29th September 2013 marked the 400th anniversary of the opening of the New River and Andrew Turvey, Head Gardener, decided that the occassion should be celebrated at Myddelton House Gardens. After all the house had been named after Sir Hugh Myddelton.
The New River was constructed by Sir Hugh Myddelton between 1609 and 1613 to carry fresh water to the City of London. The Garnault family, who owned a large estate around Bulls Cross, had invested a lot of money in the project and they asked for a loop of the river to run through the garden. It continued to flow through the garden until the 1960's. After Mr Bowles death in 1954 the Royal Free Hospital was responsible for the House, upper garden and playing fields and did not want to continue with the costly maintenance so it was filled in using soil dug out from the building of the Victoria underground line between 1962 and 1968. The New River Lawn as we know it today follows the course of the loop.
Whenever a celebration is planned the work starts months before the actual day as it was for this occassion. It was decided that a miniature version of the river would run through the Tulip Terrace. Excavations began in June 2013, photo 1. The beds were planted with blue lobelia and grass formed the banks, photo 2 (July 2013). They continued to flower through the summer, photo 3 (Aug 2013).
Work began on the excavations under the bridge at the far end of the lawn in early September, photo 4 (3 Sep 2013). Andrew had decided that a pool of water should be constructed under the bridge to show how the river would have looked back in the days when it flowed through the garden. When the day arrived we found to our great delight that Andrew had added to this illusion by spraying the New River Lawn blue, photos 5, 6 and 7 (29 Sep 2013). It was a stroke of genius and was a great success. The beds on the Tulip Terrace were also sprayed as because of the very hot summer the display hadn't lasted until the big day, photos 8 and 9 (29 Sep 2013). Note that the little bridge was guarded by replica ostriches as well.
After an introduction to the event by Andrew Turvey. Our president, Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles, unveiled the new addition to the garden, photos 10 and 11 (Sep 2013). A human chain was then formed by all the visitors to the event to bring water to the pond, photo 12 (Sep 2013). It was great fun and everyone joined in, photos 13, 14 and 15 (Sep 2013). Again, please note the attention to detail in that Mr Bowles silhouette is on all the buckets.
It was a very enjoyable afternoon and now when you walk past the bridge and the deep, dark pool of water you will know why it is there, photo 16.
Stay safe and keep well