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The garden today3:36 Video filmed during the Heritage Open Day, 14th September 2008.
Four walnut trees, yew and box hedges form the garden's main features. The Royal Navy has contributed two statues. At the entrance is Captain Robert Falcon Scott's statue sculpted by Kathleen Lady Scott in 1915. It commemorates his heroic attempt to reach the South Pole and death in 1912. To the east is William III 'finished in the manner of the Cæsars,' sculpted by van Ost and presented by Richard Norton in 1718. William's wars against Louis XIV led to the expansion of Portsmouth dockyard in the 1690s. He was also an enthusiastic gardener. Beyond is the stone found lodged in the hull of HMS Pique which ran aground in Labrador, but successfully crossed the Atlantic in 1835.
More about the William III statue Memorials and Monuments in Portsmouth site.
Since Spring 2000 the Friends have been planing, digging and planting the whole garden. Morello cherries are along the dockyard wall and flower beds follow principles of eighteenth century design. 'Florist's' flowers reflect eighteenth century fashions. Exotic and useful plants commerate voyages of naval exploration and plant-finding. Herbs for everyday ailments link the garden to Mary Rose and Victory. The Porter's Garden was opened 21 June 2001 by Lord Mayor of Portsmouth councillor Elaine Baker and Lady Mayoress Miss Sheila Jackson.
Commissions in iron and stone celebrate 500 years of dockyard skills. Two wrought iron gates made by Peter Clutterbuck, with the yew hedge, complete the enclosed feel of the original Porter's Garden site. Sculptor Roger Stephens installed three sculptured seats in 2005. Each has the shape of the cross section of the hull of one of the three historic ships, Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860. Roger designed the seats. He made them from six granite blocks, of total weight 10 tons, that had formed a cart track in Portsmouth dockyard.
Roger Stephens installing sculptured seats more...
The garden is open to the public all year for lunchtime relaxation, school educational sessions, occasional theâtre, installations, recitals and concerts.
William III bed in September 2001. The flowers are heliotropes, purple sage, delphiniums, with iris and violas in the background.
The garden in 1754The Friends have discovered four eighteenth century maps of the Porter's Garden. This map of 1754 shows his house, stables and two small trees in his garden.
Extract from Thomas Milton's Plan and View of Portsmouth Dockyard, 1754
The garden wallThe dockyard wall - the garden wall - was built in 1711, so that 'Ill disposed people inclineing to Purloine, are shut out from doing hurt from the Land'. It also defined the boundary of the Porter's garden. The gate provided the setting for many embezzlements and a dramatic labour dispute in 1743. It was also used to publish regulations and invite tenders for dockyard contracts and outside projects, such as St George's Chapel, built in 1753 by dockyard shipwrights and house carpenters.
The Porter's LodgeThe Porter's Lodge was built in 1708 and is the Dockyard's oldest surviving building, but an earlier Porter's watch house stood at the gate in 1698. Other dockyard officers, whose gardens survive, lived in the Commissioner's house and Long and Short Rows.
The Porter's Lodge photo John Scott
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
List entry - The National Heritage List for England English Heritage site
The portersTwo porters lived in the Porter's Lodge from 1739-1800, William Woodrow (1739-1780) and Thomas Butler (1780-1800).
The porter had three functions. He guarded dockyard boundaries and property and marked working hours by ringing the muster bell and closing the gate against latecomers. To prevent excessive theft of timber, 'chips', he allowed 'no Person to pass out of the Dock Gates with great Coats, large Trousers or any other outer dress that can conceal stores of any kind.' He also sold beer to the men 'to enable them the better to carry on their labour and not to distemper them'. The Porter's life is revealed through his job and outside activities. In 1753, described as a 'Gentleman', Woodrow was one of the original pew owners of St George's Chapel, owning one of the larger pews on the ground floor costing £30. He was the public face of the dockyard, the daily interface between the inside and outside communities.
Notice of sale of effects of Thomas Butler.
The Friends of the Porter's GardenFor the millennial 'Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour', in 1998 Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust commissioned landscape architects Camlin Lonsdale to design a new garden on the site of the former Porter's garden. During the twentieth century the site had been used for police cells, the Police Superintendent's Office and an air raid shelter, so it was an architectural confusion. Hampshire Gardens Trust and local residents were consulted. In Spring 2000 a Friends' committee was set up.
Friends of the Porter's Garden hard at work during the planting season (Ann Coats)
The Friends have visited local gardens to plan its design and planting, mindful of soil, aspect and rainfall. Hampshire Gardens Trust, Brian Kidd, Portsmouth Parks Environmental Officer, Petersfield Physic Garden and Staunton Country Park have helped and advised us.
How to become a Friend
Our objectivesTo recreate the historical, educational and recreational value of the Porter's Garden, to create a garden which is relaxing for dockyard personnel and visitors, accessible to the local community, with an intimate atmosphere, and link Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with outside communities.
What will you gain from becoming a Friend?You will visit other gardens and horticultural societies and listen to lectures on eighteenth century gardening techniques and the history of gardening. You may elect the committee and attend monthly committee meetings. The Annual General Meeting will be held in April. You will help the garden grow.
How can you help the Friends?Pay an annual subscription of £5, due on 1 April, care for the garden by attending gardening days, propagate selected plants from seeds and cuttings at home, read about eighteenth century gardens, donate plants for fund-raising seasonal plant sales, participate in historical research and interpretation - apply to join the Friends of the Porter's Garden. Application form for the Friends of the Porter's Garden
Planting and maintenanceMany hands make light work and it is very satisfying and enjoyable to see the results. There are a variety of tasks, from digging to weeding to transplanting young plants. A garden watering rota has been arranged for the summer but volunteers are always needed for Tuesdays and Saturdays. We have hose-pipes and sprinklers laid around the garden to make the task easier, so please contact me on 023 9286 3799 if you have any spare time and can help in any way.
AwardsThe Friends of the Porter's Garden had pleasure in receiving awards in the Portsmouth and Southsea in Bloom competition, an initiative sponsored by Portsmouth City Council.
2003 Best Historic Garden
Opening timesThe garden is open to the public all year (except 25 December):
April to October - 10.00am to 5.30pm; and
Free entryEntry to the Porter's Garden, the Historic Dockyard itself, and the shops and restaurant, is free (except on occasional days).
To check that entry is free on the day you wish to visit please call:
LocationThe Porter's Garden is situated on the right just inside Victory Gate of Portsmouth Dockyard, at the corner of Queen Street and the Hard map (www.StreetMap.co.uk new window), which is a five minute walk from Portsmouth Harbour rail station, the bus station at the Hard and Gosport Ferry.
How to get to the Porter's GardenHow to get to the Porter's Garden in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (new window) Historic Dockyard site.
AccommodationFor somewhere to stay - hotels, guest houses, bed & breakfast, self catering, camping and caravans:
Portsmouth Visitor Information Service (new window).
ContactDr Ann V Coats, Coordinator
The Friends of the Porter's Garden
44 Lindley Avenue
Southsea PO4 9NU
Phone/Fax: +44 (0)23 9286 3799