Memorial rose celebrates life of woman who founded Hampstead Town Hall garden

Community gardener Louise Pennington Legh is remembered at a memorial rose planting at Hampstead Tow

Community gardener Louise Pennington Legh is remembered at a memorial rose planting at Hampstead Town Hall by family members Susie Osbourne, Tom Pennington Legh, Grorgia Lawrence, Isis Amram Lawrence, Charles Pennington, Jo Pennington and Tania Simon. Picture: Dieter Perry - Credit: Dieter Perry

A rose bush has been planted to commemorate the life of a dedicated community gardener who tended the beds at Hampstead Town Hall for two decades.

Community gardener Louise Pennington Legh is remembered at a memorial rose planting at Hampstead Tow

Community gardener Louise Pennington Legh is remembered at a memorial rose planting at Hampstead Town Hall by family members Susie Osbourne, Tom Pennington Legh, Grorgia Lawrence, Isis Amram Lawrence, Charles Pennington, Jo Pennington and Tania Simon. Picture: Dieter Perry - Credit: Dieter Perry

The family of Louise Pennington Legh, who died aged 90 in May, and a dozen members of the Friends of Hampstead Town Hall gathered for the memorial ceremony on Sunday.

A keen gardener and Belsize Park resident of 40 years, Louise created and nurtured the garden at the town hall in Haverstock Hill after adopting the neglected space as one of her many retirement projects.

Corrine Gibbons, honorary secretary of the friends group, which has now been disbanded, said: “It’s an old English rose, a beautiful deep red in colour, that we know Louise would have loved because she was an old-fashioned English lady.”

She added: “We all stood at the front of the town hall where the plaque has been put up commemorating Louise creating the garden and her loving tending of it for the last 20 years. When she used to work in the garden everybody used to chat to her and said what a wonderfully approachable woman she was.”


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Louise’s daughter, Jo Pennington Legh, wrote in her mother’s obituary, published in the Ham&High: “She worked hard clearing building debris, digging manure into the impoverished soil, fighting for funds to buy plants and then dedicated her time to caring for the gardens she had created.

“Her work was often interrupted by people passing by who were a little incredulous at finding this neatly dressed woman with shears or a gardening fork in her hands

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“On the Belsize Avenue side of the town hall, she donated a crab apple tree in the hope that local children would notice the changing seasons as it flowered and produced fruit.”

Related stories:

- ‘In her 70s she could still strip a rifle on the Kyhber Pass’: Obituary Louise Pennington Legh

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