The Fountain

Source: negative donated by J.F.C. Mills
This negative is one of a pair donated by Mr Mills. The other (PGPT015) sets the date for the pair. From this angle the glasshouse beside the fountain can be seen more clearly than in other photographs, and the complicated pattern of flower beds on the upper lawn is clear too.
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.
This view was taken looking South from the rustic bridge (254, 281, 283, 304, 373?, 374, 402). 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, ‘Italian’ balustrades and terraces() can be seen at the far end, and the 1871 Palm House and Winter Garden() is visible at the right.

H.T’s gardening style shows emphasis on carpet bedding in the 5 flower beds(), with ‘exotics’ as ‘dot’ plants along the edge of the lawn and slopes planted with trees.

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.
Date suggested 1920s.
Source of original unknown. .
The date on the back of this postcard (cf PGPT032) was probably based on the size of the trees along the West wall. Interesting features are the rustic fence in the lower left hand corner, the steps on the West bank, the urns on the pedestals around the fountain and the eagles(?) on top of the columns in front of the propagating house.


Date: unknown
Source: Green family album

This view has been taken from the rustic bridge, looking South (cf PGPT001) It appears to be a companion photograph to PGPT006. It is notable that the lawn and main path have been grassed over: the trangles of ivy on the terrace walls (cf 001) have been replaced by ivy ‘columns’, and the elaborate pattern of the flowerbeds in the foreground are similar to those in the 1930s photograph (PGPT )


Date: 1920s
Source: Green family album

This is a companion photograph to PGPT017. It is notable that the Palm House has been demolished, and probably a rose garden has replaced it. The ivy on the supporting wall is overgrown (cf PGPT001) as is the bank in front of it. There are at least 3 jets at the top of the fountain.

The gardens immediately around the house look well-cared for, and formal beds and lawns still exist on the North of the house. Several climbing plants grow on the walls.

The photograph was taken from an upper path on the East bank of the garden.


Date: c.1927
Source: family album of the Page family (cf PGPT016)
This photograph was taken by Brian Page, grandson of John Joseph Gray Page who was the eldest stepson of Henry Trevor. Bettine Page produced it for the PGPT.

This view was taken from the rustic bridge and can be compared with 001. By this time the Palm House has been demolished and its site turned into a rose garden.

Date: c.1930
Source: see right
This photograph was given to the Trust by Kathleen Barnard, great grand-daughter of Henry Trevor. It was taken by her father, Stanley Trevor, who was one of the two grandsons to whom Henry Trevor left the residue of his estate.
Date: 1930s
Source: as PGPT151/4
This photograph (label ‘View of Garden’) must have been taken from the rustic bridge, looking South. The Palm House has been demolished and replaced by a rose garden(?). In the foreground a framework can just be seen beneath climbing plants: was this the remains of the glazed structure (entrance to the underground chamber for the boiler) just visible to the right in PGPT002?
Date: 1947-50
Source: Photograph donated by Mrs Dalziel

Mrs Dalziel was a trainee midwife and she donated photographs of herself and her contemporaries after she visited the garden in September 1990 from her home in the Wirral.


Date: 1956
Source: Photograph donated by Mrs High, trainee midwife
George Green’s death in 1929 marked the end of the use of the Plantation as a private house. In the following decades it was used first as a private clinic, and then as a hostel for midwives in training. Fortunately some of them took photographs in their leisure moments (few and far between according to some of the accounts they have given of their life at the time!) and Mrs High donated several to the PG archive.

The original date stone is visible here (see PGPT137)

Date: 1980s
Source: photograph by volunteer Allan Sewell
In Ex Fonte (the Garden journal) no 1, 1980, there is a description of the state of the fountain and what needed to be done. This photograph illustrates the description: ‘At a first glance the fountain appeared, almost more than anything else in the garden, to be in imminent danger of collapse. Inspection by the builder member who is in charge of the work on the fountain, however provided a reassurance that, in fact, the basic and structural parts of the fountasin are in a remarkably sound condition and the fears that the fountain is leaning to one side are groundless.’

Well done Henry Trevor! and well done the early volunteers who quickly set to work stabilising and restoring this structure which was immediately adopted as the icon for the PGPT.

Date: 1980
Source: photograph by volunteer, probably Allan Sewell
This image of the fountain basin crumbling and overgrown with young saplings can be contrasted with PGPT199 after the efforts of volunteers had restored it.

The rainwater collected in the bottom of the basin explains how generations of frogs had managed to breed there.

Date: Early 1980s
Source: Photgraph by Allan Sewell, a 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: as PGPT201

Another view of the ruinous state of the fountain in 1980

Date: 1980
Source: Photograph by volunteer

For other pictures of the fountain in the early 1980s see PGPT085,181,201/2. This view has been taken looking West, so the Plantation house can be seen top left through the overgrown saplings.

Date: 1980s
Source: photograph by volunteer

This photograph of the upper lawn and its retaining wall (compare PGPT053 12 years later) shows what a task lay ahead for the early volunteers. Both the east and west banks, and the terrace at the south end, were completely overgrown.

These photographs, taken during the restoration of the fountain, give details of its construction and workings which are not usually seen! See Ex Fonte no.12 1991 for John Watson’s description of this structure

Date: 1980s
Source: photograph by volunteer (probably John Watson)

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 sycamores, ivies etc have been removed, the brickwork in the basin looks trim, and the contrast with PGPT181 shows how much work has been done.

Date: 1980s
Source: photograph by volunteer

Work on restoring the fountain continued throughout the 1980s. As in PGPT182, the brickwork of the basin is exposed and it has not yet been lined.

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

John Watson, shown here at work on the fountain, became an active member of the PGPT from its early days. He was Chairman 1983-1993 and was made Honorary President in 2003. Bruce Adam (Chairman 2000- 2007) wrote about John in Ex Fonte no.23 2003 and Allan Sewell wrote an obituary in the following issue.

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 by volunteer

This appears to show preparations for an event such as the one shown on the back cover of Ex Fonte no.5 1984 or no.9 1988 when a party was held with members dressed in Victorian costume.

Date: c1990
Source: photograph by volunteer, probably Allan Sewell

The first restoration of the fountain has brought it back to life. It is now ready for the invasion of frogs which congregate every March creating a frog carpet around the surrounding paths and making sure of the next generation.

Date: 1990
Source: photograph by volunteer

This photograph appeared on the back cover of Ex Fonte no.12 1991, and was taken during an open Day in September 1990. At that time the garden was not open to the public on a daily basis; visits had to be on a Sunday, on an Open Day (spring and late summer) when teas were provided, as here, or by booking a tour at a pre-arranged time.

The fountain can be seen working. On p3 it says that visitors were ‘able to work the fountain by a coin in the slot mechanism’. That does not seem to have become a regular feature!

Date: 1990
Source: photograph by volunteer

Like PGPT183, this photograph appeared on the back cover of Ex Fonte no.12 1991 and probably shows one of the jollities of an Open Day.

Date: 1990
Source: photograph by Allan Sewell, volunteer

This photograph of the top of the fountain seems to be one of a series marking the progress of work on the fountain. An article in Ex Fonte no.12 1991 p9 describes the repairs made to the top and installation of a pump.

PGPT186 and PGPT367
Date: 1992
Source: photograph by volunteer

The plaque showing the date of construction of the fountain had disappeared by 1980 when restoration began. There were, however, several photographs which showed the original (seePGPT137,139,188) and so it was possible to have a reproduction made with the date 1857 (1 year after the Plantation house had been built) copied in the original style, with the inscription added ‘ Stone 1992 replaced fountain restored’.


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 the1980s 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.

PGPT301 and 303
Date: 1998
Source: photograph by volunteer

PGPT303 was one of the early photographs taken from the restored rustic bridge (see PGPT304). It was very pleasing to be able to reproduce a view which had been shown in the 1897 photograph (PGPT001) but which had not been available since the bridge collapsed in the 1940s.

Date 21st July 2005
Source Volunteer photograph

The Plantation Garden Preservation Trust (PGPT) was formed in1980 with the purpose of restoring the garden, then in a ruinous state, to its appearance in 1897. The planting scheme shown here was part of the celebration, as was an exhibition at the Assembly House, a fete, a special edition of Ex Fonte etc.

Date: 2007
Source: Photograph by volunteer

In the 1990s and early 21c a summer fete was held in July every year to raise funds for the PGPT. Bunting and flags were used around the garden as decoration. Hanging the flags on the fountain was one of the more hazardous tasks!

PGPT104, 393, 394
Date: 2001-2004
Source: Photographs by volunteer

This photograph of the fountain shows how its plan ressembles an irregular triangle. The dog/lion faces repeated around the frieze are probably from Gunton Bros stock of fancy bricks, and perhaps the brick with the man’s face is from the same source. Visitors like to think this is a portrait of Henry Trevor himself! They also often think that the material used is carved stone, but it is actually moulded bricks made by Gunton Bros.

Date: October 2007
Source: Photograph by volunteer

The purpose of the net placed over the fountain each autumn is twofold: to stop leaves falling into the water to the detriment of the fish, and to prevent a repetition of the occasion when a heron ate all the fish! In 2007 an old torn net was replaced with this smart new one, made by Cynthia and John Gibling, who had experience of boatbuilding.

Date: 10th July 2007
Source: Photograph by volunteer

The date stone, carved with the date 1857, can be seen clearly set into the pedestal facing us in this photograph. It was removed and lost in the 1960s/70s and restored in …….using the evidence seen in PGPT137, 139. (The date of the restoration is also inscribed on the stone).

The fountain (Guide book ….) was built by Henry Trevor in the year after he finished his house. 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 – 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.

Thus this structure combines the attractions of a ruin, a fountain, a grotto, a fish pond and a lily pond.

Date: 2009
Source: Photo by Alex Wilson


Date: 2008
Source: photograph by Patrick Halpin

The first ‘History and Guide’, by Sheila Adam, with photographs by Sarah Cocke, was published in 1998. Ten years later, when the restoration had advanced considerably, it was time for a 2nd edition, and Patrick Halpin volunteered to take the additional photographs that were needed. This is one of the many attractive photographs that he took.

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