The Friends of Upton Country Park
40th Anniversary
Upton House 200 Years

15th - 25th April 2016

John Baggs writes:

The exhibition attempts to tell a story via a timeline. Commencing with the build of Upton House around 1816 through the various owners and tenancies until the House and a package of land was gifted to the People of Poole, effectively Poole Corporation, by the Llewellin family in 1957. Several uncertainties about the future culminated in a public meeting in February 1976, whereupon The Friends of Upton Country Park, (Registered Charity No: 272450) was conceived.

The primary aim of the Charity :
To promote the educational and physical recreation aspects of the Upton Country Park area (deemed to include Upton House and its associated buildings)
To improve the area, the facilities and amenities within it, for so long as that area shall be maintained as a Country Park and as a place of architectural and natural beauty

The emphasis of the Exhibition shifts at this point illustrating the Friends extensive support and contributions since then to various projects in the House and Park.

Detailed information about the Friends and their projects, and indeed a detailed History of the various tenancies of Upton House is available on our website at:

There are one or two items of note which put into perspective how the Charity has flourished and changed over 40years.

One of the first projects undertaken after formation in 1976, was the renovation of the Walled Garden during 1978. Employing 3 bricklayers for 9 months, funded by The Manpower Services Commission, The Friends contributed £300 towards the cost of sand and cement.
During 2012, a major project was undertaken to again rejuvenate the Walled Garden, this time the Friends contribution to the project was £67,000.

Many projects have been funded to improve the visitor experience to Upton House. In particular an extensive refurbishment of the Library, at a cost of £11000.
The stair and first floor landing carpet was reinstated in 2010, at a similar cost.

Over 40 years, some £635,000 has been donated to projects in Upton Country Park and Upton House. Apart from the financial contribution, the hours volunteered and professional services, freely given to achieve this by members over the years have been enormous. Current Friends activities, which include manning the Plant Centre and Kiosk, stewarding Upton House, running events, supporting the Borough of Poole etc, is equivalent to having at least 6 full time members of staff.

The year also sees the launch of a new Heritage Trail by The Upton Country Park Team, funded by the Friends, which is intended to inform about key historical and significant facts around The Park in an informal way.

People often ask, 'Why Volunteer ?'. Well, this is the ' buzz', being actively part of this celebration of an organisation which can visibly demonstrate the achievements of so many over the years.

Please come along to the Exhibition and share our celebration. Who knows you may get bitten and sign up as a member of The Friends of Upton Country Park, to ensure we are flourishing for our Golden Jubilee in 2026.
The Gallery Upstairs
"Upton House & Friends of Upton Country Park"