Cllr Will Salmon Updates us on Onslow Jubilee Gardens

June 17, 2021 5:47 PM
By Cllr Will Salmon

Jubilee Gardens is not the best-known landmark in Onslow Village. For the last few years you could be forgiven for thinking of it as an unremarkable patch of wilderness nestling between the village phone box (now a community library) and the driveway to the recreation ground.

But if you look closer at the plaque on the stone wall between the benches you will learn that these gardens were originally leased to the Community by Guildford Borough Council (then Guildford Corporation) in June 1977 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth.

Colourful flower beds were looked after by residents for a number of years, but at some point the regular maintenance became less regular, the lease expired and the area became an overgrown patch of ivy and weeds, lacking in shape or definition.

All that is set to change with work already started on a revitalisation of Jubilee Gardens by the Onslow Village Residents Association (OVRA) in a project led energetically by Angela Joule and Steve Mills, along with support from Lib Dem ward councillors and Guildford Borough Council. Already the team has removed the overgrown weeds and ivy (except in trees which must be left alone for bird nesting season) and GBC Parks team have taken away huge amounts of green waste and given excellent advice on suitable plants for the new beds. Onslow Jubilee Gaden OVRA

Last Monday 7th June, I joined a crew of volunteers (see photo from L to R : Brendan O'Dwyer, myself, Ray Briggs, Steve Mills, Neil and Caroline Munson) in digging earth and laying out dozens of felled tree trunks that will form the perimeter boundary of the planting beds. We also laid a membrane to prevent future weeds from getting into the bedding area. It was a great morning, and I was introduced to some gardening techniques that I have never seen before (I thought pick-axes were only for mining!).

Next steps will be the actual planting, and OVRA are sourcing a variety of shrubs, plants and flowers to make a visually stunning garden to be ready by late Summer. A special mention to Squires and to Daniel Lowe Tree Surgeons for their generous support to this initiative. The wooden benches and stone walls will also receive a long-overdue steam clean, and a new plaque will be installed to celebrate the Centenary of Onslow Village.

Last year, Onslow Village marked 100 years since its creation. In 1920, the 5th Earl of Onslow sold the land at a fraction of its market value to help establish a 'garden city' and provide working families with decent housing following the First World War. Today, the village with its distinctive cottages and beech hedges remains true to Ebenezer Howard's Garden City vision, and residents such as the Onslow Village Residents Association take great pride in keeping the community spirit alive through events, talks, and activities all year round.

Due to Coronavirus, last year's planned celebrations of Onslow's Centenary were cancelled. So, just like the Olympics and the Euros, it is happening this year instead and will be even better!

OVRA are planning for a special party in September to celebrate the Centenary and we are hoping to have the Mayor/Deputy Mayor attend to officially open the newly revitalised Jubilee Gardens. The party will be a family occasion in the spirit of the original Jubilee celebrations that would have originally taken place back in 1977!