News

Countess of Verulam opens restored Water Gardens


Countess of Verulam receiving flowers from a child

The historic Jellicoe Water Gardens have been officially opened at our Big Garden Party.

The free family event on Saturday 22 July celebrated the restoration project of the much-loved Hemel Hempstead landmark, which was originally completed by landscape designer Geoffrey Jellicoe in 1962.

The day began with an official opening by The Countess of Verulam, Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and the Mayor of Dacorum, David Collins.

Then, the popular Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted Rock Choir took to their stage along the waterfront and sang a number of classic songs through the rain showers.

Children enjoyed the entertainment, including storytelling, face painting and arts and crafts and joined in activities at the new Friends’ Community building, including pond dipping and miniature garden making.

The lucky winners of the miniature garden competition were Lottie Clarke, in the 16 years and over category, Daisy Oblein in the up to 15 years category, and Adam El-Koni, in the up to eight years category.

Cllr Graham Sutton, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regeneration, said: “This was a wonderful event to mark the completion of this historic community project.

“So much hard work has gone into restoring this much-loved part of the town centre – there aren’t many places in the country where you can combine a shopping trip with a visit to a Historic England-registered urban oasis. We are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund/Big Lottery Fund who made the restoration possible.

“We would also like to say a huge thank you to the Friends of the Jellicoe Water Gardens, whose dedication and help has helped to return the gardens back to their former glory.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund contributed more than £2.4million, with Dacorum Borough Council providing more than £1million.

The Big Garden Party marks the start of a week-long Summer Festival in partnership with Riverside and Marlowes shopping centres.