Shipley Park - Miller-Mundy Memories
w/e 02 September 2007
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Miller-Mundy Memories Title Panel

Part 9 - Gardens And Glass

The Folly - Inside ViewAlthough I've titled this, the ninth part, "Gardens and Glass" there is little of either to be seen in the images but as we complete the walk around the top of Shipley Hill we reach the part of the Miller-Mundy estate that was covered by both. We resume our walk though at the Folly (left). We had reached this point in Part 8 and now continue through the wood heading for a clearing in the trees (right).
Beech Walk

The path swings to the right and it transpires that the clearing is actually an avenue between the stumps of a number of felled beech trees. Beech Walk as it is known, would have been a wonderful sight in its prime but the trees have been felled for safety reasons as the notice below, photographed on a notice board elsewhere in Shipley Park, explains. The Gardens House is over to the left behind the remaining trees but it is difficult to catch even a glimpse of it from Beech Walk. We should get a better view of the house in Part 10.

This is the notice about the beech trees on Shipley Hill and the reasons why many have been felled. The avenue of trees on Beech Walk was planted about 1772 and formed the entrance to the former walled garden.
Walled Garden Site

Garden WallEmerging from the wood onto Beech Walk, we see a large expanse of grass to the right. This was the area of the walled garden shown in the artist's impression below. Development of the grounds immediately adjacent to the Hall was started in 1772 by a former head gardener of Kedleston Hall, William Eames. Extensive development of the gardens was designed in 1788 by Sir Roger Newdigate, the architect husband of Hester Miller-Mundy and from 1878 up until 1920, the gardens were amongst the finest in England. A distant wall in the image above marks the extent of the formal gardens and is seen much closer in this image left.

Artist's Impression.
Beech Tree Stump

The head gardener for the first period of this excellence (1881-1899) was William Elphinstone formerly of Windsor Castle. He lived in the Gardens House and his jurisdiction extended over the walled garden, the glass hothouse corridor that ran from the main body of the Hall to twenty-one greenhouses, a kitchen garden and the surrounding parkland that contained many specimen trees and shrubs. The conservatory at that time held an impressive collection of exotic fruit and flowers including grapes, nectarines, figs and oranges. This view as well as showing the remains of one of the beech trees, also shows more of the walled garden site to the right and where some of those twenty one greenhouses would have stood to the left.

The greenhouses stood on the piece of land seen here between the back of the Hall and the Water Tower. From 1900 until 1909 the head gardener's position was filled by John Tallack who created a new kitchen and herb garden and added the rose and clematis covered pergolas in the walled garden. He also created a lily pond near to the tennis court and installed a fountain and added wrought iron gates to the gardens that now stretched to over thirty acres. John Tallack was an author writing the "Book of the Greenhouse" which was published in a series of handbooks on practical gardening and he also wrote a weekly series on the "Flower Garden" for the Gardeners Chronicle, which at the beginning of the last century would have been equivalent to today's television programme "Gardeners' World". His tenure in charge of the Shipley gardens though came to a sad end when he took his own life whilst suffering from an incurable disease.
Water Tower

All the plants in the gardens would of course have needed a good supply of water but this was not a problem for Staircase Towerthe Water Tower that overlooked the greenhouses held 30,000 gallons and Track back to the Hallsupplied not only the Hall and the nearby Home Farm but also the village of Shipley too. Like other buildings on the estate it bore the family crest of the spotted wolf but was converted into a private residence - with added windows - in the 1980s. The smaller adjoining tower on the left was built in the early 1990s to act as a 64 step staircase. Passing by the far side of the tower as seen in the image above our route now takes us down a track (right) back towards the Hall site to complete our walk around the hilltop.
Doubling Back

The Hall Disabled Car ParkThe track leads us to the courtyard at the rear of the Hall now used as a car park for disabled drivers that we first saw back in Part 4 but this time we will not enter the car park unless of course we wish to recap on some of the salient points about the estate and the Miller-Mundy family. The double sided board in the car park is only a short detour and it contains maps, floor plans, photographs and a wealth of other information. The board contains much of the information about the gardens that I've included on this page but it is a sad fact that, in spite of today's pleasant surroundings, very little of their magnificence remains to be seen.

Doubling back to begin the homeward trek back to the Shipley Country Park Visitor Centre we must now start our descent of Shipley Hill by retracing our steps down the track to the right in the main picture above, but shortly we will turn left instead of proceeding back to Coach Road and pass through Home Farm and it is there that we will resume in Part 10 as we look for some more Miller-Mundy memories.

In the next part, we will explore the area around Home Farm, The Gardens and may even get to Derby Lodge.

Back to Part 8 - Ha-Ha, It's A Folly ------ Forward to Part 10 - Home From Home
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