The Walled Gardens in the 1950s.
We’re grateful to Shirehampton resident and long-time supporter of KWAG, David Pickering, for his donation of a small set of photos to add to our permanent collection.
The photos are a record of the House in the Garden, and the Georgian walled gardens in which it sits. The original walled gardens were begun in around 1762, but when the last private owner of Kings Weston house, Philip Napier Miles, died in 1935 it became redundant for its original purpose. Here, in 1937, the widowed Sybil Napier Miles decided to build a smaller house for herself where she lived until her death in 1948.
She was a keen gardener and turned the flower and produce gardens within the historic walls over to a private garden for her new home, removing many greenhouses but retaining certain elements she thought useful or attractive. The gardens were already established by 1940, when they were opened to the public to raise funds for the Queen’s Institute for District Nursing.
The exact date and circumstances of these photos taken by an official Western Daily Press and Bristol Observer isn’t known. The house and grounds were purchased in 1948 by the City Council to form a new primary school before new premises in Lawrence Weston were complete. They do not appear in the sales literature of that time, and there appear to be school sports court markings painted on the front drive, narrowing it down further. One source suggests 1954, which may be correct, as the condition of the old stables seen through the arch is better than when it’s next recorded, derelict, four years later. Regardless of when they were taken, they are a beautiful record of the house not long after it ceased as a private residence.
The Lilypond and Georgian Lodges have now been declared surplus to the needs of Kingsweston Special School, and we hope now to be able to discuss restoration with the Council more directly