The Secret Garden

Sssssshh... It's a secret!

With funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund and a great deal of effort, the Friends of Manor Road Cemetery have restored the Secret Garden to its former glory. This is one of a good number of projects on the go in the cemetery at the moment.

Any proceeds from the sponsorship of this pano will be directly passed on to the Friends of Manor Road Cemetery to help with their projects.

The following extract has been used with kind permission from the Friends of Manor Road Cemetery:


Manor Road cemetery, which contains the Secret Garden, was opened in 1872. The landscaping was in accordance with a winning design by the cemetery superintendent, Leonard Thompson, who is buried in the cemetery.

Thompson’s design reflects the unusual terrain in this part of the cemetery, with a series of level areas in the valley bottom, and terraces which are linked by sinuous paths. This part of the cemetery is much less formal, and the design is wooded and flowing, with individually significant trees and substantial stands of trees.

One of the side valleys is known as the Secret Garden, and is designed as a grotto. It contained a large rocky fernery, which is still mostly intact, a pond, formal planting, trees, multiple winding paths round the edges amongst the trees and bushes, and a steep pathway through the middle, with a metal handrail.

This area was laid out as a garden as the terrain was unsuitable for burials. At the entrance a hinged stone gate was a significant feature.

Trees and Planting

There are a number of unusual and interesting trees in the part of the cemetery surrounding the Secret Garden. These include Japanese cedar, western hemlock, coast redwood, Austrian pine, monkey puzzle, giant redwood, wych elm, purple myrobalan plum, cristate beech (possibly the tallest in Yorkshire at 67 ft), Deodar cedar, tree of heaven, and highclere holly.

There are many ferns continuing to grow in the 15ft high fernery which is formed by curved rocky banks immediately inside the entrance to the Secret Garden The overgrown remains of box and fuschia plants indicate that the planting in the garden was typical of Victorian gardens.