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Heritage Open Days – exhibition - Venue: The Hub / Table 8
Sun 19th September 2021: 1100 - 1600
Exhibition of the Park’s fascinating history. Grosvenor & Hilbert Park was created on land originally part of Charity Farm. Using the Edible England theme, we explore the farm’s past and the WW2 allotments and British Restaurant in the Park.
The Grosvenor Recreation Ground opened in 1889 and was Tunbridge Wells’ first municipal park. Four acres of land from Charity Farm was donated by the town’s first Mayor John Stone-Wigg and combined with the former Calverley Water Works to form the Park. It was intended for the industrial classes living at the northern end of the town and was designed by outstanding 19th century landscape gardener Robert Marnock. One of the former Water Works reservoirs was used as a large open-air swimming pool and remained in use until 1948.
In the 1930s Cllr E.J. Strange bought 26 acres from Charity Farm to the north-east and presented it to the council. He suggested the name Hilbert Recreation Ground after his mother, Lydia, nee Hilbert. The Edible England theme of the 2021 Heritage Open Days encouraged us to explore the history of Charity Farm. We look at the land use, farming practices and how the Park was used to grow food and as a site for a British Restaurant in WW2.
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