Dorchester's Borough Gardens
The Borough Gardens were laid out to a plan by William Goldring of Kew, and were opened to the public on 30th July 1896. Although never closed the Gardens were ‘opened' again on 7th May, 2007 by oscar-winning local resident Julian Fellowes to mark the completion of a £1.4m plus restoration and refurbishment project funded in part by a grant of almost £1 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. If you would like to know more about the work of the HLF visit their website at http://www.hlf.org.uk/.
The Gardens are located within a few minutes walk of the town centre and are wheelchair accessible from all entrances which are located on the corner between Albert Road and Princes Street, Cornwall Road, Bowling Alley Walk and West Walks.
The Gardens are open every day from dawn until dusk.
There is a fully enclosed play area which has facilities for all age groups. The play equipment includes baby and standard swings, rockers, mini spinner, two different types of slide, multi play structure and seesaw.
For warmer days there is also a splash pool!
Adult Fitness Equipment
Near to the main (Albert Road) entrance to the Gardens is a range of adult fitness equipment which gives everyone the opportunity to keep fit without needing to pay a gym subscription - provided, of course, that you don't mind people looking at you while you are exercising and can stand the weather!
There are four tennis courts open all year round and are available for public use at a very reasonable charge. Further details including how to book a court and the cost can be found by clicking here.
The use of the bowling green located at the southern end of the Gardens has been discontinued following the winding-up of The Gardens Bowling Club. We are presently considering what to do with it in the future so that it enhances the facilities available in the Gardens and benefits as many people as possible. We shall update you when we have made a decision.
The refurbished Borough Gardens House has a community facility located on the ground floor. There is a large room equipped with tables and chairs together with a kitchen and toilets and can be hired by the community for a multitude of uses. For further information on hire charges and how to book the room click on the 'Community Room Hire' button to the left of this screen.
The refreshment kiosk located at the northern end of the Gardens sells a range of light snacks and drinks at a very competitive price. It is open every day in the summer and at weekends during the winter. The kiosk is operated as a community training enterprise by a consortium of local charities headed by Rethink. For more information about Rethink visit their website at http://www.rethink.org/. If you want to know more about the kiosk - or perhaps to help with it - phone Mary Stevens on 01305 250863 or let us know by filling in the on-line form in the 'Contact Us' area and we'll pass your details on to them.
The public toilets are located adjacent to the refreshment kiosk building and are open all year round during the Gardens opening times.
The centrally located bandstand was donated by Col. W.E. Brymer MP as a permanent memorial of Her Majesty Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, and in acknowledgement of kindness received by him from Dorchester townspeople. It was designed by G.J. Hunt, the Borough Surveyor, and built by Messrs. T. MacFarlane and Co. of Glasgow for £200. The bandstand is still the focal point for live music and other events which take place in the Gardens over most weekends during the summer.
Close to the bandstand is an elaborate cast-iron clocktower painted in red, green and gold. There is an inscription recording the gift of the clock to the town by Charles Hansford in 1905.
There is a fountain in the north-east area of the Gardens. It is 16ft high with four seated lions backed by fern leaves supporting a 7'6" diameter basin, a column of three carved birds below a 4' diameter basin above, and an inverted scalloped basin with cherub and cornucopia on a flowered column at the top. It was donated by Charles Hansford in memory of G.J. Gregory JP, his brother-in-law and five times Mayor of Dorchester, and was officially named the Gregory Memorial Fountain
In the north-west corner of the Gardens there is a stone obelisk known as the Tirah Memorial. It was erected in 1899 and dedicated to the memory of the non-commissioned officers and men of the 1st Battalion Dorset Regiment who died in the Indian Northwest Frontier (Tirah) Campaign of 1897-98. It was carved by Westcott of Dorchester.
There are three shield beds located near to the Cornwall Road entrance to the Gardens. Each year they are planted to commemorate anniversaries of local or national organisations and charities.
The sundial on the lawn below the bandstand is an analemmatic dial and is unusual because the user forms part of the dial system. In other words if you stand in the right place your shadow will tell you what the time is!