Jersey Gardens are linear public gardens laid out in 1930/31 when the area was developed. Gravel from the future site of the gardens had been extracted for the construction of the Great West Road in 1920-25. Its name derives from the Earls of Jersey, who owned the nearby Osterley Park estate. The original layout of the gardens featured a substantial sunken rock garden planted extensively with alpine plants; a small central garden with grass, trees, shrubs and circular shelter; tennis courts and children's playing field, later a playground. In 1936 a bowling green was opened to the west.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/11/2007
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Jersey Gardens were created when the area was rapidly developing, prior to which it was rural, with land generally used for agriculture and market gardening. The Great West Road was constructed in 1920-25 to relieve the congestion along Brentford High Street, and the late 1920s and 1930s saw increasing development, with iconic Art Deco factories built along the route, and Osterley Station opened in 1934. With the housing development the local Board for Heston and Isleworth recognised the need to provide recreational facilities and in 1927 applied to the Ministry of Health to borrow £2000 in order to purchase 5 acres of land for public open space. Jersey Gardens was laid out in 1930-31, and comprised 6.25 acres of 'extensive alpine gardens planted with thousands of alpine plants, shrubs and trees'. It derives its name from the Earls of Jersey, who owned the nearby Osterley Park estate (q.v.).
The gardens were designed by William McDonald Campbell (1900-64), who in January 1927 had been appointed Parks Superintendent for Heston and Isleworth UDC, later to become the Borough of Heston and Isleworth in 1932. The main area was sunken, also known as The Dell, as a result of gravel and sand extraction for the construction of the Great West Road. This provided an opportunity for a substantial rock garden to be created, designed by Campbell. Campbell's initial proposals included winding footpaths on either side of the rockery, with alpine planting and a lily pond, the latter replaced by a lake in a subsequent proposal, but this was finally omitted as the gardens had no through flow of water. He also proposed a shelter and mound with a circular platform of seats from which to view the gardens. His final proposal continued the alpine gardens with grassy glades along the lower levels and included bringing in 350 tonnes of stone from either Cheddar Gorge or Westmorland limestone. The design was approved by the Parks and Open Spaces Committee set up in 1928, and construction began in 1930; the rock garden was completed by March 1931 and the circular shelter by June 1931. However, planting of the small central garden was not completed until after Campbell had left his job in March 1932.
Although a formal opening on 18 July 1931 was proposed, this did not take place for financial reasons, but the new gardens were much praised. The local Middlesex Chronicle described it as 'an extraordinary transformation of what had been an eyesore and little more than a dust heap'. Facilities in the new gardens included not only rustic shelters and the pavilion on the higher ground, but also 4 hard tennis courts and a hockey pitch. In 1936 a library and bowling green were opened to the west of the gardens and separated by an access road and detached villa. The children's playing field later became a playground, built on top of a WWII air raid shelter.
Today a planted alleyway separates the much overgrown rockery area from the small central garden, which has grass, a peripheral walk, trees, shrubs and seats. The trees are well-grown and the garden has numerous conifers, with grass and linear paths running through the site.
Heston Park opening programme (1933); Hazel Conway 'William McDonald Campbell and the design of Jersey Gardens, Hounslow', The London Gardener, vol. 13, 2007/8