The Warrior Square Gardens originally formed the center piece of a 13 acre site located just off the High Street.
The site was sold off in plots in 1881 for the development of shops and flats. The gardens located in the middle of the site originally housed tennis courts, croquet lawn and “tastefully” laid out gardens consisting of flowerbeds and shrubs. The gardens were built for the exclusive use of residents of the new development for the annual subscription fee of one guinea (£1.05p).
As the years went by the private gardens became more open to the public, the tennis court and croquet lawn were removed and the whole park was given over to grass, trees and shrubs.
The eastside of the square was redeveloped some years later to include the Warrior Square swimming pool (closed 2010) and a car park, the gardens had become somewhat unloved and were not an inviting place, the only people frequenting them were drunks who could hide behind the walls and bushes round the side of the gardens.
The now defunct redevelopment company Renaissance Southend made a successful bid for funding to undertake a complete restoration of the dilapidated gardens, with the funding coming rom the Homes & Communities Agency.
Once the funds were secured and a design for the makeover laid out the gardens gates were closed to the public with work beginning on 15th March 2010.
The gardens remained closed to the public for over a year finally opening to the public once again on Saturday 28th May 2011.
After a £1.8million make over the gardens reopened to the public on Saturday 28th May 2011.
Work carried out included the removal of a small number of trees to bring more natural light in to the gardens, the removal of hedges and fences and the planting of a number of trees.
Also included in the restoration are a number of raised flowerbeds, new seating and for the first time ever the gardens have their own lights.
Further editions to the gardens include a Lime walk on line stone paving and a wooden decking pathway underneath a line of Lime Trees.
A new cafe is also included featuring a unique folding roof that, looks like a flower, when the cafe is open the “petals” are open when the cafe closes at night the petals fold down.
What had become a haven for drunks has become a haven for rest and relaxation.
New lighting and seats make the gardens more inviting
New paths and decking