Sheffield Botanical Gardens – a brief history
Sheffield Botanical Gardens had some of the leading experts of the era who were involved in its inception, including the polymath who was heavily involved with Chatsworth house, Joseph Paxton, and the highly regarded 19th century landscape gardener Robert Marnock.
The master cutler of the time, Thomas Dunn, held a public meeting in 1833 after a group of 80 local residents made a petition regarding their concern of the lack of open public spaces and facilities that assisted recreation and self-education within Sheffield. It was decided after the meeting that the Botanical gardens would be developed. In 1834 the local society had managed to raise a whopping £7500 through allocating shares and after taking more practical advice from experts, they bought 18 acres of farmland from the snuff making family, the Wilsons.
Moving forward to the 1950’s
In 1951 the Botanical Gardens management was handed over to the Sheffield Corporation with a 99 year lease for a peppercorn rent of 1 shilling a year! Which was then raised to a massive five p per quarter in 1971. The Council was awarded a grant from the war damage commission and set about repairing the glass domes, and building an aquarium and an aviary and an overall restoration of the Sheffield Botanical Gardens. When a downturn came in the 1980s they saw a big reduction in funding and the gardens again fell into a poor state.
The Botanical Gardens during 1985 to 1996
In 1984, the FOBS (friends of the Botanical Gardens) was formed as an educational group that provided education for the public and also to support the gardens. It was not until 1993 that the volunteer group was formed to help staff care for the gardens on an ongoing basis.
The friends were able to help in many areas but not with the listed structures as these required specialist help and funding to restore and maintain. By this time the Paxtons pavilions were in a poor condition and near collapsing.
This led to the creation of the Sheffield Botanical Gardens trust in 1996 which was mainly aimed at acquiring grants and funding to restore and maintain the historical gardens. In January of that year the heritage lottery fund started its urban parks program. The Sheffield Botanical Gardens made a bid for funding even though Sheffield City Council was not actually in a financial position to match the funding. This was instead left to the two privately created groups.
The gardens formed yet another organisation specifically to bid for the gardens. As a result of much work the gardens was awarded a massive £5.06 million which was matched with £1.2 million in funds raised and almost £410,000 of work done in kind. The Botanical gardens holds various events in Sheffield including weddings and also multiple musical events and gatherings. If you are thinking of having a wedding here and need a Sheffield wedding photographer then please contact us to discuss your plans for an amazing day!