Golden Jubilee Restoration Project – 2016 to 2019

In May 2016, Burnby Hall Gardens commenced a three year Heritage Lottery funded project (HLF) thanks to a £634,800 grant funded by National Lottery Players. This exciting project to restore the Lake and Rock Garden, design a learning zone, and recreate an Edwardian Potting Shed on site, was completed in July 2019 and will ensure that this beautiful location can be enjoyed for generations to come.

De-silting and repairing the Lakes

Work began in October 2016, with the de-silting of the Upper Lake. The de-silting machine removed all of the natural material which had been deposited at the bottom of the Lakes since the last time this had been done back in 1998.

The extracted silt was subsequently dried on the Grass walk and used as compost in the Gardens.

The Upper Lake at Burnby Hall was first constructed in 1904 by a local Pocklington firm called Allison’s. The Upper Lake is designed in a step pattern going from shallow edges to a deeper section in the centre and was built by hand using ropes, pulleys and horses.


With the Upper Lake being over 100 years old, it had begun to deteriorate, with large cracks and holes becoming visible around its edges. Over the Autumn and winter period 2017/2018, these were repaired to improve its overall aesthetic appeal, reduce leakage, and ensure that the waterlilies and fish stock are safeguarded for future generations.

Restoring the Rock Garden

In December 2016, work commenced by stripping the Rock Garden of all overgrown foliage and shrubbery. For two years, it was left in a fallow state to allow for the removal of deep-rooted weeds such as Ground Elder and Mare’s Tail, and in October 2018, was replanted with the help of volunteers using the original Backhouse plant catalogues from 100 years ago.

The Rock Garden is now complete and, with its wide variety of plants and colour, gives an impression as to how it would have looked over 100 years ago.

Edwardian Summer House and Potting Shed

Work commenced on the restoration of the Edwardian Summer House and Potting Shed in February 2017. Substantial work was required on the roof of this original building with rotted timberwork being replaced and a new roof added.

The finished result shows what this attractive feature would have looked like in Percy and Katharine Stewart’s days, and has been enhanced by interpretative boards which tell the history of Burnby Hall.

The Potting Shed at the rear of the Summerhouse has been adapted into a multi-purpose space, comprising a volunteer area for our Gardens volunteers and the creation of an Edwardian Potting Shed.

Using original tools, sourced from a variety of locations, including kind donations from the public, the Potting Shed takes us back to the early 1900s when Percy and Katharine Stewart would have employed a large team of gardeners here at Burnby Hall.

In the Potting Shed area, we have also built three waterlily propagation tanks for the cultivation of new and existing varieties of Hardy Waterlilies, with the intention of continuing the horticultural excellence of Burnby Hall Gardens for future generations to enjoy.

Here are a couple of videos documenting the early developments of the Golden Jubilee Restoration Project, funded thanks to National Lottery Players.

This footage was filmed and edited by amateur dronist, Peter Knowles, and provides a really good illustration of the early work that was completed.