WORTH PARK FRIENDS
© Worth Park Friends 2018
The Fountain Garden, Source: Country Life Illustrated, 1899 - The Mansion, Milton Mount College, pre-WW2, and the large Pulham fountain with planters - Camellia Walk, Milton Mount College - Camellia Walk as featured in CLI 1899 - The Lake in Milton Mount College times - Aerial View in college times (photos 2, 3 and 5 courtesy of the Miltonian Guild, photo 6 provided by Tom Howard-Jones) Background Map: reproduced from a document from West Sussex Record Office, Ref. OS 1st ed 6” sheet IV 1872-79
Pulham Stamp on the stonework in the gardens - One planter from the large fountain can now be seen to the west of the croquet grounds - the little Pulham fountain (now just a planter) in the formal gardens, from a postcard provided by Tom Howard-Jones.
Historical Overview Worth   Park   was   part   of   the   large   forest   of   Worth   which   extended   over the   parishes   of   Worth,   Crawley,   Balcombe,   Ardingly   and   Slaugham. Most   or   all   of   this   forested   area   was   enclosed   as   a   deer   park,   referred to   as   the   “Park   in   Worth”   by   John   de   Warenne   in   1279.   Since   then the   forest   has   been   partitioned   and   changed   ownership   many   times. The   earliest   Ordnance   Survey   maps   of   Sussex   shows   ‘Park   Farm’   to the west of the Balcombe Road. We   learn   from   an   1824   article   in   The   Times   that   Abraham   Montefiore bought    his    Worth-park    farm    in    the    1810s.    By    1839/40,    his    son Joseph   Mayer   Montefiore   owned   numerous   plots   of   land   in   the   area and   we   read   now   of   a   “Worth   Park   House   and   Garden”.   After   a   fire   in 1847, Worth-Park House was rebuilt completely by 1856. The   Worth   Park   branch   of   the   Montefiore   family   re-modelled   Worth Park   continuously.   The   now   most   visible   re-design   of   the   grounds took   place   from   1884-1887.   The   company   of   James   Pulham   and   Son, who   also   designed   features   for   the   gardens   of   Buckingham   Palace and   Sandringham   House,   built   many   elements   for   Worth   Park   which survive until today. From   1920   to   1960,   the   house   and   large   parts   of   the   grounds   were the    home    of    Milton    Mount    College,    a    boarding    school    for    girls. Crawley Borough Council bought the school property in 1963. The   Pulham   dynasty   of   garden   builders   spanned   four   generations, starting   with   James   Pulham   (1793-1838).   Each   James   Pulham   was succeeded    by    at    least    one    son,    also    named    James.    The    major restoration   of   Worth   Park   in   the   later   1880s   has   been   attributed   to James   III   (1865-98).The   Pulhams’   speciality   were   their   own   brand   of artificial    rock    (Pulhamite)    and    their    terracotta    work    of    urns, fountains,   balustrades   and   sundials.   Clients   of   the   Pulhams   included the   Prince   of   Wales,   several   members   of   the   Rothschild   dynasty,   Sir Bache Cunard and the Barclay family.
Several   members   of   Worth   Park   Friends      are   or   have   been   involved in   the   research   of   Worth   Park   and   other   Crawley   history.   Crawley Borough   Council   had   commisioned   research   for   the   Lottery   Bid.   In 2012,   CBC   commissioned   the   Sussex   Gardens   Trust   to   research   the history   of   Crawley’s   historic   parks   and   gardens.   The   sections   about Worth   Park    are   based   on   the   extensive   research   carried   out   for   the bid documents which were prepared to obtain Lottery Funding. Towards   the   end   of   2016,   the   Miltonian   Guild    published   a   book “Schoolgirl Days at Milton Mount College 1920 -1960”.
Worth Park Today The   Montefiore   Mansion   was   demolished   in   1968   and   replaced   by Milton   Mount   Flats.   However,   Ridley’s   Court,   the   Victorian   Stable block   remains.   Only   the   core   parts   of   the   gardens   and   park   survived because     substantial     areas     of     the     park     were     released     for development of residential housing.