The gardens of Endcliffe Villa, Mr Straw's House
Between 1918 and 1939 suburbanization changed the face of the English landscape. The drive for outdoor space, for `homes for heroes` after the First World War and a move away from the overcrowding found in most Victorian towns placed gardens at the heart of housing.
When Encliffe Villa was built in 1905, it was built at the edge of town and designed as a space for professional people away from the centre of Worksop but close enough to be within walking distance of the town itself. After the overcrowding of the Victorian period, front gardens were really desirable for family life but also as a way to show off to the neighbours.
Prior to moving to Endcliffe Villa in 1923 Florence and William Straw only had a small back yard. This yard was attached to the back of their business, which meant that the prospect of moving to a property with two gardens would have been an exciting opportunity. Currently planted with Roses and a Mulberry Tree the front garden allowed separation from the street and significantly more privacy within the front room.
Prior to moving to Endcliffe Villa, William Straw Snr had used some of the profits from the successful business to purchase a plot of land from the 7th Duke of Newcastle. The plot became known as the Gentleman's Gardens, and provided not only William Snr but his fellow trade owners with outdoor space of their own to enjoy.
The brothers continued to look after the gardens until 1985 renting these to local people. Over time the focus changed from outdoor space to a space for growing vegetables as a traditional allotment. Allotments have been in existence for hundreds of years, but became more common in the 19th century, when land was given over to the labouring poor for the provision of food growing.
The back garden at Mr Straw's House continues the tradition of somewhere to sit back and relax in. With the glasshouse, patio doors installed by William and Florence and mature trees it is a safe haven away from the buzz of the town centre. The Orchard (now the carpark), another addition to the Straw home, allowed them a local space for fruit and vegetable growing away from the Gentleman's Gardens.
This spring, why not book your visit, come along and explore the gardens. See the flowers starting to grow, listen to the birds song as they begin in this little haven in suburbia.