A NOSTALGIC trip down memory lane is awaiting Southend seafront visitors after a small part of the old Never Never Land was restored to its glory.

The Never Never Land rock garden saw its water fountain flowing again and all six of its fantasy castles repainted and restored by Southend artist, David Taylor.


Memories - it was a must-visit for generations


Back! - the water has now been turned on

Southend Council’s parks team has been working hard to revive the sadly forgotten shrubbery, which opened in 1935.

Its appeal to the public grew significantly in the Fifties, and people would queue for hours just to visit the rock garden.

Since those days, the magical garden has closed and reopened several times, both as a visitor attraction and as a public park.

Adventure Island boss Philip Miller said: “I was so happy to see the water finally turned on. I have watched this magical exhibit grow slowly over the last twelve months.

“It really is a splendid addition to the cliffs, merging the magic of old and new for young and old to enjoy. What so impressed me was the team spirit of the guys involved from the Southend’s parks department.

“Quite often you see the bosses getting their hands dirty - two of them were here on Thursday in suits and ties.

“We are so lucky that despite the cuts, somehow Southend Council has kept such a great team together that do such a marvellous job looking after the towns parks and gardens.

“It truly is an enchanted garden.”

The surrounding area to the rock garden has been landscaped and enclosed with ornate fencing, along with a new gateway feature to welcome people to the shrubbery from the seafront.

A sleeping ‘grass giant’ figure with a sculpted concrete head is also due to be installed.

Scott Dolling, director for culture, tourism and property, said: “I’m delighted with the work that our parks team have been carrying out at the shrubbery along with a respected local artist, and hope it will be a real hit with residents and visitors alike this summer.

“The shrubbery – or Never Never Land as most people will remember it – holds a very special place in people’s hearts. It was as much a part of the Southend experience as visiting the pier, Peter Pan’s and grabbing a Rossi’s ice cream.

“While the castles are only a small part of the displays from the shrubbery’s heyday, it will no doubt provide visitors and locals with a trip down memory lane and an attractive place to relax, unwind and maybe post a selfie.”