was positioned about 20 metres away from the palm house so that smoke did not spoil the air in the garden.

Date: April 2013
Source: photograph by Marjorie Wilson

A new shed is installed. This shed replaced one less than half the size and was becoming very difficult for volunteers to prepare Sunday teas, wash up and store all the notice boards and other items including a replica Victorian wheelbarrow.

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