Lord Bristol marks gardens centenary

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THE MARQUESS of Bristol was the guest of honour at celebrations to mark 100 years since his family handed over a Bury St Edmunds beauty spot to the public.

Frederick Hervey oversaw the unveiling of a specially designed carpet bedding scheme and planted an ornamental tree for the centenary of the Abbey Gardens.

His family originally owned the site and presented the town with the gardens’ sundial drinking fountain, which used to be outside the Nutshell pub, in The Traverse.

Lord Bristol, who was welcomed by the Abbey Gardens Friends group, said: “The gardens are lovely. It’s nice everyone in the town can enjoy them and it’s great to be back.”

During his visit, he also looked at an exhibition at the Athenaeum featuring old photographs and prints of the gardens as well as historical items and videos of pageants held in 1907 and 1959. From 1100 the gardens were known as the Great Court of the Abbey before becoming the Botanical Garden of the Great Court of the Abbey.

Damien Parker, parks manager for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “It was an honour to have the Marquess here.” Other events include a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the gardens on June 21 and an illustrated talk, Exceptional Sundials, by Kevin Karney at the Unitarian Meeting House on June 30.