The Bevington Gardens used to be made up of small, individual, walled gardens nestling between the 10 Victorian houses the College owns on Bevington Road, and Hartland Drive and Hartland House.
Many alumnae recall fondly sitting in the gardens in warm weather, perhaps studying, perhaps revising for all-too-imminent exams, or perhaps sharing a bottle of wine with friends.
In 2003, St Anne’s governing body formally approved the construction of the new Ruth Deech Building, opened two years later. The advantages to the College and its students were clear: almost all undergraduates who now wish to live in College can do so throughout their entire three- or four-year course.
However, there was a clear disadvantage: approximately one-third of the Bevington Gardens would be covered by the new Ruth Deech Building. On balance, the Governing Body felt the only right decision - for the students and for the College’s future - was to go ahead with the new building. But, in putting together its planning application, St Anne’s committed itself to ensuring the gardens would be sensitively re-planted following the completion of the construction work.
Since 2006, the College has been working closely with the University’s parks department to ensure appropriate landscaping can flourish in the newly restored Bevington Gardens. The character of the gardens has certainly changed, though we hope they have retained something of their informality. There is now a communal, open space which the occupants of the Bevington Road houses, the Ruth Deech Building and Trenaman House all look onto.
We hope that those alumnae who remember the gardens as they were with such affection will have the opportunity to return to College, and that they will be pleasantly surprised by their transformation.