An area between North Road and Whitchurch Road that now includes Africa Gardens was leased by the Council from Lord Bute under the Allotments Act of 1887, which placed a duty on local authorities to provide land for allotments. This land, an area of more than 23 acres, was later developed by the Bute Estate to create Africa Gardens and a number of other residential streets. Africa Gardens ran between Newfoundland Road and New Zealand Road.
The open space in the centre of Africa Gardens was created as three separate plots divided by Australia Road and Canada Road.
In June 1940, the Parks Committee heard that the Air Raid Precautions Committee wanted 4,800 yards of park railings for reinforcing concrete for air raid shelters. The Chief Officer suggested that amongst other places, railings might be obtained from the private space in Africa Gardens. This was still part of the Bute Estate, which in January 1941 offered to convey to the Council a number of small open spaces including Africa Gardens, provided that these were kept as open spaces in perpetuity. The Council agreed to accept this offer.
In February 1941 the Parks Committee agreed that the railings would be removed from Africa Gardens. This was unpopular with the residents, who complained to the Parks Committee about noise and destruction occurring in the Gardens following removal of the railings. The Committee agreed to erect a wooden fence in place of the railings.
In December 1946, at the request of residents, provision was made for replacement of the railings at Africa Gardens and for the replanting of the Gardens as a decorative space. The railings evidently were replaced after the war, because in 1960 the Parks Committee decided that owing to the considerable cost of repair and upkeep, railings would be removed from Africa Gardens and replaced by a dwarf wall. This was again despite protests from residents. Railings were retained in the section of the Gardens between Newfoundland Road and Australia Road, as these were reported to be as originally erected, but they were removed from the two other sections.
Sources of information