SEA CHANGE

Homes & Gardens|June 2020

SEA CHANGE
Hidden inside a Royal Navy Dockyard, this garden is a series of small but perfectly formed rooms befitting the Georgian house to which it belongs
STEPHANIE MAHON
Cross the bridge to the Isle of Sheppey on the Kent coast and drive through flat marshland to Sheerness. Here in this town of cranes, ships and faded seaside holiday memories are the remnants of the old Royal Navy Dockyard, including a terrace of Georgian houses built during the Napoleonic Wars. The unique character of this place – an exciting clash of historical and industrial – attracted architect Rupert Wheeler and others from the Spitalfields Trust, a building conservation charity. They rescued the terrace from a developer in 2011, and Rupert chose the middle house as his weekend home, doing it up over a number of years.

When it came to creating the garden, however, things weren’t quite so straightforward. ‘The houses had nice big gardens, because they were built for officers of the Royal Navy,’ Rupert explains, ‘but they had been turned into a large, open lorry park.’

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June 2020