Just as the glorious restoration of the South Enclosure ‘Secret Garden’ nears completion (thanks in large part to the generosity of Michael Bedingfield, a Chichester Terrace resident), our neighbouring Kemptown Secret Garden has unveiled its own plans significantly to improve its facilities to allow greater year round public access and to expand the potential of this magical space in other ways.
This walled Regency garden is located behind the north east corner of Sussex Square and is discreetly bounded by the unremarkable Bristol Gardens and Rugby Place. It was originally part of the garden of No. 32 Sussex Square and is the only remaining example of a series of pleasure gardens each accessed by a tunnel from their respective grand houses on the Estate.
In 1950 the Garden was purchased by Antony Dale, of blessed memory, with a view to its preservation. In 2011 it passed into the care of the Antony Dale Trust, a charity formed specifically for that purpose. Since then, with the involvement of over 40 volunteers, the Secret Garden has become a much loved destination, open to the public every weekend between May and October. The Garden provides a haven of relaxation, with refreshments, and offers a range of cultural events, most notably superb exhibitions of sculpture, all in a secure setting.
The Trust now has full planning permission for a major project that will transform an existing Garden pavilion to provide accessible toilets, a fit for purpose catering kitchen and a flexible learning and hospitality space. An approach has just been made to the National Heritage Lottery Fund seeking its support for the project.
KTS wishes the Trust well in taking forward this ambitious and very worthwhile endeavour for the benefit of our local community.