VICTORIA GARDENS NEATH
The Neath Fair occupied the Mera Field site from 1856 until May
1897 when the Neath Fair was moved to its new position, that
being the site of the old Civic Centre.
In 1897 the existing park was laid out by Thomas John Snow who
was a local builder and whose company operated in Neath between
1881 and 1925. The marble pillar gates nearest to St David’s
Church on the main entrance to Victoria Gardens were officially
laid on the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria to celebrate her
60th year of reign on the 22nd June 1897.
A stone was laid by the Mayor of Neath, Arthur Russell Thomas,
to commemorate this fact. The marble pillars on the entrance way
were donated by Thomas Snow and the marble was imported from
The park at this time was known as Neath Recreation Ground. The
park was officially renamed and opened on
the Mayor Abraham George, Esq.,
procession of inhabitants will be formed in front of the Town Hall
and march thence to the ‘
band will be in attendance.
scholars attending various Sunday Schools in the Borough will take
part in the procession, and passing through the Gardens will proceed
to their accustomed play-fields where the Mayor will cause a supply of
buns to be distributed amongst the children.
after the opening of the Gardens, the Mayor and Corporation will
proceed to Moss House Wood, when the new reservoir, recently
constructed by the Town Council will be opened.
burgesses and inhabitants are heartily invited to attend both
At the time of the opening the
The park was originally laid out with iron railings running
around the perimeter and these remained in place until WWII when
there was a major drive throughout the country to obtain metal for
the manufacture of armaments, resulting in the railings being
removed from the Gardens. After WWI there was a tank situated
there also alongside the potting shed where it remained until it
was taken away for scrap during WWII.
A number of features currently within
Source: article on the history of Victoria Gardens held in Neath library, unknown author
The history of the construction of the Gardens is little known, the eminent Neath historians say the following..........
D Rhys Phillips - A History of the Vale of Neath 1925 - nothing
Elis Jenkins - Neath & District A Symposium 1974 - (page
60) states 'Perhaps it was appropriate that in 1898 the Old
Mera, common land of the burgesses for so long, was transformed
into an urban park and named Victoria Gardens'
George Eaton - A History of Neath 1987 - (page 170) throws more
light on the subject - "The impressive number of parks and
playing fields under corporation ownership today had their
genesis back in 1856 when the council acquired what was to be
called the Corporation field. Here football and cricket were
played and fairs held up to the time of it's conversion
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