leasoweswalledgarden.co.uk

Leasowes Walled Garden

Restoration

The Restoration of the Leasowes Walled Garden is a unique opportunity within Halesowen. Never before has a community based conservation group taken ownership of an historic site with a view to returning it to its former glory. Such ambition is accompanied by daunting challenges, including raising the money for the project and ensuring the site has a sustainable future. Surprisingly to some, the planning restrictions imposed upon development of the site are not, at this stage, seen as a major obstacle. As owners, with policies of ensuring that the Walled Garden is protected for public benefit in perpetuity and is restored to the highest possible standards, we aim to exceed the expectations dictated by the Walled Garden's position within the Grade 1 Listed Leasowes Park and as part of a Conservation Area.


Our 21st Century opportunity to restore the Walled Garden may not have arisen if Halesowen Urban District Council had not purchased the Leasowes for £8,000 on the 25th April 1934. Local legend has it that the Council were concerned by the prospect of surrounding industrial and residential uses encroaching upon the site. Their fears were understandable and built development would certainly have been the case without the Council’s timely intervention. Nevertheless, It was a brave and expensive decision to secure the area for public benefit. On today’s values the price that the Council paid would be equivalent to £500,000, but as property values have outstripped financial inflation, it can be estimated that the Leasowes would today achieve in excess of £3,000,000 on the open market.

Looking at the uses of the Leasowes from the late 19th Century to the point of purchase by the Council, we can see that the use of it by the Anstey Physical Training College for young women, between 1897 and 1905, and then by Halesowen Golf Club from 1906 to the present day, were all fortuitous in saving it from a disastrous fate.

In 1934, Walled Gardens were not appreciated for their historic and public amenity value and therefore the Council used it in utilitarian fashion as an Horticultural Nursery for the Parks Department. Thus far we have not been successful in locating any records or photographs pertaining to the site during the period of Council ownership and control for the 50 year period to 1984.