PGPT106
Date: probably 1850-60
Source: The Trevor family

This photograph is probably of Henry Trevor. The inscription on the back of the original, in the Trevor family’s collection of photographs, reads ‘Great-grandfather Trevor’. Unfortunately, because of a marriage of cousins, there were 2 great-grandfather Trevors – Henry and his brother Frederick. As Henry was the prosperous one it seems more likely that he afforded a photograph.

Henry was born in Wisbech but came to work in Norwich as a young man (see PGPT079 for the opening of his business in Norwich). He married his employer’s daughter, Mrs Mary Page, and became stepfather to her 3 young sons. The eldest, John Page, became a partner in his business. Henry and Mary had several children of their own, but only one, Eliza, survived to adulthood.

In 1855 Henry bought the lease of an old quarry just outside the city walls and built a fine house (PGPT067), then started creating a picturesque garden in the quarry.

He was a very active member of the Baptist church, worshipping and indeed maintaining a chapel in Pottergate (provision of candles, coal and maintenance appear in his account book). He transferred to St Mary’s Baptist church when elderly, and took part in building plans there.

PGPT160
Date: 1612
Source: Norfolk Civic Portrait collection, no. 71. In 2013, this portrait hangs in the Bridewell Museum. ‘Norfolk Museums Service (Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery)

For the connection of Sir John Pettus with the Plantation garden, see PGPT160. In this portrait of him, aged 62, his mayoral chain is proudly displayed. He had been knighted by James I in 1607, and his arms appear top left. His left arm rests on a skull, a ‘memento mori’ to indicate that he was a godly man, always prepared to meet his maker, for he was indeed an ardent Protestant. His right hand holds some fabric with a rich border – perhaps a reminder that he was one of the city’s wealthy cloth merchants.

PGPT157
Date:1833
Source: Gray family portrait, photograph taken by permission of Jill Prestt.

The picture by C.S. Bailly, is of Eliza Gray, youngest daughter of Joseph Gray (see PGPT158). She also appears, with her 2 sisters, in PGPT159.

Eliza was born in 1823 and married her cousin, James Dawbarn, in 1845. They had 6 children. Eliza,as a child, lived at The Grove, Heigham Grove, Norwich. By a surprising coincidence, Jill Prestt, who owns the portrait and was the great-grand-daughter of Eliza, in 1990 bought a house in Heigham Grove, a short distance from The Grove, without knowing that her ancestors had lived there (see Ex Fonte no. 13 1992).

PGPT158
Date: 1833
Source: as PGPT157

Joseph Gray (1787-1862) was 46 years old when C.S.Bailly made this pencil drawing. He was a successful cabinet maker, trading under the name of Hunter & Gray in Lobster Lane, Norwich. Evidence of his prosperity is his purchase around 1830 of a large house and garden, The Grove, at the bottom of Heigham Grove. He kept a carriage and horses in his stables, and was pastor at St Margaret’s Baptist chapel, Pottergate, which had been built by his father-in-law, George Barber, in 1790.

It may well have been when visiting the Baptist chapel in Wisbech that Joseph met Henry Trevor, who came from Wisbech to Norwich to work for him (see PGPT079 and 106). Henry married Joseph’s daughter Mary in 1843.

Joseph’s will shows how much he relied upon his son-in-law Henry: sadly, his own 3 sons had predeceased him. He is buried in a family tomb in Earlham cemetery.

PGPT159
Date: 1830s
Source: oil portrait owned by descendants of Joseph Gray

Joseph Gray (see PGPT158) was able to afford to have this portrait painted of his 3 daughters (left to right) Mary, Eliza and Sarah. Sarah married but was childless, for Eliza see PGPT157, and Mary(1815-1902) married twice. In 1834 her first marriage was to Wm Durrant Page, a bookseller on Gentleman’s Walk. Unfortunately he died young in 1841, leaving his widow, Mary, with 3 small boys. The eldest of these had been marked out as heir to his grandfather by his name – John Joseph Gray Page. (see PGPT007).

Mary’s second marriage, in 1843, was to Henry Trevor (see PGPT106).Although they had several children, only one daughter, Eliza, survived to adulthood (see PGPT162). Mary herself reached a ripe old age and is buried, with her father and husband, in the family tomb in Earlham cemetery.

PGPT295
Date: 1838
Source: copy of an original watercolour owned by Bettine Page

This watercolour bears the information that its subject, John Joseph Gray Page, was 2 years 3 months, and the painter was Mrs Turnbull. John wears a skirt, as was usual for little boys in the early 19c, and is brandishing a whip and pulling a cart.

For a summary of his life, see PGPT168. PGPT171 shows him in the garden of his own house, the Elms in Heigham Grove, while PGPT170 shows him surrounded by his workmen at Trevor Page’s workshop. The only photograph of him in the Plantation garden was taken in front of the summerhouse (PGPT415).

In his old age he recalled many memories of his earlier life around Heigham Grove which were published in the Eastern Daily Press in April 1925.

His stepfather Henry Trevor obviously helped him a lot in business, which was only fair since some of Henry Trevor’s own prosperity was founded on the help he had received from Joseph Gray (PGPT158) after whom John was named.

   

PGPT165 and 166
Date: 10th May 1842
Source: donated by Marion Trevor Cole, descendant

The lady is Elizabeth Gardiner, nee Trevor, sister of Henry Trevor, daughter of John Trevor (see PGPT164). The back of the photograph shows that it was taken in Wisbech, so she clearly stayed near her family home. She is holding a watch or medallion in her right hand, a book, probably religious, in her left.

PGPT162
Date: 1880/1
Source:’My Quest for God’ by John Trevor, frontispiece

Eliza Trevor (1843-1894) was the only surviving daughter of Henry and Mary Trevor. She was married in 1881 to her cousin, John Trevor, who was 11 years her junior. Henry may not have been enthusiastic about this match. John had stayed for periods in Norwich while training to be an architect, and in his autobiography ‘My Quest for God’ told of how he had fallen in love with Eliza, who had already endured a mysterious ‘baptism of fire’. They read sermons together, and it is clear that they both went through nervous crises of faith.

When John was sent abroad, Eliza stayed constant, and on his return they married, in London, not the family chapel in Norwich. John became one of the founders of the ‘Labour Church’ (and is now of interest to students of the early Labour movement). They moved North and had 4 children, of whom 2 survived. Eliza died in Manchester, of breast cancer, when only 51. She is mentioned on the gravestone in Earlham cemetery.

PGPT007
Date:1886
Source: original photograph in PGPT archive re-photographed by Sarah Cocke in 1998.

This detail is taken from a family photograph (PGPT415) posed in front of the rustic summerhouse. It shows John Joseph Gray Page, Henry Trevor’s stepson and business partner (see PGPT295 for a watercolour of John as a charming toddler!) One of his teenage sons stands beside him.

The poster in the background advertises a Flower Service, for the Horticultural Society, at the Old Parish Church on Sunday afternoon Aug 1st 1886. The sermon will be given by Rev J.Mellor Evans, offertories of flowers received from 2.30 to 3.15, service to commence at 3.30. There can surely be no doubt that flowers went to the church from the Plantation garden.

PGPT164
Date: 19c.
Source: ‘My Quest for God’ by John Trevor, facing p.1

John Trevor (1787-1864) was the father of Henry Trevor. He lived in Wisbech, and was a ‘retired Lincolnshire farmer – a fine old Puritan, who shaved on Saturday night to avoid needless labour on the Sabbath.’ His grandson goes on to say that he ‘had rectitude indelibly stamped’ upon him. He had led his family away from worship in the established church into dissent, and had become a ‘Johnsonian’ Baptist. They were a small sect, with one chapel in Wisbech and one in Norwich, which exchanged preachers, and it was this connection which drew Henry Trevor to Norwich.

PGPT265
Date: 1897
Source: ‘My Quest for God’ by John Trevor, published 1897 by the “Labour Prophet” office, London.

John Trevor (1855 – 1930) was the son of Henry Trevor’s brother Frederic Francis (cf PGPT106), who died in 1860 when John was only six. John was therefore brought up in Wisbech by his grandparents who were very strict Baptists (PGPT164). This upbringing probably contributed to his later religious crises and nervous breakdowns.

He first trained as an architect in Norwich, but did not settle to the work and went (probably encouraged by Henry) to seek his fortune in Australia and America. Again he did not settle, and returned to England and in 1881 married his cousin Eliza (PGPT162), Henry Trevor’s daughter, some eleven years his senior. They were married in London rather than in the Baptist chapel in Norwich, as might have been expected.

John finally found his vocation as a Free Church minister and was appointed to Manchester, where he founded the first Labour Church. Its ideal was that the working man should feel at home with its simple style of worship. Famous socialists like Bernard Shaw and Kier Hardie came to speak at John’s meetings and so nowadays religious and political historians take a great interest in this period of John’s life.

Sadly, he had another nervous breakdown, and moved away from Manchester to Cheshire, Sussex and London. He wrote articles putting forward socialist policies, married a second time and became a photographer.

It is noticeable that among the many legacies Henry Trevor left to his relatives there was no personal bequest to John.

PGPT266
Date: 1890s
Source: Kath Barnard, great-granddaughter of Henry Trevor

These two boys, Hugh (b.1882) and Stanley (b.1885) were the two surviving grandsons of Henry Trevor and inherited the residue of his estate. Their parents were Eliza (PGPT162) and John (PGPT265) Trevor.

Hugh emigrated to New Zealand and his descendants have occasionally visited the garden, alerted to its discovery and restoration by Kath Barnard (PGPT161). For Stanley see PGPT167.

PGPT167
Date: August 31st, 1898
Source: donated by Kath Barnard (seePGPT161)

Stanley Scott Trevor, shown here aged 13, was one of the 2 surviving grandsons of Henry Trevor, who benefited by their inheritance under his will. His mother was Eliza Trevor (see PGPT162). He became a farmer and cheesemaker, but after being badly wounded in WW1 he became a Registrar in Cheshire.

The inscription on the back of the photograph has the name, date and ‘taken by Graham S. Gardiner, Wisbech’

PGPT168
Date: c1920 (?)
Source: the Page family album

John Joseph Gray Page (1836-1929) was born in Gentleman’s Walk to Wm and Mary (nee Gray) Page (see PGPT159). His middle names displayed that he was the eldest grandson of Joseph Gray (see PGPT158). He became the stepson of Henry Trevor (see PGPT106) but kept his original surname. He would have been 21 when the family moved into the Plantation.

He worked for his stepfather’s furnishing business from the age of 14, was taken into partnership and, he said, spent 70 years in active business life with Trevor Page & Co.- as it became.

He married Emily Ellen Baldwin in 1865 and their family home became The Elms, Heigham Grove. They had 7 children, only one of whom, Sydney worked in the business, and sadly he was killed fighting at Gaza. He was buried in the family vault in Earlham cemetery.

PGPT010
Date:1897
Source: as PGPT008/9.

The photograph shows The Elms, Heigham Grove. In 1897 and for many years before, Henry Trevor’s stepson, John Joseph Gray Page (PGPT168) lived in this house with his large family.

PGPT348 and PGPT349
Date: 1911
Source: photographs c2003 by Sarah Cocke

In the first decade of the 20c there were 2 royal visits to Norwich: King Edward VII came in 1909, King George V in 1911. In the newspaper reports of each of these visits mention is made of the furniture, shown here, especially made ‘by Messrs. Trevor & Page’ to be used by the royals. These photographs show the ‘throne’ made for George V, with the record on the back that ‘the oak was taken from the Norwich Guildhall during repairs 1907-8’.

PGPT170
Date: 1914-1919
Source: Page family album

During WW1 Trevor Page & Co produced propellers for aircraft made in Norwich. This photograph shows the workers of Trevor Page & Co, men, women and boys, posing with 2 propellers in the workshop. J.J.G. Page (see PGPT168) is sitting in the middle wearing a bowler hat.

61 men from the firm went to fight in the war, 10 of whom died. Every veteran who wished to return to the firm was re-employed, and the firm held the record in East Anglia for the number of discharged men they were training. (EDP 19.12.1919)

Date: c1925
Source: family photograph donated by Bridget Elliott

Richard Bowers was appointed, aged 16, to a job at Trevor Page (cfPGPT133) by Henry Trevor himself. As he told his family, he was asked at the interview to do an arithmetic test. After a while, Henry Trevor asked him why he was not writing. When he replied that he had finished, 2 disbelieving clerks were told to check the figures, but they could find no fault. So he got the job, although Henry Trevor usually employed only Baptists, and Richard Bowers was Church of England. He went on to work for the firm for 60 years, and can be seen sitting beside John Page in PGPT170.

PGPT171
Date: c 1910-20(?)
Source: Page family album

Mr and Mrs J.J.G.Page (see PGPT168) in the garden of their home, The Elms, Heigham Grove. Their garden stretched through to Chester Place, which lies beyond the tall hedge behind them. An article in the EDP at the time of his funeral describes how ‘he ever took the keenest interest in …..the pleasant and extensive gardens’ of his home.

The trees in the background are in the grounds of The Plantation, and a path ran from The Elms across Chester Place into a back gate of The Plantation to allow easy communication between the Pages and the Trevors.

PGPT034
Date 1st quarter 20c
Source of original unknown. This image is a postcard (cf PGPT 032)

The gardener’s cottage in The Plantation is described in the 1897 auction particulars*. In the 1860 census one George Woodhouse* and his family were living in the cottage, and he was still Henry Trevor’s head gardener in 1897 when Henry died. He received a legacy (£50) from Henry, and took part in the funeral procession, so he had obviously earned the respect of his employer and the family. The tall chimneys of the cottage can be seen in PGPT002 and 003.

The cottage was demolished in the 1960s.

PGPT364
Date: 1915
Source: family photograph of the Bullard family, donated by Mrs Rintoul nee Bullard, of Edinburgh

Molly Bullard spent her childhood at The Grove, Heigham Grove, and her memories of the house and garden were still vivid when she described them in the 1990s.

This house and garden inevitably influenced Henry Trevor’s ideas for his own property. Joseph Gray, his boss and father-in-law, had bought The Grove in 1831. So when, in 1855, Henry Trevor decided to lease the Plantation, just along the road from Joseph Gray’s house, he was already familiar with a style of gardening that used ‘antique’ decorations to add interest to garden walls. In this photograph, both a ‘medieval’ shield and helmet and a ‘Roman’ bust in a niche are clearly visible. Molly also remembered a ‘ruin’ in the garden, which in her day was used as part of a chicken run! (See also PGPT364)

PGPT059
Date 1920s
Source Photograph in PGPT archive

George Green held the lease of the Plantatation from 1919, when he became Mayor, until his death in 1928. He and Mrs Green played a prominent part in various aspects of Norwich public life, and used the garden as a background for many occasions as can be seen in other photographs. This is one of several photographs of them in various parts of the garden.

PGPT060
Date 1920s
Source Photograph in PGPT archive

As mentioned in PGPT059 George Green used the garden for various events. On this occasion he seems to be entertaining the staff of his shops in Norwich and Yarmouth. Everyone is wearing a hat except Mr and Mrs Green!

The wall in the background is the ‘medieval’ wall (Guide book 2009 p33)

PGPT061
Date 1919/20
Source Photograph in PGPT archive

Another photograph (cf PGPT060) recording an occasion when George Green welcomed a group of visitors into the garden. Perhaps these were ministers attending a Baptist conference. George Green is wearing the mayoral chain of office.

The group is posing in front of the ‘Window’ built by Henry Trevor as a folly in the garden (Guide book 2009 p34). It was found in fragments during the restoration and restored in the 1990s. There are examples in other Victorian gardens of ecclesiastical fragments, taken from churches when they were ‘restored’ being used as rose arches in gardens. An angel sculpture on the right hand support may well have been produced in a funeral mason’s workshop.

PGPT004
Date: 1920s
Source: photograph in PGPT archive

Group photograph of Baptist ladies who were organising a fête in the garden. This was during the period when George Green (see PGPT059) lived in the Plantation. He was a strong supporter of St. Mary’s Baptist Church.

This photograph was produced (at a talk given in June 2008) by the child of one of the people shown. She said that the lady in a white dress and black hat in the centre of 2nd row was the minister’s wife and the young man in the front row in pale trousers almost in front of her became a minister later.

PGPT062
Date: 1920s
Source: Photograph in PGPT archives from Green Family

Mr and Mrs Green are shown posing in the garden (cf PGPT 059) on the steps between the remains of the propagating house (Guide book p.33) on the left and the ‘Window’ (cf PGPT 061) on the right. Cf PGPT096 for the appearance of the window after restoration.

Of the other sculptural decorations shown here, only the gargoyle to the right of Mr Green is presently on display in the garden. It was in fact given back to the PGPT in 2011, after spending many years in gardens owned by a descendant of Mr Green.

PGPT063
Date: 1919/20
Source: Detail from photograph in Green family album

In the family album, George Colman Green, son of George Green, has written ‘The North Elmham Naval Boys at the Plantation, 1919-20’. On the same page is a photograph of the boys in their sailor hats with the Lady Mayoress (Mrs Green). She can be seen sitting in the background here. Another photograph (not shown) has George Green standing on the upper lawn with a group of more than 20 school boys from Bethnal Green, London, who were visiting the Plantation.

The balustrading and walls of the Italian terrace (Guide book 2009 p37) rise up behind the seated figures. The Gothic alcove (Guide book 2009 p34), covered with ivy, can be seen at the left, and there seem to be the remains of a large curved window (?) abutting the terrace wall in the centre.

PGPT087
Date: 1919/20
Source: Photograph in PGPT archive copied from Green family album

When George Green became Lord Mayor in 1919 he wanted to live in an establishment suitable for that office. He settled upon the Plantation, and lived there until his death in 1929. This photograph shows him and Mrs Green setting out in the Mayoral carriage. George Green was a man who had played a considerable part in public affairs – Alderman, member of Board of Guardians, Port Commissioner at Yarmouth, Magistrate, Chair of Sewerage committee. He merits a long entry already in ‘Citizens of No Mean City’ (1909).

Other photographs exist of him and Mrs Green in various parts of the garden (PGPT059,062) and using it to entertain various groups of his staff, ministers, boys’clubs (PGPT060,061,063)

PGPT143
Date: 1930s
Source: Photograph donated in 1997 by Mr T.C.L. Walwyn

In the 1930s the Plantation was home to a maternity clinic/nursing home where private doctors performed operations and delivered babies. During this time the room to the right of the front door was converted into an operating theatre see PGPT….).Here a group of nurses, smartly dressed in their uniforms, pose with newly delivered babies and a mother(?) on the lawn beside the house.

Mr Walwyn sent these photos from his home in Vancouver, Canada. He was born in the Plantation clinic, and identified himself as one of the babies in the wheelbarrow in PGPT145.

PGPT144
Date: 1930s
Source: as PGPT143

Presumably a mother with the baby she has borne in the Plantation clinic.

In the background are visible an urn shaped like a shell (still there) and the balustrade (now restored, see PGPT040/1/2).

Photographs dating to 1947 and 1956 (in the archive but not included here) show the same urn but with a fence replacing the fallen balustrade.

PGPT145
Date: 1930s
Source: as PGPT143

As in PGPT143, a smartly uniformed nurse is showing off her charges – in a rather risky conveyance! The Roman Catholic cathedral can be seen in the background of this photograph taken on the lawn beside the house. Mr Walwyn identified himself as one of the babies in the wheelbarrow.

PGPT146
Date: 1930s
Source: Photograph donated by a nurse

The background chosen here was the front of the Plantation house. The nurse looks very similar to the one in PGPT145. Was this a record of a patient being collected after a successful stay in the maternity home?

PGPT046
Date 1940s
Source Photograph given to PG archive by someone who had lived in the Plantation house during her training as a midwife

PGPT 047
Date 1936
Source Photograph of Germaine and Nina, given to PG archive by Mrs Trick nee Drake (the child in the photograph)

The side elevation of ‘The Beeches’ with its 19c conservatory is in the background. Mr H.J.Drake was tenant of the house for most of the 1930s.

PGPT149
Date: 1940
Source: photograph from Harvey family

This photograph, showing a young couple resting after a game of tennis, was donated with quite a story.

Edward Harvey’s sister was on the midwifery staff at Plantation house and so when he came home on leave from the army in 1940 he was allowed to play on the court on the lower lawn with his wife, Connie. Sadly, he was killed in Italy in1944.

Mrs Harvey remembered having ante-natal care herself at the Plantation, though babies were born at Earlham House. She remembered that her sister-in-law lived with other nursing staff in ‘the bungalow’, which was built on the area now known as the ‘triangle’, to the East of the entrance yard.

PGPT150
Date: 1947-50
Source: as in PGPT138

The midwives are seen here in front of Plantation house, in their uniforms, setting off for work on their bicycles, their accustomed method of transport.

PGPT014
Date: 1940s/50s
Source: unknown

This photograph was taken on the lawn to the south of the Plantation house. It shows a gardener standing beside a fountain, parts of which were discovered here in 1980 and removed into the protection of the brick shed in the Plantation garden (PGPT284). This ceramic fountain was made by Doulton, and is very similar to one that appears in a photograph of the conservatory at Carrow (see PGPT066).

St John’s Roman Catholic cathedral can be seen in the background.

PGPT138
Date: 1947-50
Source: Photograph donated by Mrs Dalziel

Mrs Dalziel was also a trainee midwife and she donated photographs of herself and her contemporaries after she visited the garden in September 1990 from her home in the Wirral.

PGPT139
Date: 1947-50
Source: as PGPT138

Here the style of numbers on the original date stone can be seen clearly (see PGPT136)

PGPT141
Date: 1947-50
Source: as PGPT138

Another of the photographs taken by midwives staying at the Plantation. The background chosen here is the Doulton fountain then situated on the lawn beside the house (see PGPT014)

PGPT140
Date: 1956
Source: as PGPT137

This time the group of midwives has chosen the wall at the northern end of the lower lawn as a background for their photograph (cf PGPT060). The pedestal on the left clearly lacks an urn which should stand on top. The plaque is one of several of the same design in various parts of the garden: it is tempting to think that once again Henry Trevor bought a bargain lot from Gunton Bros. Certainly the mouldings which frame the plaque and the cross design on the wall are Gunton style (see PGPT043/4).

PGPT137
Date: 1956
Source: Photograph donated by Mrs High, trainee midwife

George Green’s death in 1929 marked the end of the use of the Plantation as a private house. In the following decades it was used first as a private clinic, and then as a hostel for midwives in training. Fortunately some of them took photographs in their leisure moments (few and far between according to some of the accounts they have given of their life at the time!) and Mrs High donated several to the PG archive.

The original date stone is visible here (see PGPT137).

PGPT142
Date: 1956
Source: as PGPT137

As in PGPT141, these midwives also have chosen the Doulton fountain on the upper lawn as the background of their photograph. Cardigans and different plants in the fountain basin indicate a different time of year!

PGPT163
Date: September 28,1983
Source: Eastern Daily Press

The EDP article was written to give the news that Trevor Page, the Norwich firm of furnishers, opened by Henry Trevor in 1843 (see PGPT079) was closing after 140 years in business. In the picture, Mr A.G.Hodges, chairman, is displaying a bust he had had made to stand in the shop. Supposedly of Henry Trevor, it actually bears a strong resemblance to a photograph of John Trevor, Henry’s father (see PGPT164). The bust was given to the Trust by the son of A.G.Hodges.

PGPT161
Kathleen Barnard 1910 – 2011

Great granddaughter of Henry Trevor, Kathleen Barnard (nee Trevor) died peacefully in February at the age of 100. Many members will remember her from her various visits to the Plantation Garden from her home in Cheshire. Kathleen may well have inherited her longevity gene from her great-grandmother Mary Trevor, wife of our founder Henry Trevor.

Kathleen was the daughter of one of Henry’s two grandsons, to whom he left the residue of his estate when he died in 1897. Not only did Kathleen supply our only photo of Henry Trevor, but indeed most of our information about the family history of the Trevors comes from her. She painted a vivid picture of Henry’s disapproval of the marriage of his and Mary’s only daughter, Eliza, to her first cousin, to depart for Australia and America. But, as happens so often, the daughter’s determination overcame the objections of her father and John returned and married Eliza. Nowadays there are historians who find John of greater interest than Henry because, after several shaky starts, John found his vocation as a Unitarian preacher in Manchester and became the ‘first Labour minister’, sharing a platform with Bernard Shaw and Kier Hardie.

Kathleen knew that her great-grandfather had lived in Norwich, so was able to make the connection when she suddenly saw an article in a Sunday supplement in the 1980s describing the discovery and restoration of a Victorian garden in Norwich. She immediately made contact and was generous with her information and support for many years. She gave a bench to the garden, in part because she felt that she wanted the name of Henry Trevor to appear in his garden: later she said that she regretted not mentioning Mary in the inscription.

Words by Sheila Adam. Photo taken 1994

PGPT085
Date: Early 1980s
Source: Photgraph by Allan Sewell, a volunteer

The photograph shows Bryony Nierop-Reading, who organised the first meeting, in Norwich City Library, of people who would be interested in starting the restoration of the Plantation garden. She had been alerted to the existence of the garden by a midwife who attended the birth of her baby (the baby is invisible but held in a sling on Bryony’s chest).

As a result of that meeting, the Plantation Garden Preservation Trust (PGPT) was formed. Details of the progress of the restoration are best followed in ‘Ex Fonte’ (from the fountain). The fountain was adopted as a symbol for the garden from the formation of the Trust.

The photograph gives a vivid impresssion of the overgrown state of the garden and the formidable task that lay ahead for the early volunteers.

PGPT192
Date: 1980s
Source: photograph by volunteer

John Watson, shown here at work on the fountain, became an active member of the PGPT from its early days. He was Chairman 1983-1993 and was made Honorary President in 2003. Bruce Adam (Chairman 2000- 2007) wrote about John in Ex Fonte no.23 2003 and Allan Sewell wrote an obituary in the following issue.

PGPT206
Date: 1980s
Source: photograph by courtesy of the Eastern Daily Press

From early days the committee aimed at providing enjoyment and social occasions for volunteers and their families. John Watson (see PGPT192) loved to dress up in his top hat and frock coat, so fancy dress was often the order of the day! Bryony Nierop-Reading, Secretary for many years, can just be seen in the back row behind the bowler hat. Marj Wilson, later to become Head Gardener, can be seen 4th on the right, front row, and her 3 sons sit at the front.

The EDP had been persuaded to give publicity to the event.

PGPT207
Date: 1980s
Source: as PGPT206

Another photograph of the same event as PGPT206.

PGPT044
Date: 1980s
Source: Photograph by volunteer in PG archive

Chris Watson about to start on the lime washing.

A theory was taken up by some of the volunteers which maintained that much terracotta in the 19c had been limewashed to imitate stone. This theory was acted on in the area at the bottom of the steps down to the lawn from the Palm house terrace. Here we can see some of the several plaques which have a design of a barrel and fruit being limewashed by volunteers. Fortunately the popularity of this idea was short lived.

PGPT053
Date: 1992
Source: Photograph by volunteer

Three young volunteers are shown uncovering one of the many drains alongside the path in the garden. It is notable that neither the flower bed along the edge of the Palm house lawn nor the round bed have yet been restored.

PGPT416

Colin and Elizabeth Bickerton with their daughter, Erica appeared as Mr and Mrs Henry Trevor with their ‘garden boy’ at the Open Day on 19th June 1994.

(Elizabeth Bickerton was the Chair of the PGPT from 1993 – 2000)

PGPT337
Date: 1997
Source: photograph by volunteer

The family tomb in Earlham cemetery was built in 1862 when Joseph Gray (see PGPT158) died. His inscription, on the right, tells us that he ‘lived in the faith of Jesus Christ for upwards of fifty years’, a reminder that he was a minister at the Pottergate St Baptist chapel, like his son-in-law Henry Trevor after him. Other family members buried here include Henry Trevor himself, Joseph’s grandson John Joseph Gray Page, another grandson and great-granddaughter.

By 1997 the tomb was in a state of dereliction, and Bruce Adam raised the money from Henry Trevor’s descendants and others to restore it to commemorate the centenary of Henry Trevor’s death. Lead letters were replaced, some scattered railings retrieved from under bushes, others recast and the stone cleaned.

PGPT338
Date: 1997
Source: detail from PGPT337

By the time of Henry Trevor’s death, he was well known enough for reports of his brief illness and death to be reported at length in the local papers. There was a brief ceremony at the house, then a procession ‘led by the head gardener’ and managers from the works joined the carriages in the road to proceed to the cemetery. Nearly 100 employees came to the cemetery, and the mourners listed included many eminent businessmen of the city – including George Green, who would lease the Plantation some 20 years later (see PGPT059-63).

Mary (1815-1902, see PGPT159) his wife has left little trace in the records, though her remarkably long life stretched from the battle of Waterloo to the arrival of motor cars. She was married and widowed twice, and bore at least six children, of whom 4 survived to adulthood. Considering how much time and money Henry Trevor spent on the garden, one hopes that she enjoyed it too. Her father, Joseph Gray’s will indicates that he valued his garden, with its vinery, hothouse and busts, so her upbringing trained her well!

Poor Eliza (seePGPT162) died before her parents. Her 2 sons were Henry Trevor’s main heirs.

PGPT174
Date: 1998
Source: photograph in Trust archive

Prince Charles came to Norwich on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Norwich Society and visited their exhibition mounted in the Assembly house. The Norwich Society had, as part of their celebrations, contributed very generously to the construction of a replica of the rustic bridge in the Plantation garden. The first guide book to the garden was published in 1998 and Sheila Kefford (facing camera), secretary-organiser of the Norwich Society, has here just presented a copy to the Prince.

PGPT175, 176
Date: 1998
Source: as PGPT174

In PGPT176, lower photo, The PGPT Secretary, Gretchen Mason, and Chairman 1995-2000, Elizabeth Bickerton, have been presented to Prince Charles.

PGPT257
Date: c 2004
Source: Britain in Bloom photographer

Twice a year, spring and autumn, volunteers come together on a Sunday morning to plant summer or winter bedding. Marj Wilson, head gardener (2nd from left) plans the schemes, after discussion with a sub-committee, then purchases and organises the arrival of the plants for the day. Many hands make light work!

PGPT221
Date: 2006?
Source: photograph by volunteer

Tea in the garden on a suumer Sunday became a very popular reason for a visit in the early 2000s. Many visitors told us that they liked to bring their visitors, and elderly relatives were often mentioned! Children too could be left safely to take exercise on steps and paths on the slopes.

A lot of work by volunteers was needed to keep this going, with rotas of servers setting out tables and chairs, preparing urns, washing up, laundering linen, requesting cakes from volunteer bakers and tidying up at the end of the afternoon. Sometimes very little money has been taken, sometimes there has been a great contribution to the garden funds.

PGPT091
Date: 2007
Source: Photograph by volunteer

Ruins in this spot (cf PGPT081) suggested the ‘Gothic’ alcove which the Trust decided to reconstruct in 2007, using original material found in the garden. It is an example of the ‘medievalising’ taste of Henry Trevor, shown also in the walls. For practical reasons it was built lower than the ivy covered remains that appear in the background of PGPT063.

PGPT094 and PGPT222
Date: 2007
Source: Photograph by Cynthia Gibling

Richard Horne was the craftsman who built the oak shelter, a practical addition for volunteers who work in the garden or welcome visitors (cf PGPT057).