In November 1975 a group of local residents met to discuss ways of improving the physical appearance of Highbridge, the outcome was an “Action for Highbridge” Committee. They were to set themselves the task of clearing the land around the Town Clock, part of the site being over the old lock gates that had controlled the original River Brue.
This proved to be a much harder task than first envisaged, part of the land had been used as a coal yard by T.F.Norris and for many years a railway siding had run from the wharf directly to the site. The first job was to clear the site of rubbish, with the aid of local Sea Cadets fifteen large railway sleepers were removed and, as the site became more manageable the Guides and Brownies were able to move in. Originally the intention had been to dig over the ground, but the presence of building rubble and hardcore made this impossible. Funds were then raised to purchase several tons of topsoil, which was spread over the site and then sown with grass seed.
The next stage was to lay paths and a patio area; to prepare the rose beds alongside the clock required the removal of five tons of rubble. The first three months of 1976 were bitterly cold, this was followed by four months of drought and then almost continuous rain the rest of the year; the workers were not to be deterred and during the year they successfully planted trees, shrubs, rose bushes and flowers. Through all the adverse conditions a few people kept their vision alive and through their effort the garden was created.
To mark the official opening of Highbridge Jubilee Gardens on the June Bank Holiday. 1977 the Mayor of Burnham and Highbridge, Councillor C. Willis and Deputy Mayor Councillor C.Booth jointly unveiled a beautiful stone; the engraving read: – “Jubilee Gardens. These gardens were created and financed by the residents of Highbridge and opened to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II June 1977”
Mr.P.Wilson, Chairman of the Action for Highbridge Committee said that many people had helped with the project by donating seats, trees, shrubs and plants and gifts of money; also he should mention Councillor Denis Hewings without whom, the gardens would never have been created. “In the bleakest days when we were hit by all sorts of problems Denis would overcome them and keep us all going by describing how beautiful the gardens would look when the work was finished”.
The gardens hold a reminder of an earlier era, set in them are the pump and plaque from the original Highbridge Waterworks built in 1880, which was over the Brue Bridge in Huntspill Road, a mains supply came to Highbridge in 1906. In 1990 changes to the town’s road layout required part of the garden to be removed and Tyler Way was constructed giving access to Newtown Road and Poplar Estate, Newtown Road became a cul-de-sac.
Jubilee Gardens is a spot where a quiet moment can, perhaps be found during the bustle of everyday life.