One of the most popular posts on this blog so far is Harold Peto – designer of the Petwood Gardens, which I posted in August 2014. In it I mentioned that Emma Brealey, Managing Director of the Petwood Hotel, had a dream – to restore the lost Peto gardens.
Well, after five years in the planning stage, Emma’s dream is now coming true.
Recent visitors will have noticed the result of Phase 1, the restored Long Walk. Now contractors are hard at work on Phase 2, starting with the restoration of the famous terrace, and any day now a totally new Temple of Atalanta will be installed in the park, including a specially prefabricated dome, to be lowered on to a purpose-built ring beam above the recently built foundations.Continue reading →
Since 1983 Woodhall Spa has been a spa town without a spa.
Until now. The badly decayed buildings have recently been bought by local building firm GN Construction who will work with Worldwide spa developers Wheway Lifestyle International to reopen the baths, which from the 1890s until the first world war were a magnet for visitors from far and wide seeking treatment for ailments such as rheumatism.
This should be welcome news to the people of Woodhall Spa, and the scheme should transform the experience of visitors who already swell the population of our “inland resort” during the summer season. Continue reading →
The Petwood’s original Edwardian gardens were designed by Harold Ainsworth Peto FRIBA (1854 – 1933) a British architect, landscape architect and garden designer, who worked in Britain and Provence. Well known today for the abundance and beauty of its rhododendrons, (much used as a backdrop to the many weddings held here,) little survives of Peto’s garden, so a little imagination is needed to appreciate its former Arts and Crafts appeal.
Harold Peto was the son of a prosperous Lowestoft builder, engineer and railway-contractor. Somerleyton Hall, where Harold spent his boyhood, had been rebuilt in the 1840s in Neo-Renaissance style, and may have had an influence on subsequent choice of career. After the failure of his father’s business, Harold studied at Harrow School, but left at seventeen to be apprenticed to a joiner, before training as an architect, first in Lowestoft then in London. Continue reading →