Work starts on the replacement Friends Lodge

Following a preliminary discussion with Cornwall Planning Department at the end of December 2017 we finally received planning permission to go ahead on 4th January 2019 having overcome objections from Historic England and the Cornwall Council Historic Environment Department. We had already decided on the type of building and supplier so an order was placed without delay.

Thanks to the generosity of Lee Steening, the Head Gardener, in allowing us to use a part of his domain just beyond the Archway into the Formal Gardens site work commenced on 15th January with a team comprised of Nigel Bruce-Robertson, Steve Creese, Alan Drummond, Ged Edgcumbe, Tony Hutchings and Neil Rugg. The area selected contained a concrete block wall surrounding a cold-frame and half filled with large red stones alongside a large pile of earth containing stones, slates and other debris dumped following the bombing of the Orangery during WW2. Fortunately we were able to call on assistance from Bryan Luxford with the mini-digger loaned by the Mount Edgcumbe Model Railway Society and Nick Butcher with the Park’s tractor.


The Friends working party re-convened on 22 January and approximately levelled half of the base area before deciding there was still more work to be done by the digger, scheduled for the 29th.

The ‘finds’ from the heap of soil included a number of intact glass bottles and ceramic jars. One bottle originally contained the following ‘Sheildhall Essence of Coffee & Chicory SCWS’. Looking on ebay we could have purchased one of these for £5 with a lot less backache incurred. A more interesting one was marked ‘Atkinson & Barker’ which articles on Google advise were suppliers of ‘Royal Infants Preservative’ which claimed to ‘provide instant relief in convulsions, flatulency, affliction’s of the bowels and difficult teething’. Since it contained laudanum and there was at least one recorded case of an infant dying after being dosed with the medicine the claim to ‘provide instant relief’ seems to be genuine. Perhaps someone can shed light on the pear shaped bottle (unfortunately with a broken spout) which contains the following ‘T Denniford late Mackey & Co Pure Aerated Water 25 Russell Street, Plymouth’. If you can help with information about this bottle please do get in contact.

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