Treasures of the future buried in Water Gardens

Pupils from South Hill Primary School in Hemel Hempstead with their teacher Mr BraithwaiteX now marks the spot in Hemel Hempstead’s Jellicoe Water Gardens – thanks to ‘treasure’ hidden by local school children. 

The school council from South Hill Primary School (shown with their teacher Mr Braithwaite) met representatives from the Friends of the Jellicoe Water Gardens and Dacorum Borough Council last week (Thursday 1 December) to bury a time capsule on one of the islands on the River Gade.

Created to mark the restoration of the historic Gardens, the capsule will be opened up in 25 years’ time. It contains items including a diary entry detailing the day in the life of a pupil, a factsheet about the town, an article about local Olympic gymnast Max Whitlock, photos of the school, coins pulled out of the silt during the restoration and a film about the capsule’s origins, created by the Hemel Hempstead Movie Makers.

Holly, a pupil from South Hill, said: “I like making history and leaving a bit of our school here in these beautiful gardens. Our time capsule will be opened when I’m an adult and I think life will be very different then.”

Clare Richardson, Chair of the Friends of the Jellicoe Water Gardens, added: “The restoration of the Water Gardens carried out by Dacorum Borough Council has been all about the local community – making sure as many people as possible can access and discover them. The time capsule creates a very personal connection with South Hill Primary and it’s fascinating to wonder what they, the Gardens and Hemel itself will be like in 25 years’ time. The restoration certainly means that Jellicoe’s legacy will now be enjoyed by future generations.”

Workmen burying the time capsule in the Water Gardens

The Friends are supporting us in returning Hemel’s much-loved urban oasis to its former glory. The project is being funded by a £2.4 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund, which we are topping up with an investment of more than £1 million.

Councillor Graham Sutton, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regeneration, explains: “The new-look Water Gardens are nearly complete, and we’re making sure that each final stage of restoration is finished to the highest standard. Next spring the new growth will be spectacular – and the icing on the cake of our Hemel Evolution plans.”

Trellis arches have been installed in the Flower Garden, while the new Japanese maples on the islands put on a spectacular show during autumn. The new play area and the Friends’ building are well under way, grass verges have now been turfed and new surfacing of the paths is also nearly complete.

For more information, visit our Jellicoe Water Gardens' page.