The Rock Garden to reopen at The Shrubbery

Published Friday, 17th May 2019

Fantasy Castles in a rock garden at The Shrubbery

Work to landscape part of a former seafront landmark is nearing completion.

Workers from the council’s parks team have been restoring one of the oldest features at The Shrubbery. The rock garden - that also formed part of the popular “Never Never Land” display - will soon be able to be viewed by the public in its full glory.

Six of the fantasy castles that made up the famous former attraction have now been restored and repainted by local artist, David Taylor, and the surrounding area has been landscaped and enclosed with ornate fencing. A new gateway feature also welcomes people to The Shrubbery from the seafront

The Shrubbery also features a refurbished water feature and a “grass giant” – a figure of a sleeping giant planted out with various grasses and a sculpted concrete head that will be installed shortly.

Originally opening in 1935, the heydays of The Shrubbery was arguably during the mid-1950s when people would queue for hours to visit the park. Since then, it has closed and reopened several times, both as a visitor attraction and as a public park.

Scott Dolling, director for culture, tourism and property, said: “I’m delighted with the work that our parks team have been carrying out at the Shrubbery along with a respected local artist and hope it will be a real hit with residents and visitors alike this summer.

“The Shrubbery – or Never Never Land as most people will remember it – holds a very special place in people’s hearts. It was as much a part of the Southend experience as visiting the pier, Peter Pan’s playground and grabbing a Rossi’s ice cream.

“While the castles are only small part of the displays from The Shrubbery’s heyday, it will no doubt provide many visitors and locals with a happy trip down memory lane and an attractive place to relax, unwind and maybe post a selfie.”

Work will complete at The Shrubbery in the coming weeks, with an official launch date to be announced soon.