Bagthorpe Gardens


Heritage Category:
Park and Garden
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Bagthorpe Gardens, Hucknall Road, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire


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Statutory Address:
Bagthorpe Gardens, Hucknall Road, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

City of Nottingham (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


A group of mid-C19 detached town gardens.

Reasons for Designation

Bagthorpe Gardens, a group of 1842 detached town gardens, are designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: *Rarity: they are a significant surviving example of a once abundant but now extremely rare type of garden, of which there are only four other registered examples; *Historic interest: they are of considerable historic interest, representing a social movement formulated by the Cottage Garden Society and Chartist Land Company in response to the particular economic circumstances of the second quarter of the C19; *Survival of layout: despite the loss of half the plots to housing development, those that do survive represent the core of the original gardens established in 1842 and their layout still reflects the original design.


In the late C18 and early C19 many larger towns had groups of small rented gardens ringed around the densely developed town centre. These gardens were typically subdivided by hedges into individual plots of between an eighth and a sixth of an acre, which were used to grow a mixture of productive and ornamental plants (Lambert 1994). The expansion of the towns in the C19 destroyed the majority of C18 rented garden sites, but a number of gardens of similar size and function were laid out in the first half of the C19, including Hill Close Gardens in Warwick, Stoney Road Allotments in Coventry, Westbourne Road Town Gardens in Edgbaston, Birmingham, and Hunger Hill Gardens, Stonepit Coppice Gardens and Gorseyclose Gardens, a group of sites in Nottingham. All these gardens are registered at Grade II*, except Westbourne Road Town Gardens which are registered at Grade II. The founding of Bagthorpe Gardens in Nottingham originated in two different objectives for alleviating the plight of the framework knitters and lace-makers during the depression of the 1840s. The first was the Cottage Garden Plan expounded by James Orange, joint pastor of Barker Gate chapel, in his pamphlet 'A Plea for the Poor' (1841). Orange envisioned an allotment garden for each family, a quarter of an acre in size, with a brick-built bothy, including a fireplace and enough room for a small bed, to enable overnight stays away from the overcrowded city. This size of allotment was intended to be no more than supplementary to the principal industrial occupation of Nottingham’s workers. It was a form of social insurance as Orange calculated that a quarter of an acre could support a family for thirteen weeks during a period of depression in trade. The second objective was that of the Chartist Land Company, founded by the orator and radical Feargus O’Connor, who used the subscriptions to buy land for smallholdings with cottages to accommodate poor workers. Some landowners rented out portions of land for the creation of allotment gardens, especially after the benefits to the cottagers became apparent. The incidents of poaching decreased, as did attendance in the alehouses, and the cottages increased in comfort and cleanliness.

Bagthorpe Gardens was created in 1842 when Ichabod Wright of Mapperley Hall made land available on his enclosure award plot 174 for sixty allotment gardens, a quarter of an acre in size. Most gardens had a brick-built bothy with a pantile-clad roof, timber-clad interiors with a cooking range, and wells or cisterns outside for water. Over the years some of the Bagthorpe gardens have been lost to housing. The Ordnance Survey (OS) map of 1882 shows that to the south of Haydn Road the gardens consisted of four rows containing between twelve to sixteen plots, mostly of the same size except for a few double plots. Along the western edge is Bagthorpe Cottage which was built in the 1820s and is thought perhaps to have been used as a keeper’s house for the gardens. The building has since been extended and is now a nursing home. To the north of Haydn Road there are approximately twenty-four more plots of different sizes, laid out with less regularity, which were added c1870. Almost all the plots have a bothy and a small number have glasshouses. There is no change shown on the 1901 OS map, but by the time of the publication of the 1915 OS map the gardens to the north of Haydn Road have been built over, leaving approximately fifty-six gardens to the south of Haydn Road. In the 1920s and 1930s around twenty-three plots along the northern, western, and southern edges were lost to housing, leaving thirty-six remaining gardens out of Bagthorpe’s peak of over eighty. The gardens have remained in cultivation throughout the C20 with some decline in activity in the late C20, although this is now being reversed. Many of the bothies have been lost or rebuilt, and a number of greenhouses and garages have been erected on the site.


LOCATION, SETTING, LANDFORM, BOUNDARIES AND AREA Bagthorpe Gardens are situated approximately 2.8km north-east of the centre of the city of Nottingham. The site comprises approximately 1.9ha and is bounded to the north by Haydn Road, to the east by Devonshire Road, to the west by Hucknall Road, and to the south by a path running east from Hucknall Road. The boundary to the north is formed predominantly by the timber fencing of domestic gardens belonging to the houses on Haydn Road. The boundaries to the east and west are marked mainly by mature hedgerow between the allotment plots and the domestic gardens belonging to the houses on Devonshire Road and Hucknall Road respectively. The boundary to the south is marked by high wire mesh fencing and mature hedgerow. The site slopes upwards from north to south before becoming generally level. In those areas where the sloping topography requires terracing, it is supported by the roots of the hedges. The gardens on the higher ground command views over the nearby houses, but from the surrounding roads Bagthorpe Gardens is effectively hidden from view by the inter-war suburban housing.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES Bagthorpe Gardens are accessed from the north via two entrances on Haydn Road which lead directly to the East and West Avenues. Both entrances are enclosed by modern metal wire fences. From the south, the gardens are accessed via entrances on Clandon Drive and Aubrey Road which are both enclosed by modern steel gates.

GARDENS There are thirty-six gardens of approximately a quarter of an acre, laid out in three rows from north to south. They are divided by two paths, known as the East and West Avenues, the former running between the second and third rows, and the latter running along the western edge of the first row. There are some C20 garages located approximately halfway along both avenues. Each garden is typically enclosed by a hedge consisting predominantly of hawthorn with some native privet and other native species, such as holly. All but two of the original plot boundaries remain. The entrances to the gardens are through a single gate, timber door or reused domestic door, which lead from one of the two avenues. Most of the gardens remain in cultivation, and a range of fruit trees, some mature, including plum, apple and pear, are planted throughout the site. A variety of layouts is found in the rectangular plots; and the paths in some, such as plots 53 and 62, correspond to those shown on the 1882 OS map. Ponds have been created in plots 27 and 53, and a small number of greenhouses and timber sheds have been built on other plots. Around thirteen of the single-storey, red-brick C19 bothies survive with varying degrees of intactness. They are small, unadorned buildings, mostly with pitched roofs, a door, and a window on two sides. Some have been rebuilt using the original bricks, and their roof coverings, doors and windows have mostly been replaced. Around three of them retain their C19 fireplaces, whilst the bothy in plot 62 has a range, and that in plot 23 retains its internal timber cladding. It is claimed that the bothy in plot 44 has survived with the highest degree of intactness. Salvaged bricks and pantiles from ruined bothies are used in some gardens for paths and edging borders.


Books and journals
Lambert, D, Study of Detached Town Gardens, (1994)
Way, T, Allotments, (2008)
Church, R A, 'Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottingham, Vol. 64' in James Orange and the Allotment System in Nottingham, (1960)


This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.

End of official listing

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