Myrtle Gardens, 1969

Boys’ Orphanage, Myrtle Street, 1885



Girls’ Orphanage, Myrtle Street, 1885

The site of Myrtle Gardens has an interesting history as these three previously unpublished photographs show. In 1800, the original Botanic Gardens were sited there before being removed to Edge Lane in 1836. Myrtle Street was a pleasant rural lane but was soon absorbed into the rapidly expanding town. A female ophanage school was commenced in 1843 and opened in November of that year. The boys’ orphanage school was completed in 1854 (at the same time as the Church of Holy Innocents on the same site). The architect was John Cunningham (architect of the Sailors’ Home) and the buildings are in a simple, unpretentious style in keeping with their purpose.
In 1934, the multi-storey Myrtle Garden flats were built on the site (subsequently sold in the 1990s to a private developer for refurbishment into modern apartments and renamed Minster Court). There were, until recently, reminders of the original Botanic Gardens in the street names: Grove, Olive, Almond, Laurel, Mulberry, Peach and Vine Streets. To help with locating the site. here is a 1930s map:

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