A Brief History of Denton Gardens
The photo above, taken around 1910, shows the Worthing Rowing Club boat house before it was rebuilt in the 1930s. The walled area beyond is the land that was to become Denton Gardens. The photo was taken from Splash Point which is the most easterly end of Worthing’s main promenade.
On the 11th May 1922, Edward Knoblock Esq., the owner of Beach House, sold the land to Alderman Denton. A month later on the 20th June 1922, Mr Denton gave the land to the town. Detailed in a legal document called a ‘Deed of Gift’ were a number of conditions listed. These conditions still apply to this very day:
No swings or roundabouts or other noisy amusements to be allowed on the land, and no band or music of any kind to be allowed to play thereon. No structure to be erected which will enable any person by climbing or standing thereon, to overlook the wall separating the land from the vendor’s adjoining land and property known as Beach House.”
Two years later Denton Gardens opened to the public and included two 18 hole golf courses, a sunken garden with attractive planting, a pergola and flower beds lining the extremities of the gardens. All in all a pleasant, sheltered, open environment for the public to relax and enjoy a little quiet time away from the busy and sometimes windswept promenade.
Denton Gardens is situated just to the east of the the Steyne Gardens Conservation Area. As of 2020 steps are being taken by The Worthing Society and Worthing Borough Council to extend Conservation Area to include Denton Gardens and Beach House Park.
From the Register of Parks and Gardens of Local Interest:
Presented by Alderman Denton in the early 1920s. Attractive example of a seaside pleasure garden with architecturally interesting seafront shelter and historic walls. Important setting for Warwick Buildings (listed grade II) and Worthing Rowing Club.”
Today, Adur and Worthing Park Rangers with a little help from the Friends of Denton Gardens tend the gardens to keep them tidy for visitors to enjoy. Adjacent to the gardens to the west are fifteen grade II listed Georgian town houses. To the east, a traditional typical south coast flint wall. To the north, is the iconic sunken garden and to the south the impressive beach shelter. Together, these unique landmarks give the gardens a historical and intimate feel.
The 18-hole mini-golf course is always popular with visitors and residents alike. The operators of the course plant attractive shrubs and keep the grass trimmed to further enhance this treasured open space.
Just to the south of the gardens, Splash Point is a pleasant open public space on Worthing’s promenade. Since the flood defence was installed in the early 2000s Splash Point now boasts a number of interesting features including engraved slate boulders around which children can play, black stone seating, a fun water feature and ground level lighting which brings the tamarisk trees alive after dark.
A few metres to the east, artists work in beach hut studios along Marine Parade. There are also sand volleyball courts, a children’s sand play area, Coast Cafe, the popular Crabshack restaurant and a beach garden dedicated to the brave lifeboat crew and fishermen of Worthing who manned the boat between 1853 and 1930 – all in close proximity to the historical and peaceful Denton Gardens. A little further to the east sits the Splashpoint Leisure Centre, a modern swimming pool and fitness centre.