Token used to Enter the Gardens in 1836

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Why the Gardens are Important

Sheffield Botanical Gardens is a 19 acre garden, originally designed by Robert Marnock in the Gardenesque style, which dates from 1833. The site contains the largest collection of listed buildings in a Sheffield garden and a number of other interesting features. The Gardens are also well known for the Grade II* listed curvilinear Glass Pavilions, some of the earliest ever built.


The Gardens have undergone a major restoration programme financed by an award of 5.06 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund Urban Parks Programme matched with a further 25% raised by the Gardens through fundraising and sponsorship. The restored Glass Pavilions were officially opened by HRH Prince Charles on 1 September 2003. The fully landscaped and replanted Gardens were formally re-opened by Michael Palin, the Sheffield-born actor and TV presenter, on 20 June 2008.

Botanical Collections

In the past the Gardens were considered the lungs of the city. However the appeal today is as a haven of peace and tranquility where people can escape the pressures of modern day living. Amongst the various botanical collections held within the Gardens, you will find the National Collections of Weigela, Diervilla and Sarcococca which act as gene pools for today and the future. The first two Collections were set up in 1984 by Parks Woodlands & Countryside of Sheffield City Council, who manage the Gardens. The Sarcococca Collection gained recognition by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens in 2008. These N.C.C.P.G. collections are part of some 60 collections based in Yorkshire, United Kingdom. The Collections are expanding and are maintained by FOBS volunteers for the Curator. The target is to have all the species and a good representation of cultivars.


Sheffield Botanical Gardens are a great resource for both the enthusiast and the beginner. The Gardens host many events and tours, of interest for the novice and specialist alike. Everyone can find something of interest either in the Gardens or from attending the lectures and other activities. Entrance to the Gardens is free.

Friends of the Botanical Gardens Sheffield

The helpful and flourishing Friends and Supporters organization, Friends of the Botanical Gardens, Sheffield (FOBS), has its own programme of working days and events. FOBS have taken a major role in the campaign to augment the funding necessary to complete the restoration project. FOBS members also play an active role in propagating, planting, and helping to maintain the botanical collections.

Florilegium Society

The Gardens are also home to an enthusiastic and talented Florilegium Society, established to produce an archive of Botanical Illustration of the plants in the Sheffield Botanical Gardens. The archive will provide a useful source of scientific reference, and a historical record of the regeneration of Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

Brief History of Ownership
The Beginning

Thomas Dunn, the then Master Cutler, called a public meeting in June 1833 following a request from 80 local residents concerned about the lack of public open spaces in Sheffield. This resulted in the establishment of a Sheffield Botanical and Horticultural Society, to promote both healthy recreation and self-education, through the development of a Botanical Garden.

Purchasing the Gardens

By 1834 the society had raised 7,500 through shares, and they purchased 18 acres of south facing farmland from Joseph Wilson, the snuff makers (still trading today). The Gardens were open to private individuals only.

Financial Crisis

In 1844 a financial crisis resulted in the formation of a second society, which purchased the land from the former society for 9,000. In 1898 further trouble arose such that the gardens were nearly lost to speculators and most of the gardeners were laid off and the plant collections sold.

Town Trust

The gardens were saved by the Sheffield Town Trust, 703 years old, the oldest Trust in the country. They paid 5,000 for the value of the shares, becoming owners and managers of the Gardens for the first half of the 20th Century.

Sheffield Corporation

On 18th December 1951 the management of the gardens passed to the Sheffield Corporation on a 99-year lease for a peppercorn rent of one shilling per year raised to 1 per year in 1971. The Town Trust remain the owners of the Gardens.

Restoration Partnership: Sheffield Town Trust |  Sheffield City Council |  University of Sheffield  
Friends of the Botanical Gardens |  Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust  

Clarkehouse Road, Sheffield, S10 2LN. Tel: +44 (0)114 268 6001
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This page updated on 16 April 2015. This site updated on 19 November 2012.