Morrab Gardens

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Morrab Gardens
Penzance, Morrab Gardens 01.jpg
LocationPenzance, Cornwall
CoordinatesCoordinates: 50°06′58″N 5°32′13″W / 50.116°N 5.537°W / 50.116; -5.537
Area1.2 ha (3.0 acres)
Operated byCornwall Council
StatusOpen daylight hours all year

Morrab Gardens are a municipal garden covering 1.2 ha (3.0 acres) to the south of Penzance town centre, Cornwall. It is known for its Mediterranean and sub-tropical plants; and for housing the Morrab Library in the grounds.

Morrab House with its walled garden was built in 1841 for brewer Samuel Pidwell. The house is described as "...a large stucco villa in the Georgian manner with columned porch". Shortly after the Pidwell family moved to Portugal the property was purchased by Charles Campbell Ross banker, and Member of Parliament for the St Ives Constituency.[1] In September 1881, Ross advertised Morrab House for rent. There was also, a cottage suitable for a coachman or gardener, stables for three horses, a conservatory with a hot water apparatus, a dairy, coach-house, lawn, fruit and flower gardens, lawn and meadow land.[2] Morrab House was auctioned on 29 August 1887 and was purchased for £2,800 by Mr King, who was Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools for the district. At that time a tenant was paying £115 rent for the house and 2.75 acres (1.11 ha) of gardens and meadow.[3][4]

On 16 July 1888 the house and walled gardens was bought by the Corporation of Penzance for £3,120 and tenders for the design of the garden was advertised nationally. The winning prize was £21, with ten guineas for second place plus two other prizes. Entrants came from all over the country with ten plans exhibited and four winners chosen. Reginald Upcher, a landscape gardener of Portland Place, London was commissioned, to develop the grassy fields sloping down to the sea, into a municipal park. Robert Vetch of Exeter came second. The original design is held in the County Record Office, Truro and the garden follows faithfully Upcher's plan. They opened on 27 September 1889 with a half day holiday and a procession through the streets.[5]

In the same year the Penzance Library (now known as the Morrab Library) secured a lease as tenants and moved to Morrab House from the municipal buildings.[6] The garden is now in the ownership of Cornwall Council and features some Grade II Listed Buildings including a Victorian bandstand, fountain and Boer war memorial.[7]


The bandstand in Morrab Gardens
  1. ^ "Morrab Gardens Penzance A Free Access Public Garden". Retrieved 2015-07-12.
  2. ^ "Morrab House, Penzance". The Cornishman (167). 22 September 1881. p. 1.
  3. ^ "Penzance, Cornwall". The Cornishman (473). 28 July 1887. p. 1.
  4. ^ "Morrab House, Penzance". West Briton. 10 November 1887. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  5. ^ Holland-Hall, F (2007). Robert Trenoweth (ed.). The Cornish Garden. Cornwall Garden Society. pp. 197–204.
  6. ^ Pool, P. A. S. (1974) The History of the Town and Borough of Penzance, Penzance: Corporation of Penzance
  7. ^ "Morrab Gardens". Cornwall Council. 10 June 2011. Archived from the original on 19 December 2011.

External links[edit]

Media related to Morrab Gardens, Penzance at Wikimedia Commons