Cleary Gardens

blue1CLEARY GARDENS, SET BACK FROM THE BUSY THOROUGHFARE OF QUEEN VICTORIA STREET IS A WELL HIDDEN GEM OF GREEN SPACE WHICH NOT ONLY HAS SHAPE AND COLOUR, BUT IS ON DIFFERENT LEVELS WHICH BRINGS IN A ADDED DIMENSION AND MAKES THE GARDEN FUN AS ONE DOES NOT KNOW WHAT ONE IS ABOUT TO DISCOVER. A SERIES OF STEPS LEADING TO EACH LEVEL, GIVES AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE AS ONE MOVES FROM ONE LEVEL TO THE NEXT.

THE HISTORY OF THE GARDEN GOES BACK TO ROMAN TIMES FROM THE ARRIVAL OF THE ROMANS IN AD 43 UP TO THE PRESENT DAY.

FROM ABOUT 1260 IT WAS KNOWN AS HUGGIN HILL WHERE  HOGS WERE KEPT.

ON THE LOWER LEVEL PRE 1939  STOOD A PRINTING WORKS WHICH ON THE WORST NIGHT OF THE BLITZ IN WORLD WAR II ON 29TH DECEMBER 1940 TOOK A DIRECT HIT WHICH TOTALLY DESTROYED THE BUILDING. AS IS OFTEN THE CASE OUT OF A DISASTER CAME SOME GOOD. UNDER THE RUINS THE SITE OF THE LARGEST ROMAN BATH HOUSE IN BRITAIN WAS DISCOVERED. YOU CAN IMAGINE THE ROMANS ENJOYING THIS BATH HOUSE THAT WAS SO NEAR THE ROMAN GENERAL’S PALACE .THIS HAS NOW BEEN COVERED UP BUT ONE CAN SEE SOME OF THE ROMAN STONES BEHIND THE BEECH HEDGE  AT THE BACK OF THE LOWER LEVEL.

THIS SECTION OF THE CITY WAS THE SITE BELONGING TO THE VINTNERS LIVERY COMPANY AND WAS THE CENTRE OF THE MEDIEVAL WINE TRADE WHERE WINE ARRIVED FROM EUROPE AND WAS STORED. THE BANKS  OF THE  THAMES WERE MUCH CLOSER  TO THE SITE BEFORE JOSEPH BAZELGETTE NARROWED THE RIVER .

A MEMBER OF THE CORDWAINERS COMPANY, JOSEPH BRANDIS,  CREATED THE ORIGINAL GARDEN ON THE BOMB SITE. HE COLLECTED MUD FROM THE  RIVER BANK AND ALSO BROUGHT SOIL FROM HIS WALTHAMSTOW GARDEN AND BEGAN TO MAKE A GARDEN IN THE BOMB SITE. IT CAUSED SO MUCH COMMENT THAT THE QUEEN MOTHER VISITED  THE GARDEN ON 29TH JULY 1949.

A PLAQUE WAS PUT UP IN THE NAME OF JOSEPH BRANDIS BUT THE GARDENS WERE NAMED AFTER FRED CLEARY WHO WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE METROPOLITAN  PUBLIC GARDENS ASSOCIATION  AND HE WAS A KEEN ADVOCATE FOR OPEN SPACES IN THE CITY OF LONDON.

THE BOMB SITE, BEFORE IT WAS CLEARED, WAS COVERED IN BUDDLEIA DAVIDII KNOWN AS”THE BOMB SITE BUSH “ WHICH IS SELF SOWN. THE FLOWERS ARE A DISTINCTIVE PURPLE AND  ATTRACTS BUTTERFLIES. IT IS NAMED AFTER THE REV ADAM BUDDLE  1660- 1715

THE GARDEN WAS RE LANDSCAPED IN 1985-88 WITH DESIGN FEATURES INCLUDING PERGOLAS AND THE INTRODUCTION OF THE DIFFERENT LEVELS, SOME PAVED WITH SEATING AND A LITTLE SLOPING LAWN AT THE BOTTOM AREA.

IN 2007 THE WHOLE GARDEN UNDERWENT ANOTHER MAJOR REFURBISHMENT UNDER THE LOIRE VALLEY LEGACY GARDEN SCHEME WHICH INCLUDED; PLANTING VINES, AROMATIC SHRUBS, FLOWERING PLANTS AND CLIMBERS. THE VINES ARE A REMINDER  OF THE VINTNERS LIVERY COMPANY  THE OWNERS OF THE SPACE IN MEDIEVAL TIMES.

 

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