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About the Turrill Sculpture Garden

Opening hours for the Summertown Library and the Turrill Garden are as follows:

Monday, Friday 9.30 - 17.00

Tuesday, Thursday 9.30 - 18.30

Saturday 9.30 - 16.00

Wednesday, Sunday - Closed



Behind the public library in South Parade, Summertown, Oxford there is a large, sunny garden, approximately 100ft by 60ft.

In the year 2000 it was transformed from an empty and uninviting space into an attractive garden for the public to enjoy.

Here you can see a series of changing sculpture exhibitions, buy the sculpture, sit and enjoy the peace or even have a picnic. 


It is owned by Oxfordshire County Council who were delighted when shown suggestions for a scheme designed by

Katherine Shock that could be used by the public to enhance the local facilities.   They also enthusiastically supported the idea of showing sculpture by living artists in this setting if funds could be raised for this purpose - you can link to some of the artists who have exhibited above by going to our Sculptors page.


A local family, who have traded in the area for many years as Shepherd and Woodward, came forward with sponsorship to enable us to build the garden which was constructed by Ian Lattimore of Nor-Lye landscapes. Their generosity was motivated by the love of gardening of their aunt, Miss Marjorie Turrill, who lived all her life at 245 Banbury Road, and her sister Betty Venables.  Betty was a plantswoman, who had to build two gardens from fields on Cumnor Hill, and then again at Cunliffe Close, where she lived for 14 years after being widowed and had a lovely small front and back garden.  It is called the Turrill Sculpture Garden in their memory and we think of Peter and John Venables of Shepherd and Woodward as our Founding Patrons.


Other people in the area have also been generous in their support which has allowed the garden to become established.  The 'Forest of Oxford' scheme run by the Oxford City Council have paid for all the planting, which includes plants (with labeling) suitable for growing in North Oxford front gardens so that it can also be used by local residents as a reference garden and there are more details about the plants on the link page here.


The Friends of the Turrill Sculpture Garden has been established to help support and maintain the garden and we have some generous local Corporate members who may support us financially or materially. Subscribers to the website and other contacts get sent details about the exhibitions and activities in the garden and are invited to the private views. There is no membership fee and we welcome all who want to join us.


To add to its interest a local family also sponsored a quotation by Samuel Taylor-Coleridge laid out in carved lettering by the sculptor Martin Jennings around one of the paved areas

and he designed a millennium date stone for the centrepiece:

In 2014 we were pleased to receive two gifts of sculpture that will remain permanently in the garden, both reminding us of special people. 'Counterpoint' by Martin Smith is donated by the wife of Colin Robinson in memory of her husband, a gifted photographer. 'Betty and her Pots' by Christine Burgess donated by Joan Blandino has now found a permanent place to remind us of a much-loved supporter of the garden, Betty Blandino, who was a superb ceramicist.

We were also delighted to learn that the Turrill Garden was chosen to receive one of the year 2000 Environmental Awards by the Oxford Preservation Trust.  The plaque awarded has been mounted on a wall in the garden.

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