Tales of working in the gardens in the 1980s

Ray Swan managed the team of three who maintained the Water Gardens

By Liz Warriner

Italian Gardens
Ray Swan
Winter on the lake
Ray Swan
The replanted islands
Ray Swan
The team replants the islands but a new recruit is in trouble

Ray Swan managed  the water gardens in the 1980s.

Here are just a few of his many tales from that time.


Ray is clearing out the weir under Moor End Road when he spots something in the water. He jumps up, forgetting he is under the bridge. Is this really a crocodile?

Islands in the Mud

It is 1983, Ray and his team dig out all the silt in the lake so that they can renew the islands and replant them. They’ve nearly finished when the Landscape Manager offers them extra help. Unfortunately the new recruit makes a rather unwise entrance.

Rescue on the Ice

A freezing winter’s day.Ray and his team try to ensure that nobody is tempted to walk across the frozen lake, but one small girl ignores their warnings and falls through. Ray braves the arctic conditions to rescue her.

This page was added on 24/10/2015.

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