Rare survivals of Victorian gardens once used by townsfolk living above their business to escape from the crowded town. Discover how owners came here after work or on Sundays to tend their plots or to relax…
Take a trip to these magical hidden gardens! Hill Close Gardens are rare survivals of Victorian gardens once used by trades folk living above their businesses in Warwick to escape from the crowded town.
The gardens are a unique example of the once-common Victorian detached pleasure garden – distinctly different from allotments – with their characteristic summer houses, hedge lines, pathways and orchards.
These historically significant plots were cultivated for both pleasure and production with tiny ornamental beds, small lawns as well as fruit and vegetables.
Gardens Out of Town…
In Queen Victoria’s day, the rich rode in carriages and the poor scraped a living as labourers or charwomen. In between were the shop-keepers and skilled artisans; independent tradesmen who worked hard to keep their families fed, clothed and educated. If trade was good, they prospered. If it was not, they risked bankruptcy and the workhouse.
A town tradesman owned or rented premises and his family lived above the shop. His backyard was filled with a workshop, wash-house, privy and stable, leaving no room for a kitchen garden. If he wanted to cultivate fruit, vegetables and flowers, he looked for a plot to rent outside the town. Such plots were commonly found on the edges of crowded towns, before suburban development covered them.
By the 19th century, these gardens were to be found around most market towns and cities. They are now called ‘detached gardens’, as they have no house attached to them.
In most places, such gardens were rented, though some, like Hill Close, came to be owned by the occupants. People expected to be there for many years and invested in buildings, path edgings and fruit trees, which would be sold on from one tenant to the next.