A bit of history.
Find out more here www.dellpark.blogspot.com
The Dell was originally the course of the Milverton Brook but when the growing spa town of Leamington needed a good direct road to Warwick in the 1820’s the dip down to the brook was too steep and muddy for carriages so a bridge was built across it. The stonework of the old bridge is still clearly visible today on the side of Warwick Place opposite the Dell. Later the stream was culverted but the Dell remained in private hands until 1945 when ownership passed to Leamington Corporation. It was officially opened as a public park on 12th May 1948.
At that time the Dell was laid out with flowerbeds and paths, as the photograph below shows, but over the years it gradually became neglected. The flowerbeds were grassed over as an economy measure, but the outline of the paths and beds can still be seen, especially in dry weather. The Dell began to acquire a rather unsavoury reputation until recently when Friends of the Dell started a campaign to improve the quality of the Dell and make it an attractive amenity for all local residents to enjoy in peace.
The Dell in 1948
The so-called “Mosque” in 1956 . It was originally built as a summer-house in the early 1900s. The stone came from the demolished “Pepper Pot” chapel which stood at the corner of Milverton Terrace and Warwick New Road. After the public opening of the Dell it was converted into a shed to store equipment.
Fifteen men – and women – went to mow back in May 1971. Members of Save Leamington Action Movement (SLAM) brought their own old rotary mowers to protest at the poor maintenance of the Dell. The beauty spot had been changed into a children’s play area 18 months earlier and protesters were concerned it was being neglected as the then borough council prepared a proposal to build a road on it. But news of the demonstration leaked out and the council mowed the area before the protestors could arrive. The protesters went ahead regardless, claiming the grass had not been cut properly. SLAM had formed a month earlier at a public meeting and dedicated itself to preserving the old houses and trees of Leamington and improving the environment.
A Party in the early 1970’s. This party still happens every May time and all are welcome.
In October 2006 Gals began work at the Dell following a suggestion from a local Councillor, Bill Gifford, and after talking to Warwick District Council and Friends of the Dell. The Dell had been a park for a number of years and was a small oasis in the middle of the busy town, but it had become intimidating, neglected, and was overgrown with bindweed and brambles. WDC’s resources were limited and they were not able to provide extra help to clear and replant the Dell. Gals stepped in to clear and replant raising funds where necessary. They have maintained the gardens continuously from 2006 to date and in 2012 were honoured with the Queens Award For Volunteer Groups for their work here and at other places in the town.
Modern planting done by GALS who look after the gardens.