Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in the lost gardens

Twenty-five years ago, Tim Smit and John Willis decided to untangle the willow trees of the gardens of Heligan, a beautiful spot near Megavissey on the south coast of Cornwall. A century ago, 22 of the gardeners tending the gardens went away to fight in the First World War. 16 were killed and the gardens went into decline. The restored gardens are now a major tourist attraction.

During the restoration process, a privy was discovered with an old “thunderbox”.

  A motto etched into the limestone walls in barely legible pencil still reads “Don’t come here to sleep or slumber”, with the names of those who worked there signed under the date – August 1914.  (

The story of the gardens is displayed on doors.


By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.

3 replies on “Thursday Doors in the lost gardens”

I haven’t been down there for a while, I’m (only) fairly sure when I first went that door was still attached to a building but that was in the very early days of restoration. However, I’m that sort of age where a good memory is not the thing I’m known for. Must go again soon.


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