Gatton Park’s historic lily pond in Reigate is being restored to its ‘former glory’


Work has begun to restore Gatton Park’s historic lily pond to its former glory. The stunning centerpiece of the rock garden was built in 1912, when the park was owned by mustard tycoon Sir Jeremiah Colman. However, it gradually fell into disuse in the 1950s.

The Gatton Trust is restoring the park, designed by English landscaper Lancelot “Capability” Brown and located in Reigate, including the Japanese garden and rockery. But for a decade, the lily pond has been stubbornly leaking, despite all efforts to fix the problem.

The rock garden and lily pond were built by J Pulham & Sons, who created a dramatic rock escarpment with naturalistic pools. The company invented and patented Pulhamite, an artificial rock substance that simulates the characteristics of natural stone and is widely used in the Gatton Park rock garden.

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However, the recipe went to the grave with James Pulham, making restoration all the more difficult. Now Pulham specialists Alan Bishop and Associates have been brought in to help.

The pond has been temporarily reduced to a quagmire, but soon work will begin to install a waterproof concrete floor and sealed walls. The work should last several weeks.

Gatton Park is open to the public on the first Sunday of each month, along with special events.

Once the pond is filled and plant life restored, it will once again become the impressive centerpiece of the Gatton Park rock garden. The estate is being restored by the Gatton Trust and is home to the Royal Alexandra and Albert School.

All proceeds support the care and conservation of our heritage and our learning and community programs. Gatton Park is open to the public on the first Sunday of every month as well as for special events.

It is around 600 acres and 260 of these are managed by The Gatton Trust – the rest being owned by The National Trust. On Sunday June 5, Gatton Park will mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a picnic in the park. Details and tickets are available here.

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