a research resource from Stroud Local History Society
Research note by Betty Merrett Copyright
First published in ‘A Millennium Miscellany’ in 2000 by Stroud Local History Society
Until the end of the 19th century there were no public gardens or parks in Stroud. The commons on the
outskirts of the town were places of relaxation.
In 1899 a piece of ground at the end of Horns Road was given to the town for public recreation. Named
Daisy Bank Recreation Ground, it was the gift of Sir John Dorington, local landowner, philanthropist and
former Member of Parliament. A plaque set in the wall records this event. Sadly the original coping stones
topping the boundary wall were stolen recently and have been replaced by concrete capping.
Park Gardens was another gift to the town. Sidney Park was a local businessman and councillor. Parks
Drapery prominently occupied the comer of King Street and George Street where the HSBC bank now
stands. The family lived in a flat over the shop.
Their only son, Herbert, was killed in France in 1917 in W.W.1. aged 23, and in 1920 Councillor Park gave a
tract of land off Slad Road as a garden memorial to his son and all who fell during the 1914-18 war. The
town’s cenotaph stands in the garden.
There is also a small fenced area at the end where children can play with swings, etc., but an original
paddling pool has been removed.
To add to comfort and pleasure, seats and an attractive summer-house of rustic brick and timber were built
near the top of the garden paths.
Another garden oasis lies between the church and busy Lansdown. This was made possible by the public spirited
generosity of Mr. Ernest Winterbotham in 1930.
These mature gardens are behind the 18th century Bank house in the High street. Originally built by
Alderley, a baker, in brick, it is now rendered. It became a private bank and manager’s house founded by the
Winterbothams. When Lloyds occupied it the Winterbotham family retained ownership until 1930 when
Lloyds moved to Kings Street. The Stroud U.D.C. then purchased the house for offices.
At this time Mr. Ernest Winterbotham presented the garden to the town in memory of his parents.
We read that they “were formally opened in the presence of a large and distinguished gathering”. A sundial, the
centrepiece, bore the inscription “Presented to the people of Stroud in memory of Mr. and.Mrs. Edward Winterbotham,
by their three sons. July 1930”.
In 1855 Joseph Watts, the brewer, left Stratford House and estate to his grandson Joseph Watts Hallewell who died in 1891, when the estate and house were known as Stratford Park. The house is of 17th and 18th century construction with a
date stone 1674, and in the grounds an early 19th century ornamental bridge of cast iron.
In 1934 the Stroud U.D.C. bought 56 acres of the estate with mansion house, lakes and arboretum to create
the largest recreation area for the town.
A fine outdoor heated swimming pool was built prior to the 1939 outbreak of war, and since then a leisure
centre with tennis courts, bowling green and play areas have been added. Summer concerts are held in the
The house has a chequered history having been a monastic Christian community of worker-priests, a
nursery, and private apartments. Although a large conservatory/orangery fell into disrepair, an enormous
stone urn has survived. (Since then the urn has been damaged by vandals)
The property is being extensively refurbished to become Stroud’s Museum in the Park.
A research note from the SLHS digital archive added Nov 2014. Copyright