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Secret Gardens

The History of the gardens

The three and a half acre gardens were first created at the beginning of the 1900's by then owner Ernest Jardine (1859 - 1947).

He created a 'model factory' where he built lace-making machines and laid out the gardens for the benefit of his employees. The gardens were known as Jardine's Park and became a well used recreational space for his factory workers.

The Jardine Era

We know that in 1907 he employed 128 people and produced machinery for his lace making interests. The mill became a real community, with Ernest providing recreation rooms for his workers, as well as introducing a pub and the school house for their children to attend.

Outside he rebuilt the old mill pond and it became an ornamental lake with wildfowl and even a small rowing boat for the use of his employees. Fruit and vegetables were grown to provide lunchtime meals and he also created allotments where workers could grow their own food.

During the Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930a many factories in the area closed. Sadly Jardine's model factory was no exception and shut down in 1929.

DID YOU KNOW...

The jardin gardens were first created in the late 19th century by the owner Ernest Jardine (1859 - 1947).


The Showering Era

The Showering family have made cider in Shepton Mallet for over 200 years, and set up their first brewery at the former Ship Inn which sits at the front of the Kilver Court site.

Part of the original brewery in Kilver Street still remains and is used for cider making. The Great Grandfather of the present Showering generation demonstrated extraordinary business acumen in acquiring the land in 1843 while the buildings were in flames and his own employees were working a bucket and chain to help put the fire out! Francis Showering joined the family business in 1929 and in 1947 produced the experimental drink 'Babycham'.

The success of the new drink prompted massive expansion and Showering's acquired the Kilver Court buildings that sat alongside the River Sheppey to have as a production site.

Jardine's Park and mill, which were lying empty, were obtained during further expansion in the late 1950's. Francis Showering oversaw the landscaping of the gardens and in 1961 based his designs on the Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winning garden by Mr Whiteleg - who came himself to oversee the project.

The gardens were further enhanced by the acquisition of the viaduct following the closure of the railway and the fitting out of the Director's Suite.