Report 13th March 2012

Wonders of the Valley Gardens

The Forum welcomed Jane Blayney as Chairman of the Friends of the Valley Gardens but our Chairman Roy Howard welcomed her as the lady who taught his children to swim.

Mrs. Blayney concentrated on her PowerPoint presentation on the Friends’ Project to restore the Old Magnesia Well Pump Room, now half hidden in the Valley Gardens and overshadowed by the Café in the New Magnesia Well. 

The Old Pump Room is a very attractive small house with fine roof tiles and scalloped barge boards.  The aim is to restore it as a public education and information centre.  Much work has necessarily to be done by volunteers as only 3 gardeners now work full-time in the Valley Gardens (formerly there were 13).  So far the Friends with its membership of 170 has raised £11,000 of the £45,000 which is required.  Various fundraising events are held each year; including a 1940s weekend complete with Vera Lynn lookalike and “Dad’s Army” impersonators. 

The Friends also hope to restore the Japanese garden and to improve the entrance opposite the former Green Park Hotel.  The New Zealand garden has of course already been restored near the Cornwall Road entrance.

David Hopkinson gave the vote of thanks and was then duly announced as next week’s speaker by the Chairman.

John Taylor  

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