One of my favourite things about visiting new places is discovering all of the history surrounding it. And by all the history, I really mean all! Terrace Gardens Richmond was no exception. I mean, who knew that a former brickworks could be transformed into such a majestic garden? And who knew that a statue could cause so much outrage in the local community!
Although it’s said that Paris is seriously lacking in Green space, this definitely isn’t the case for London. To be honest, when walking around London, you’d struggle to find an area without a green space nearby! This being the case, London also happens to be one of the best cities to spot those autumn tones…
A little way down the Thames from infamous Ham House lies Terraces Gardens Richmond. Think rose beds, meandering cobbled walks and the most perfectly situated terrace bar. Furthermore, the gardens offer views over the city like no other. From the Terrace Gardens, you can see all the way to Windsor Castle! Oh, and did I mention that the terrace is free to visit?
History of Terrace Gardens Richmond
Originally the site of a brickworks, the terraces have been a park since 1887. Shortly after the brickworks was demolished, a number of well-to-do houses were built on the grounds of the park. Although these have been sadly demolished, the gardens are still home to an ice house, a Victorian greenhouse, a statue of a river god and more formal garden spaces than you can gaze at once.
The peaceful and tranquil park of Terrace Gardens Richmond is definitely not where you’d expect to find controversy! I mean, what could possibly be offensive about a fountain and some ancient oaks?
Well, the crown jewel of the garden has got to be the deceptively deep pool at the centre of formal shrubberies.During WWII, the original iron railings and fountain were removed and melted down for military use. Following the war, it was decided that the original fountain needed a replacement.
Cue: a statue of Aphrodite by Alan Howe (also known as Bulbous Betty!). She is so called because upon her arrival in Richmond in 1952, she was seen as scandalous. Instead of the classical Aphrodite that the residents of Richmond expected, Bulbous Betty was installed.
Sculpted in a modern style that was deemed ‘too modern‘ by local residents and councilors, outrage soon ensued. It’s reported that the editor of Richmond and Twickenham Times received up to 84 letters of complaint about the Aphrodite statue. Bulbous Betty was just one of the many rude nicknames given to the Aphrodite statue. The name stuck.
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