Ornamental Pond

The circular ornamental pond is located in the upper lawn of the Formal Garden at Wollaton Hall, is currently boarded over for safety reasons.   Although the water supply remains, when filled the pond quickly empties through leaks in the base.

Pond in 2024 covered with boarding
Pond in 2024

Friends of Wollaton Park are engaged with the Wollaton Hall and Park staff to investigate the feasibility of a restoration.

The terrace walls, steps and the circular pond to the south of Wollaton Hall represent one of the earliest explorations, in Britain, of a Renaissance system of formal geometry governing the layout of buildings and gardens. The design of this area – and its survival – is, therefore, of great significance

Wollaton Hall and Park Restoration Management Plan, 2011

History

The pond is a Grade II listed structure, probably dating back to 1588. The English Heritage listing describes the pond as crafted from sandstone and built on a brick foundation, featuring a slightly raised, rounded stone edge. It also refers to the water feature as being created with a hidden lead pipe, forming a gentle ring around the pond’s perimeter, creating a continuous fountain.

The pond can be seen in the Jan Siberechts paintings from 1697 (the pond features better in this image of the painting – there are two similar paintings).

Pond in 1697
Pond in 1697 (Public Domain Image)

The earliest photographic record of the Pond is in the British Museum, dating 1841, which shows the Pond with a fountain on the bottom right of the picture.

Pond in 1841
Pond in 1841 – British Museum

The following 1900 photograph is from a feature on Wollaton Hall in the Pall Mall Magazine. The magazine article mentions a rose-pink water lily. The picture shows the circular fountain and that, at that time, there were no paths to the pond. Behind, to the right, is the balustrade, the steps to the lower garden are just off the photograph to the right.

Pond in 1900
Pond in 1900 – Pall Mall Magazine

Next in the timeline comes a picture from 1928, back in the central location, labelling it as a Lily Pond, which can be found in the Francis Frith Collection.

A 1945 postcard shows the pond with modest planting.

Pond in 1945
Pond in 1945 (Copyright 1945, Photochrom Co. Ltd. Royal Tunbridge Wells)

In the 1980s all the lead pipework was stolen.

A restoration created the central mound seen in the 2012 photograph below posted on Flikr by James Clay (reproduced with permission), showing a new “structure” in the centre. There are already signs the pond is not watertight.

Pond in 2012
Pond in 2012 – James Clay

By 2018 the pond was not watertight, as seen in this picture on Wikipedia…

Do you have any other photographs of the pond depicting other features, or that can help fill in the timeline? This will help with the restoration plan.

If so, please get in touch.