Gardens’ centenary celebrations

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A WEALTH of activities are in the pipeline to celebrate the centenary of a historic Bury St Edmunds beauty spot becoming a free public park.

Highlights to mark the milestone for the Abbey Gardens include a visit by the Marquess of Bristol on Friday, June 1.

The Bristol family formerly owned the site and presented the town with the sundial drinking fountain, which was originally outside the Nutshell pub, in the Traverse.

An accompanying display of heritage archive material will be on show in the Athenaeum foyer including photographs and prints of the gardens as well as videos of pageants held in 1907 and 1959.

There will be talks showcasing the unique features and botanic aspects of the gardens, which were designed and developed by Nathaniel Hodson who lived in Alwynne House.

Also planned is a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Bury Theatre Company on June 21, a summer social for the Abbey Gardens Friends and a children’s morning on August 24.

The events are being organised by St Edmundsbury Borough Council and the Friends group.

A promotion about the Friends and their activities will be held on Sunday May 13 between 11am and 3pm at the Gathering Place, in the Gardens.

For further information about the group, which started a year ago and has 70 members, visit http://www.stedmundsbury.gov.uk/sebc/play/AGFriends.cfm