90th Anniversary Celebration

This year Goldsborough Hall is celebrating a milestone in its gardening history. Ninety years ago, on 4th July 1928 HRH Princess Mary and her husband Viscount Lascelles, opened the gardens of their Yorkshire home to the newly formed National Garden Scheme. The NGS was founded in 1927 in England with the aim of "opening gardens of quality, character and interest to the public for charity". That year over 600 private gardens were opened and more than £8,000 was raised.

When Princess Mary opened the gardens the following year she was in very good company. Along with Goldsborough Hall, opening in 1928, were Rode Hall in Cheshire, Knebworth House Gardens, Llysdinam in Powys, the Fellows Garden, Trinity College, Cambridge and Rotherfield Park in Hampshire, all of which are also celebrating their 90th anniversary year.

Since her move to Goldsborough Hall in 1922, Princess Mary and her husband Viscount Lascelles (later the 6th Earl of Harewood) had made quite a few changes to the house and gardens. She created a vista to the south with the planting of the walled terrace and the beech avenue, with herbaceous border centred around a sundial. The Lime Tree Walk, planted by royalty from 1922-1930, was almost complete, with 24 trees out of 34 (and only 10 still to be planted 1928-30). The Emperor of Japan had given Mary some Japanese cherry trees as a wedding gift though they would still have been in their infancy in 1928.

On that opening day in July 1928 she had an overwhelming response. The takings on the day were £180 12s 6d, enough to buy a house these days! And if entry to the gardens was charged at a shilling, that's over 3,600 people! Princess Mary opened the gardens the following two years, until 1930 when she moved to Harewood House, following the death of her father-in-law, the 5th Earl.

The gardens today

Today the gardens can be considered the completion of Princess Mary's vision. The beech hedges lining the herbaceous borders are fully grown and the 34 trees which make up the Lime Tree Walk have matured, as have the Emperor of Japan's cherry trees. The herbaceous borders have been replanted in a Gertrude Jeykll style, the rose garden replanted and a new afternoon tea terrace built in 2012 planted with 'Yorkshire Princess' rose named after Princess Mary. Three British champion trees and one Yorkshire champion tree stand tall over the gardens. In addition, the overgrown woods have been cleared to let the spring bulbs, snowdrops and winter aconites shine through. The glasshouse in the kitchen garden is being rebuilt this year and the veg garden revitalised under by the Hall's highly skilled organic head gardener Mark Waller.

Newspaper articles from the 1920s

Many newspapers from the time reported Princess Mary's love of gardening: 'The gardens at Goldsborough Hall have been considerably improved and enlivened with additional flower beds since her marriage. Roses are among her favourite flowers, and a rose garden is among the new features at Goldsborough, where beds filled with highly coloured flowers extend just outside the windows of the house,' reported the Brisbane Courier in September 1928.

From a friend in Yorkshire, reports the Adelaide Chronicle in 1929, '... the gardens have always been very fine, but Princess Mary has altered them a good deal, and has taken endless trouble to get the best effect with her flowers, so as to have the herbaceous borders in continual bloom.'

Let's hope that after 90 years Princess Mary would approve of her garden at Goldsborough Hall now!

Our 90th anniversary celebrations

The Oglesby family who now own the Hall reopened the gardens for the National Garden Scheme in 2010. This year's opening dates are 8th April 12-4 and 22nd July 12-5. At our July opening we will be holding a photographic exhibition of black and white images of the gardens and hall from the 1920s.

Tickets and prices

Adults £5; children free. Dogs on leads welcome. Refreshments available in the Orangery. We will also be serving Royal Afternoon Tea on Sunday 8th April and Sunday 22nd July which will need to be pre-booked.

Call 01423 867321 or email info@goldsboroughhall.com for more information.