Period Garden Restoration Project For Britain in Bloom

Wednesday, July 18 , 2018

Period Garden Restoration Project For Britain in Bloom

We are regularly asked to work on a number of interesting restoration projects at Chilstone. When our local Head of Parks Helen Timms asked us to repair a damaged Art Deco sundial, we were keen to help.


Fractured but Fixable

The stone sundial plinth is a central piece in Calverley Grounds in Royal Tunbridge Wells, it has a distinctive Art Deco pattern with circles and angular lines that is very different from anything in our current product range.

Sadly the sundial had a large central fracture, and the sundial plate had detached from the stone pedestal.

It needed to be repaired quickly before the judging of the Royal Tunbridge Wells in Bloom competition.

We couldn’t make a new mould and re-make the sundial in the limited timeframe, so our skilled master craftsmen used their knowledge and experience to mend the piece instead.

Chilstone Master Craftsman repairing the sundial.

We installed the piece back where it belonged in middle of the formal garden in Calverley Grounds.

Since then the garden has been selected to represent the entry for the South East for Britain in Bloom competition run by the RHS, so we were very pleased to be able to help!

The sundial plinth is the focal point in a formal garden in Calverly Grounds in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

A Timepiece as Old as Our Queen

This sundial was originally made in 1926, the same year that Queen Elizabeth II was born.

In a town with so many royal connections, it seems apt that it is still in place as a centrepiece in Calverley Grounds.

The Queen is the longest serving monarch in history, with over 65 years on the throne, which is just as long as we have been in business making our handcrafted cast stone.

May 1926: Elizabeth, Duchess of York (1900 – 2002) holding her baby, the future Queen Elizabeth II. (Photo by Speaight/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A Royal History

Our town is the original spa town due to the famous Chalybeate spring  discovered in 1606.

Since then, many aristocrats and royals have visited our town to take the waters, including Queen Victoria, who spent many summer holidays here as a child.

Queen Victoria is the reason the town is called Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Enduring Landscape Design

Tunbridge Wells boomed and grew in size as many aristocrats flocked here…

Designed by the famous architect Decimus Burton, Calverly Grounds was created as the town expanded. Burton was also responsible for designing many of the iconic buildings found around the town.

Chilstone are proud to have worked on many local period garden restoration projects on some of the most iconic spots in Tunbridge Wells, even the urns above the Dipper on the Pantiles were made by Chilstone!

Calverly Grounds in Royal Tunbridge Wells, designed by Decimus Burton.

Decimus Burton also designed and built the Temperate House at Kew Gardens, which has reopened this year after a major refurbishment.

A History of Restoration Projects

The Calverley sundial is not our first restoration project.

Chilstone has a strong history of repairing and replacing damaged stone work.

Our master stone craftsmen can hand make our products to match existing pieces and we have worked with a number of  high profile projects over the past 65 years…

Including the repair and restoration of a section of balustrade at Hever Castle after it was damaged by falling trees in the famous storm of 1987.

We were also commissioned by Kensington Palace to replace the crumbling garden planters and reproduce twenty two smaller versions as part of the recent restoration of the palace and gardens, now the home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Chilstone were commissioned by Kensington Palace to create bespoke garden planters.

Replica Finials for Kew

Chilstone have also worked with Kew Gardens. During the Blitz the finials that adorn the roof of the famous Temperate House were taken down and stored.

Over the subsequent decades they were forgotten. When a gardener rediscovered them in the 1970’s many had been damaged or stolen.

Chilstone recreated the originals that are still in place today.

This summer the extensively refurbished Temperate House reopens, but our finials are still going strong. They have been painted cream to match the rest of the newly restored exhibit, the largest Victorian greenhouse and a world heritage site.

The Temperate House at Kew was also originally designed by Decimus Burton, the most famous architect of Royal Tunbridge Wells, making this an extra special project for us.


Chilstone’s finials adorn the roof of the Temperate Houuse at Kew Gardens.


Repairs, Restorations and Bespoke Projects

Our team also work on architectural repairs, for sills, gate piers, columns and porticos.

Whatever the size of your project please give our team a call or come and visit us.


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