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History of the Garden

Known as the Scented Walled Garden, it is laid out as a traditional Victorian "Old English" style walled garden with rose bushes, rose arches and exotic herbaceous beds. The Walled Garden, in Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith, west London, is on an ancient site called Palingswick Manor.  It  was originally the kitchen garden of the moated manor house built in 1650 which was sold to Thomas Corbett in 1747. He changed the name to Raven's Court (a pun on his coat-of-arms which depicted a raven - corbeau in French). In 1812 the manor was owned by George Scott, the builder who developed St Peter's Square, and the garden laid out by leading landscape designer, Humphry Repton. In 1890 the manor house became Hammersmith's first  public library but was unfortunately bombed during World War Two.

Even older  historical connections with the park's location date back to 14th century medieval times and links with the court of Edward III when the house was owned by his mistress, Alice Perrers (after whom a nearby road is named).

Garden Design

The Walled Garden is the original kitchen garden of the Ravenscourt manor house. When the estate became a public park in 1888 the London County Council’s Head of Parks, Lt Col J. J Sexby, laid out the 30 acres of grounds and designed the walled garden in a traditional Victorian “Old English” style with rose beds, pergolas, rose arches and exotic herbaceous beds featuring yuccas, giant poppies, irises and gunnera. It is bordered below the wall with shrubs and scented plants such as lavender and honeysuckle.

The elaborate wrought iron decorative gates with scroll detailing are Grade 11 listed and date from the early 18th century, a survival from the former estate. The walls demonstrate good quality 18th century brickwork. For more details see entry in Historic England.

A Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ grant was used to restore two of the herbaceous flowerbeds, while an earlier grant from the Western Riverside Environment Fund transformed the disused goldfish pond into a central feature with an armillary sundial, to coincide with the 125th anniversary of the park being opened to the public. 

In 2003 the Walled Garden was awarded the Nancye Goulden Award by the Hammersmith Society in recognition of the conservation work, in particular the support from Ravenscourt Park head gardener. 

The-Friends-of-Ravenscourt-Park_dca1061_

Links to medieval times and  the Sun Queen

Alice Perrers,  known as the "Sun Queen" under the patronage of King Edward III in the 14th century, owned the moated Palingswick Manor.  A local road, Perrers Road, is named after Alice Perrers. A contemporary account (1377) describes the manor as comprising 40 acres of land and 60 acres of pasture with halls, chaples, stables, granges, gardens and orchards. 

Historical fiction recounts how Alice Perrers would arrive by barge on the River Thames from Westminster to spend time at the Palingswick estate. She became one of the wealthiest and influential women in England in the late 1300's owning over 56 manors across England.

It was during Edward III's reign that the UK faced the ravages of the Black Death, a bubonic plague which killed 45% of the English population. Quarantine and hygiene measures were imposed and ports closed as the country was locked down to control the epidemic. A prescient history for the current 21st century Covid-19 pandemic some seven centuries later.

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