Russell Gardens was originally designed as part of a private country estate known as Kearsney Court. The estate was planned in 1899 for Alfred Leney (1837-1900), owner of the Phoenix Brewery in Dover. The project was sold on to Edward P Barlow, Chairman of the Wiggins Teape paper making business. Wiggins Teape maintained a paper mill in the town up until 2000.
Russell Gardens was originally known as Kearsney Court Park & Gardens, they were designed by the renowned Edwardian landscape architect, Thomas H. Mawson (1861-1933). Kearsney Court is believed to be one of the first independent commissions by Mawson, and is a very rare example of his work in the south east. Several set piece photographs of Kearsney Court were included in Mawson's book, The Art & Craft of Garden Making, which became a standard reference in its day.
The challenging steep terrain of the Alkham Valley provided Mawson with the ideal opportunity to create his signature design features - great terraces, pergolas and architectural features in a garden context.
The magnificent 170m long canal pond, and Palladian-style pergola bridges and boathouse pavilion form the central architectural features of the park.
Thomas Mawson (1861-1933) was the foremost landscape architect of the Edwardian era. His design for Kearsney Court was one of his earliest independent commissions and a rare example of his work in the south east.
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