Two large lawns were created by Lever as entertainment spaces below the Bungalow.
A remarkable feat of excavation took place to construct the lawns. In order to take away the vast quantities of stone removed when terracing this section, a temporary railway had to be built.
The Great Lawn and Tennis Lawn are divided by a paved walkway, leading up to the staircase known as the Long walk.
Each lawn has its own summerhouse, a beautiful and practical garden feature, used for serving tea and providing shelter. The summerhouses are inspired by Italian garden shelters, their twin staircases giving access to a viewing platform.
Originally the Gardens had seven summerhouses, but only five remain today.
The Great Lawn was designed and created as an event and entertainment space where Lever could invite his private guests to enjoy the grand views and take tea by the summerhouse.
The outcrop of rock you can see in the middle of the lawn was left intentionally to demonstrate to visitors just how much rock had been removed from the hillside to create this terrace.
From the lawn, visitors could see the Bungalow and the Four-Gabled Dovecote up above, and, before the trees took over, they would be able to enjoy the views over the Lancashire plains.
Rivington Terraced Gardens were Lever’s holiday residence, and metal fencing once stood around the whole perimeter to keep the house and grounds private for the exclusive enjoyment of his family and esteemed guests. However, during the Summers of 1919 to 1924, Lever held annual Open Days. On these occasions, the public could purchase a ticket to enter the Gardens and enjoy live music and entertainment. The proceeds were donated to local charities.
Today, the lawns are once again used as event spaces to raise money for the upkeep of the Gardens. Keep an eye on our Events pages!
In 1925, Lever gave the go ahead for further excavation to create another lake on this lawn. The intention was to increase the flow of water to the Japanese Lake and hence to the Ravine waterfalls. Unfortunately, these plans fell through and were left incomplete following Lever’s death on the 7th July that year.
The second owner of the Gardens, John Magee of Magee Marshall Brewery, managed to make his own impact on this area.
At the request of his niece, who was a keen tennis player, he had a shale tennis court installed, which gave the Tennis Lawn its name.
From the 1950s, as the gardens fell in to disrepair, vegetation grew rapidly over the lawns, and turned them from flat, even grassed areas into wild rough terrains of bramble, bush and predominantly gaultheria.
The restoration project has included the extensive work of contractors and
volunteers to clear this overgrowth and return the lawns once again to
its former use.
The summerhouses have been restored and made safe, with new roofs, stonework and safety handrails.
The rocky walls around the lawns need to be cleared of growth to expose the beautiful rock detail. Ongoing maintenance will include tending the lawns, keeping the paths and stairways clear of mud and weeds, and cutting back the gaultheria that grows over the rocky walls.
If you’d like to help us, find out more on the Volunteering page.