Jellicoe Water Gardens
In 1957 Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, one of the greatest 20th century landscape architects, was asked to design a new town centre park, transforming an area of orchards, watercress beds and ironworks. Jellicoe based his design on a serpent, channelling the River Gade to bring visitors closer to water and nature. His ideas were influenced by the experimental artist Paul Klee and the role of the sub-conscious. Opened in 1962, the Gardens are a rare post-war Modernist landscape and one of Jellicoe’s most intact schemes.
Fifty years after their completion, the Water Gardens were showing their age. In 2017, the Gardens reopened following a restoration project to return them to their former glory, funded by a £2.4 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund, topped up by an investment of more than £1 million from ourselves The restoration reinstated Jellicoe’s original design and added new features making the Gardens once again an outstanding public space.
The Water Gardens achieved a Civic Trust Award in 1965 and joined English Heritage's Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in 2010 as an important example of 20th century urban design. Following the restoration, the Gardens received the Heritage and Conservation Landscape Institute Award in 2017 for “the preservation and comprehensive restoration of a significant mid-20th century design".
How to find us
The Water Gardens are located in Hemel Hempstead Town Centre, HP1 1BS. See a Map of the Water Gardens (PDF 2MB).
- By train: A 25-minute walk from Hemel Hempstead train station.
- By bus: The nearest bus stop is in Marlowes.
- By car: Three miles from Junction 8 of the M1.
- Parking: Water Gardens North Car Park, HP1 1EF. Water Gardens South Car Park, HP1 1EF. Moor End Car Park, HP1 1BT.
Features of the Water Gardens
Friends of Jellicoe Water Gardens
The Friends of the Jellicoe Water Gardens are an enthusiastic group of volunteers who are dedicated to celebrating this gem in the centre of Hemel Hempstead. Their aim is to encourage the use and enjoyment of the Water Gardens by local people and visitors and develop and maintain a safe, beautiful and wildlife rich environment.
The Friends regularly host events, attend training sessions and enjoy days out. Find out what the Friends have been up to and what's planned for the future by visiting their Facebook page. For more information or to join the group (all ages welcome), please visit the Friends of Jellicoe Water Gardens website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images from the Water Gardens