‘Rock beds’ in North Parade, Aberystwyth: No. 1 of an occasional series on the Lost Civic Gardens of Ceredigion

We are delighted to present another guest blog by John Wiles.

22 03 2019 030

North Parade in 2019. Photograph by John Wiles.

ADX1652 North Parade with rock beds

Valentine’s postcard, 1934 (part of collection ref. ADX/1652)

At first glance this postcard, registered in 1934, appears to show labourers at work on rubble piles between the trees along the northern side of North Parade. On closer inspection low fences can be seen and the ‘piles’ can be recognised as rockeries, the ‘labourers’ being council gardeners engaged in planting them up.

ADX1652 North Parade with rock beds crop

The rockeries were also recorded in the Ordnance Survey resurvey of 1937.

OS 1938 2

Cardiganshire VI.9, revision of 1937

There was fierce competition between resort towns in the interwar years, each seeking to attract visitors by providing up-to-the-minute attractions. Lunar Park on Constitution Hill had been one such and Elysian Grove, at the bottom of Penglais Hill, another. The North Parade rockeries were a humbler expression of the same keen competition, rock gardens being all the rage at the beginning of the 1930s (The Alpine Garden Society was founded in 1929 and its first collecting tour, in 1933, was to Snowdonia). The rock-terraced area above the drive in the grounds of the National Library of Wales had been established by 1932 and may have been contemporary.

ADX1652 North Parade without rock beds

Valentine’s postcard, 1948 (part of collection ref. ADX/1652)

22-03-2019-029.jpg

North Parade, 2019. Photograph by John Wiles.

The rockeries may have been removed during the Second World War and are absent from a second postcard, registered in 1948. The message on the back of the earlier card states that it was ‘taken some time ago when the rock beds were there’.

To be continued – maybe…

[John Wiles]

22 03 2019 032

North Parade in 2019. Photograph by John Wiles.

22 03 2019 034

North Parade in 2019. Photograph by John Wiles.

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