Water Gardens, Bushy Parks, Teddington

The Water Gardens are Baroque style recreational gardens designed for Upper Lodge, which was the residence of Charles Montague, 1st Earl of Halifax, Keeper of Bushy Park from 1709-1715.

The gardens comprised of large pools, cascades, stoup basins and a canal that extended across part of the park, which was built in 1710 when the Longford river was diverted to feed the cascade. The Longford river was created for Charles I in 1638-9 to bring water from the Colne river to Hampton Court.

The Water Gardens were used during the early 18th century and had mock grottos on each side of the Cascade, fitted with trompe l’oeil paintings, together with wrought iron plants mounted on the brickwork over the grottos. The gardens were recorded at the time in a painting by Jacob Bogdani-which was invaluable to the restoration works. The gardens fell into disuse later in 18th century and became overgrown, being used during WWII for experimental research by the nearby National Physics laboratory.

Following research in 1990s the Water Gardens were rediscovered and with Heritage Lottery funding, the restoration project was undertaken. The site was excavated by archaeologists in 2008, when the original outline of the pools were discovered and matched the form shown in the Bogdani painting. Unstable areas of brickwork were removed, but much of the original masonry was in good condition to be reused while 1.5metres of silt was removed from the basins. The original shape of the pools were reformed in masonry and the missing grottos were recreated in new brickwork on original foundations, based on the record drawings. The cascade stone work was repaired and existing damaged stoop basins were replaced with new matching stone basins connected to the upper pool. The formal landscape and paths were then installed