Friends of Meads Parks and Gardens
Great News about the Italian Gardens
We are really pleased and very proud to announce that repair work has started in the Italian Gardens. We thought that it was just going to be the damage to the stage structure caused by vandals last year but, thanks to our lobbying the Council, all the structures are being renovated. This is undoubtedly the greatest achievement by the Friends since we were formed in 2015.
Here are some photographs to enable you to see for yourself what is being done.
I know that you will all join me in thanking the Council for listening to us and making this happen.
3rd June 2019
click and scroll through the photos below to see the current progress at the Italian Gardens
Eastbourne Local Lottery
Since its formation in 2015, the Friends have been working tirelessly to raise the profile of the Italian Gardens. As part of our 'Countdown to 2022' campaign, we are delighted to let you know that every penny raised via the Eastbourne Local Lottery for the next four years will go towards giving the Italian Gardens the 100th birthday present they so richly deserve. Your support would be greatly appreciated and who knows, someone could win £25,000!
From Terrie Rintoul, Chair of the Friends of Meads Parks and Gardens.
If you are visiting our website as a result of reading the article which appeared in the edition of the Eastbourne Herald which was published on 28 September I would like to welcome you.
The piece in the paper was taken from a longer article illustrated by a series of photographs. I thought you might be interested in reading it. But just before you do I would like to invite you to join us. Lifetime membership costs just £10 per household and you don't have to be a resident of Meads, or even Eastbourne, to join us. All you have to do is share our love for three of the town's parks:
The Helen Garden
All Saints Park
The Italian Gardens
You can join via the website by clicking on "Membership", filling in the form and clicking "Submit". You would be most welcome and your help and support would be greatly appreciated.
The Friends of Meads Parks and Gardens are delighted that, at their request, for the first time in their history the Italian Gardens were included in the town’s Heritage Open Days event from 13-16 September 2018. The exhibition set up the ‘stage’ structure at the far end telling the story of the gardens was visited by over 180 people.
And by a remarkable stroke of good timing on 14 September the Friends request that the name they have been known by through word of mouth should be made ‘official’ was granted with the installation of a sign at the entrance.
As our exhibition showed, the Italian Gardens featured in many postcards both standing alone and in those showing various views of the town. They were prized alongside Royal Parade, Marine Parade, the Carpet Gardens, Beachy Head and Holywell itself.
Another postcard dating back to the 1970s show the gardens full of colour which means that for at least fifty years they continued to be meticulously cared for and enjoyed by residents and tourists alike.
But those days have gone. The ‘stage’ structure and the pergolas, once groaning with the weight of climbing roses are bare. Self-seeded trees and shrubs have been allowed to grow around it, hiding it from public view. All this combines to give the gardens an abandoned, uncared for feel.
And when something looks uncared for it soon becomes vulnerable.
For many years there have been problems with anti-social behaviour and rough sleepers. Cans thrown into the undergrowth at the back attract more cans, graffiti attracts more graffiti. The ‘stage structure’ is regularly used as a lavatory, fires are lit in the corners and so it goes on.
But, in June this year, the gardens suffered its worst damage with the destruction of the stone latticework running across one of the windows of the ‘stage’ structure.
During the exhibition, our petition asking visitors to support our request to the Council that the damage is repaired was signed by over 100 people.
History tells us that the gardens were built ‘in the Italianate style’ by unemployed Eastbourne men returning from the horrors of the First World War to help them regain a sense of purpose in their future lives.
We can’t help wondering whether those inflicting this senseless damage would have still done it if they had realised this.
History also tells us that the Italianate design was completed in 1922. This means that in 2022 they will celebrate their centenary. Can we improve them in time to give them the 100th birthday present they deserve?
The Friends have asked the Council to:
• Thin out the trees and shrubs
• Carry out essential repairs to the structures
• Re-plant climbing roses in the pergolas (although one has come back on its own -see picture - we think of it as a symbol of hope)
A lot to do and only four years to do it. Perhaps with your help and support we can.