A ceremony is to be held in Sydney Gardens in Bath next month, marking the centenary of the planting of the ‘Peace Oak’, which was added as part of celebrations at the end of the First World War.
Councillor Manda Rigby, the Deputy Mayor of Bath will officially unveil a new stone plaque beneath the Oak at 2.30pm on Saturday 6th July, to commemorate the anniversary.
The ‘Peace Oak’ on the West Lawn was planted in 1919 by the then Mayor Councillor Alfred Wills as part of Bath’s Peace Day celebrations to mark the end of the First World War.
Cllr Wills’ granddaughter, Jane Tollyfield from Combe Down will attend the special dedication with other family members.
Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “When it was planted 100 years ago the ‘Peace Oak’ represented new life and hope for the people of Bath who’d endured years of terrible loss and hardship.
“A century on the oak stands tall and proud, a permanent reminder to all who pass by of the role Sydney Gardens played in celebrating the end of those dark days.
“It’s fitting that this anniversary is marked at a time when Sydney Gardens is itself undergoing restoration to ensure in remains a focal point for residents for generations to come.”
Councillor Manda Rigby, added: “I am delighted to be asked to take part in this very special commemoration.
“I can only imagine the relief of Bathonians at the end of the war and the joy that must have been felt by those attending the Peace Celebrations in Sydney Gardens.”
Residents are being invited to attend the commemoration celebrations which will include a live music performance by Bath Classical Musicians, who will be playing the same pieces played 100 years ago.
There’ll also be activities for all ages, including an Origami Peace Crane making workshop, and a display of artwork by children from Bathwick St Mary’s Primary School.
A free commemorative booklet about the history of the Peace Oak and the Peace Day Celebrations will be available and there’s free tea and buns for all.
Sydney Gardens, which are the UK’s only surviving Georgian Pleasure Gardens, were a focal point for the Peace celebrations which continued throughout the summer of 1919.
The Sydney Gardens Project has been awarded money to restore the gardens from the National Lottery Heritage. The three year project to restore the gardens will involve extensive heritage and wildlife conservation work and areas of the park that are currently closed to the public will be reopened.
Historic features including the Loggia, Minerva’s Temple and the Edwardian toilets will be restored. Flower gardens will be replanted and wildlife habitats, viewpoints will be improved.
The gardens will also host a year round programme of activities and events for local residents.