Hull's forgotten gardens
Hull’s forgotten gardens
The gardens of Hull played an important role in the cultural and social life of the town in years gone by. Today such areas are long forgotten, but their existence is still of great interest to many people who now live in streets which stand where once flowers grew and people strolled among trees and carefully manicured lawns.
Here we take a look back at two areas of Central Hull where gardens once graced the landscape – a very different vista to that of today. The article was written by former Hull newspaper editor Arthur Tidman.
The original Botanic Gardens were situated at the far end of what is now Linnaeus Street and “backed up” to Hessle Road.
After Liverpool they were the pioneers of similar institutions and for many years retained their high character for scientific excellence and were the pride of Mr JC Niven, the curator, who was imported from Kew Gardens.
He had nearly a thousand different kinds of alpine plants and thousands of duplicates for exchange with other collections.
The gardens were about six acres in extent well surrounded by a belt of plantation which, during the summer “gives a perfectly secluded character to this delightful retreat, but owing to its close proximity to the town, the evergreen shrubs suffer more and more every year.”
It is on record that on Sundays select parties of visitors attended the gardens and passed many pleasant hours “beneath an old oak listening to the warble of birds and enjoying the cool shades.”
The Linnaeus Street gardens were opened on June 3 1812 and closed in 1877.
In July 1880 the new Botanic Gardens “near the cemetery gates” arose on land purchased for the North Eastern Railway Company.
They had “a noble range of glasshouses, a handsome fountain, a scientifically arranged department for students in advanced botany and plants for exchange with institutions at home and abroad.
The gardens ultimately provided an admirable site for Hymer’s College.
The Zoological Gardens on the east side of Spring Bank – the location is now indicated by Peel Street and Hutt Street – covered seven acres in a rectangle. South of the gardens was vacant land with the beginning of Morpeth Street and Freehold Street abutting in the rear. The gardens were purely for pleasure and had no educational objective.
In the summer galas and pageants were held every week. The zoo which stood on the site was said to have the finest Bengal tiger in captivity.
Firework displays were by John Seaman “who kept an hotel near the gardens” – the Polar Bear which then stood at No 10 Carlton Terrace, Spring Bank. He seems to have been superintendent of the gardens for a time and to have owned a private museum adjoining the Polar Bear when it was moved to the corner of Derringham Street and Spring Bank.
The Inn and the museum were destroyed by fire on August 9 1865.
The gardens were closed in 1862.
Apart from the Botanic and Zoological Gardens there were numerous tea gardens within easy walking distance of the Old Town. Simpson’s Brazil Gardens on Hessle Road where Wellsted Street now stands, were regarded as the top spot in Hull. Galas and alfresco fetes were held there the charge for admittance being 6d or 1s for which you could eat as much fruit as you liked.
On Anlaby Road were the Wellington tea gardens at the corner of Day Street and Oxtoby’s Gardens at the corner of Fountain Street.
There were also the Beetonville Pleasure Gardens in Walton Street which were open on specified days of the week for dancing and trapeze practice.
Written by The Editor - 06/12/2010 13:05:06
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