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Dagnams Stables/Walled  -    Garden/Round Pond

The map detail below shows the central area of the park as it was in 1919. (scroll down to the end to see an even more detailed map from the late 1800's) The stables to the north-east of Dagnams are shown surrounding the courtyard area (coloured khaki).
The photograph below was taken in the direction of the yellow arrow standing on the green spot in about 1948. The bell tower is also marked yellow.

The wall that surrounded the garden only exists below ground level. But the concrete round pond once thought to be a "bathing pool" but now believed to be a dipping pool used for watering the gardens is still there. The walls to the garden and the stables and ancillary buildings were demolished later than the mansion in about 1959. As can be seen from the map they surrounded the garden on three sides, with the south-western end being mainly buildings. Along the north west facing wall large greenhouses were present. It is not known when they were built but they were in a state of disrepair by 1959. Behind the north-east wall stood a row of four Walnut trees, which were trained to hang over the wall. Because of their precarious angle, over the years they have all collapsed. In 1974 three were dead on the ground and only one was alive and still standing. There was no sign of them in 2005 A Mulberry tree was still present in 2006 along the south east wall near the site of the small side gate. It was trained in the same fashion over the wall; it is on it's side in poor condition but in good years still bears fruit.

It was traditional for farm houses to have a Walnut tree and they may still be present on the estate (2005); there was one near the Community Centre/Citizens Advice Centre (Gooshays Farm) until 2006. Pyrgo Priory School Playground (Dagnam Park Farm) and The Red House (Harold Hill House) also used to glory in one each. There may be others still alive; The Morris Dancer is a good bet.

***** There is another local walled garden at Bedfords Park. Well worth a visit,

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The Round pond puzzled me for many years. I had always assumed it was an ornamental fish pond. Though the four steps down into the pool were hard to explain. It never occurred to me that it was a bathing pool until I read Lady Dorina Neave's nostalgic account in. Twenty Six Years On The Bosphorus; she wrote.......

" On the eve of my departure I lingered in the old walled-in garden before the troops came into the house. A hallowed spot! It dated back to Charles II's time, and through the wrought-iron gates could be seen a vision of pink roses, growing in profusion. They have always been my favourite flower, and the Rev. Pemberton Barnes named a fine specimen he brought out 'Dorina' after me; it was grown right down the border to the bathing pool, where our famous Stone dog appeared to guard the Rose Garden, as it stood reflected in the pool like hammered silver. At sunset, as the sun sank behind the trees, it seemed to me a sign of farewell as it faded out if sight, while the frogs croaked 'Good-bye', and the bats at dusk swept down as if to give me a parting salute"

It then becomes clear the steps are for the bathers. Alongside the pool a small brick built shelter/changing facility is shown on earlier maps.

"See for yourself, go at sunset, you might see the stone dog and, if in June even catch the scent of roses"

Del Smith

"STOP PRESS. 2018 Don Tait has recently uncovered evidence that at least some walled gardens had pools incorporated. They were known as Dipping pools or ponds. Dipping Pools were used as a water resource for irrigating the garden and were usually fed by underground springs or land drains. Research is ongoing. Although Dorina Neave's reference to it as a bathing pool is the only direct evidence we have for it's use Dorina was by no means infallible in her knowledge of Dagnam's history. It may be that the Round Pond was used for several purposes throughout it's history

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The photo leftwas supplied by the City of London Corporation. It was spotted by the Secretary of the FODP Alan York who bought it to my attention. The photographer's perspective makes the round pond look much larger than it really is. I played on the site many times in about 1959 and I remember it all well apart from the building on the edge of the dipping pool (round pond). The photo was taken in about 1948-50.      Del Smith.

The image opposite is cropped from a larger aerial photo taken in October 1951. The picture was taken low down from the south leading to some distortion of relative widths and lengths The dark "horse shoe" shape in the middle is the group of Yew trees that once surrounded the servants' quarters. The pale area in the middle is the site of the mansion which had been demolished by October. The round pond can be seen marked in blue and the walls of the garden can be seen clearly.

FODP are grateful to http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/ for the photo.

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In November 2015 members of FODP in association with Havering Council started work on clearing soil and vegetation from the old stable block. Below a series of photos taken by Don Tait, the first was taken prior to starting work and the following four were taken during the first weekend's work clearing the old stables' court yard on the 22nd and 23rd November 2015.

It has been a long term ambition of the Friends of Dagnam Park to clear the yard of the former stable block to the Dagnam's estate of the vegetation that now covers it so that its historical significance can be better understood. Now working with the cooperation of the London Borough of Havering parks department and having received the okay from Havering's Historic Buildings & Landscape officer the Friends of Dagnam Park started work on this project in November 2015.   .  For a full report of the Project click here

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