An exciting new era has commenced for one of the town’s hidden treasures as a project to restore Bohemia Walled Garden reaches its conclusion.
The garden dates from 1831 and is one of the last remaining parts of Bohemia House and Bohemia Estate, built by Waster Brisco.
In 2008 a group of local people approached Hastings Borough Council to use the garden as a community garden. One of the lease conditions was that Bohemia Walled Garden Association would obtain funds to reinstate the East wall, knocked down during the great hurricane of 1987.
In April 2016 a Heritage Lottery Grant of £97,000 was allocated for the ‘Restoration and development of the Victorian Walled garden for heritage, learning and enjoyment’.
The restoration of the East wall and construction and a short path was completed on June 27 this year,
The project has included open events, natural history events and resources, a history booklet, horticulture workshops, signage an information board, and way-markers to the garden.
The last Heritage Lottery funded event will be on Traditional skills and a Celebration of the project on Sunday October 21.
The second edition of the booklet, a film of the ‘wall build’ and ‘Nature’ resources on the web site will complete the project.
The Contractor for the Restoration was local man Michael Blanch. Michael worked constantly with the Bohemia Walled Garden Association, Hastings Borough Council and the Structural Engineer Roger Bunny to consider the structure of the existing wall and methods to join the new wall to the leaning existing wall. This resulted in extra funding being requested from HBC, postponement of the wall build to 2018.
The path was laid on June 15 and builders left the garden on June 27 having completed the wall and path constructions in record time. The builders worked mostly ten to twelve hour days, six days a week to make that happen. A total of 16,000 handmade imperial bricks were blended together to match existing walling. Construction also involved 15 tonnes of lime mortar and 5,000 litres of water.
The Association trustees and members are delighted with the wall build. The wall looks artistically pleasing, and the joins intricately made.
Bohemia Garden Association Trustees and members acknowledge and thank: The Heritage Lottery Fund; Michael Blanch and his team; Hastings Borough Council The Estates Department and Open Spaces Department; Roger Bunny Structural Engineer; Nick Hennessy HBC Ranger and Hastings Voluntary Action. Visit bohemiawga.org.uk.