RHS Bridgewater is planned to open in 2019. It will be the society’s fifth garden, their second in the North, joining Harlow Carr at Harrogate. For those expecting or hoping it would be in the Midlands there is disappointment, not so the case for garden lovers of the North-West. The new RHS Bridgewater garden will occupy the site of the former Worsley New Hall. It is adjacent to the Bridgewater Canal just eight miles from Manchester City centre on the outskirts of Salford. It is speculated that naming it RHS Bridgewater in place of RHS Worsley, was to avoid confusion with RHS Wisley.
The initial phase will include the restoration of the eleven acre walled garden. Designer Tom Stuart-Smith will provide the master plan for the new garden. As little of the original grand garden landscaping remains, he will effectively have a blank canvas for the 156 acre site.
Worsley New Hall
Built in the 1840’s for the first Earl of Ellesmere, the Gothic styled mansion cost nearly £7 million in today’s money. The gardens were just as grand as the house comprising of terraces decorated with ornate fountains. The estate was at its peak in the 1850’s when it had two visits by Queen Victoria. Sadly the early twentieth century was not kind. The hall served as a hospital in the first world war. It fell into disrepair after the family departed and then demolished in 1943. The once beautifully landscaped grounds returned to nature.