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HER Number:MDV125777
Name:Princess Gardens and Royal Terrace Gardens, Torbay


A group of late 19th century public gardens and picturesque terraced cliff walks.


Grid Reference:SX 915 635
Map Sheet:SX96SW
Admin AreaTorbay
Civil ParishTorbay
Ecclesiastical ParishTORMOHAM

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ORNAMENTAL GARDEN (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Historic England, 2019, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV362730.

The Royal Terrace Gardens were constructed to the design of the Borough Engineer and Surveyor, Major Garrett, in the early 1890s as part of a comprehensive scheme of improvements associated with the formation of the New Harbour and Princess Pier. First shown on the 1906 OS, the layout of paths, terraces, and steps remains substantially unchanged today (2001).
Princess Gardens and the Royal Terrace Gardens are situated to the south-west of Torquay on the north shore of Tor Bay. The c 5ha site is divided into three areas: to the south-east the Princess Gardens are bounded to the south by the New Harbour, while to the east the boundary is formed by the early C20 Pavilion. To the west the Gardens are separated from the early C20 promenade gardens by the mid C20 Princess Theatre. The Princess Gardens and promenade gardens are separated from the Royal Terrace Gardens by the B3199 Torbay Road. To the west the Royal Terrace Gardens are bounded by a mid C19 single-storey toll-house (listed grade II) and Abbey Crescent, today known as the Palm Court Hotel. The northern boundary is formed by a footpath, Rock Walk, which separates the Royal Terrace Gardens from the gardens of a group of mid C19 villas on Warren Road. The villa gardens are enclosed by high rubble-stone walls in which are set doors giving access to the footpath and Terrace Gardens. The Terrace Gardens are separated from the footpath by late C19 cast-iron spiked railings in which are set several gates. Further railings form the eastern boundary, separating the Terrace Gardens from the garden of the Torbay Hotel, known in the late C19 as Cumper's Hotel. Princess Gardens and the promenade gardens occupy level ground reclaimed from Tor Bay, while the Royal Terrace Gardens are constructed on the steep south-facing slope of Waldon Cliff to the north of the B3198 Torbay Road. There are extensive views across Tor Bay towards Paignton, Brixham, and Berry Head from all parts of the site, together with views from the Royal Terrace Gardens to Princess Gardens, the harbour, and Beacon Hill. To the north-east the site adjoins Carys Green, an area of open space to the north of the Pavilion which has been landscaped in the late C20.
Princess Gardens comprises an approximately triangular area of level ground to the west of the Pavilion. Areas of lawn are divided by curvilinear tarmac walks which connect Torbay Road and Princess Parade. To the west of the Pavilion an approximately elliptical-shaped lawn is planted with specimen Torbay palms (cordyline) and geometrical-shaped beds for seasonal planting schemes. Some 50m west of the Pavilion a sunken elliptical-shaped lawn is ornamented with further segmental-shaped flower beds, and has as its focal point a three-tier cast-iron fountain (listed grade II) which stands in a painted circular stone-kerbed basin. The fountain is ornamented with figures of putti riding dolphins which serve as jets at the base of the pedestal, while the central column supporting the basins has ornamental relieves of country scenes. The late C19 fountain follows a pattern produced by the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow and was donated by the proprietor of Cumper's Hotel on condition that the Borough provided the basin (Ellis 1930). The fountain lawn is overlooked by a double-sided mid C20 shelter.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV362730National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2019. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:May 23 2019 9:09AM