Bristol’s historic gardens open to view
Press release issued: 20 April 2010
One of Bristol’s formal 18th-century gardens set in ten acres of formal and wooded gardens in Clifton will be open to the public on Sunday 25 April. Built in 1714 and designed by Thomas Goldney III, Goldney gardens are English Heritage listed.
Situated in Bristol University’s Goldney Hall, the gardens have been restored to the Thomas Goldney’s original design. Visitors will have the chance to see Goldney’s two orchards. One contains varieties of apples, which were available in William Goldney's time in the 1750s, and the other contains a collection of apples, pears and plums.
The gardens have a feature tree avenue lined with mature yew (Taxus baccata), bay (Laurus nobilis) and Holm oak (Quercus ilex) and an 'Old World Garden’, which contains a large collection of herbaceous plants and climbers.
Also open on the day will be Goldney’s shell-lined grotto, a Grade I listed building, that is only open to visitors a few times a year. The Grotto is decorated inside with shells, quartz and rock crystal and has a pillared hall with fountains, a rock pool and a statue of Neptune. The garden has other follies, such as a bastion, an ornamental canal, a gothic tower and a rotunda.
The event will run from 12 pm to 5 pm. Tickets will be available on the door and will be priced at adults £3, concessions £1.50 and children under five free. Proceeds from the open day will go to the Goldney Restoration Fund, this fund helps to maintain the historic garden features.
There will be a plant sale, face painting and a treasure trail for children as well as cream teas, homemade cakes and other refreshments, which will be served in the Orangery, overlooking the ornamental canal and formal gardens.
Goldney Hall was opened in 1956. Originally it provided accommodation for 19 female students in Goldney House, which was built in the early 1700s as the country home of the Bristol merchant, Thomas Goldney. The Goldney’s were a Quaker family with business interests in banking, shipping and the iron and brass industries. Much of their fortune came from financing Captain Woodes Roger’s privateering raids against Spanish treasure ships, one unexpected result of which was the rescue of Alexander Selkirk, the original Robinson Crusoe whom Defoe is reputed to have met in Bristol.
Professor Gregor McLennan, Warden of Goldney Hall, said: “Goldney is of course very historic and interesting, and well worth seeing for those reasons. But it is also just a lovely and quite low-key place to wander around in, or relax over a picnic on the grass. Lots of different people come to the open day, and get different things out of it. All are welcome.”