Situated in Crescent Road, Crescent Gardens is holder of the Green Flag accolade, having been awarded for the 15th time during 2020. A great achievement for the dedication and effort to maintain a high standard by the Friends of Crescent Gardens. The Gardens are continually developed and maintained in a partnership between the Friends of Crescent Gardens and Gosport Borough Council.
Crescent Gardens was originally designed in the 19th century and included a terrace walk with marine views, ornamental shrubberies, lawns and trees. At this time the garden also housed a small neo-classic bath house and a reading room. An annual payment of £1.10 shillings was levied from residents for the maintenance and use of the pleasure garden, but this was discontinued by 1926 and the garden was no longer maintained.
After World War Two the area was given into the care of Gosport Borough Council by Miss Pauline Cruickshank. The reading room was demolished in 1950 and the area, increasingly overgrown, was maintained as an open space.
As part of it's urban regeneration scheme, in 1988, Gosport Borough Council initiated consultation between the Hampshire Gardens Trust, Hampshire County Council, English Heritage and local residents. It was decided the gardens basic structure should be restored. Paths were cleared, together with the original site of the reading room and all laid with bredon gravel. The railings with the original Anthemion Capitals were replaced.
Local residents were encouraged to express their views and invited to take an active part in the re-creation of a garden on the restored site. In 1991 an Association of Friends of Crescent Gardens was formed and is now over 300 strong. with the help and co-operation of the H.G.T., H.C.C., and G.B.C. they have designed, planted and maintained a central planting round the site of the reading room, adapting a design contemporary with The Crescent by J.C. Loudon.
For three years the Friends planned and saved to complete the Garden with "exactly the right thing" at its centre. After many difficulties innumerable problems were finally overcome. With Grant aid supplementing the generosity of the Friends a small fountain was installed in a circular pool with a simple curve of Portland stone.
Two bowls are supported by a trio of Neo-Classic Dolphins, (a tangible reminder that for almost a century Gosport was home to the Royal Navy's Flag Officer Submarines and the First Submarine Squadron). The sparkle and sound of water give great pleasure to the Garden's many visitors, young and old alike.
Old specimen trees include a fine Cedar and a truly magnificent Tulip Tree; a young Monkey Puzzle has taken over from one recently lost. Another understudy is a Holly, "Golden Queen" replacing one planted for Queen Victoria's Coronation. Opposite is a Black Mulberry tree planted for the 50th anniversary of D-Day, when 14 caissons for the harbours for Operation Overlord were built and launched at Stokes Bay.
These historical links are important to the Friends, as is the Regency design and planting reflecting the architectural period.
Working in partnership with Gosport Borough Council they help to make the Garden a living asset to the life of the community. For four years it has been in the famous Yellow Book, and it is the scene of various happy community events, including a Garden Party which has become a Summer fixture for the neighbourhood.
This garden could not have been achieved or sustained without the ongoing partnership that has evolved between Gosport Borough Council and the Friends. The garden is accessible to the disabled and small children can play in safety inside the railings.