Tuesday, 14 February 2012


      John Harman, British Columbia
                                     Canada remembers Peter and Helen Cushing'sWalled Garden

                           "All through the '30s, my Dad had a large allotment garden down the
     Lower Island (Island Wall). This was located between Island Wall
         and the back of the cottages at the far end of Wave Crest..
        He had a tool shed on it and various things to scare the birds....
      but they did more to frighten me as I was young in the late 1930s.
     My brothers George and Ray, who are quite a bit older than me,
     well remember playing on the mountains of sawdust at the adjacent
 yard of the Whitstable Shipping Co."

 "In 1963, when I took my wife, Anne, home to Whitstable to meet
my family, we stayed with mom and dad. Dad told me that a film star,
Peter Cushing, now lived at the Lower Island and had acquired
the allotment. By now, Peter and dad had become quite well
 acquainted and dad suggested that I should take Anne to
see what his allotment had become. I understand that Helen Cushing
was ailing at that time and the actor had arranged for the land to be turned
 into a beautiful 'walled garden' for her and other local seniors to share!"

"This garden of tranquility was enclosed by a lovely masonry wall.
On seeing it, it was truly beautiful and we took a couple of photographs.
Within the wall were grass lawns, rosebeds and what really
caught my eye...a 'Dovecot'!"

"When I made a further visit to Whitstable in the '70s,
I took a walk past the garden with my brother Ray
and his son, Geoff. The photo below shows them outside
 the wall and the 'dovecote' can be clearly seen above the wall."

"When last home in 2005, I was so sad to see that the
 garden no longer existed and that it had been replaced
 by infill - with a house in its place. What a shame
 that this tranquil garden that he created could not have
 been preserved in his honour for all to enjoy."

John Harman, British Columbia

This is a cutting from The Garden News Section of the UK
Daily Express Newspaper, dated Friday 30th September 1966 featuring
Peter and Helen Cushing's walled garden. It was this cutting amongst others
that Linda king too with her when PCASUK met Peter Cushing for the
last time an caused peter to whisper 'My Dear, how terribly kind
of you...to keep this and show it to me today!' Such a sweet gesture
from a very sweet and kind man.... with the greenest of fingers!      

Mary Thomas from Whitstable remembers:

"Over the decades and even the centuries, Whitstable has
been home to a number of famous people. But I doubt
that any earned the affection of local people quite as much
as the actor Peter Cushing. After visiting the town in the
early 1950's, Peter and his actress wife Helen Beck,
became local residents when they purchased a seafront house
in Wave Crest during 1959.

"News swept town and it wasn't long before we could all identify
the attractive but perhaps unremarkable property that edhged the West
Beach shingle and backed onto the Lower Island Wall roadway at
the rear. Within in a few years, the Island Wall aspect had changed
quite dramatically as Peter expanded the rear garden and surrounded
it with a high stone wall. Behind the privacy of that wall, he
created a small oasis - one that we kids could only dream about!'

From the outside on the Island Wall, the stone work was very
tastefull done, with rhe wall rounded into the entrance of the garage.

This is the house that sits in the space where Peter Cushing's
 Walled Garden once stood. The wall is still standing, though
 a little lower. The back entrance to Peter's home, faces this view.

This is the rear of the house that now stands on the area.

 Left side of the house. The rear of
Peter and Helen's home can be seen in the middle background.

Fortunately, not everything disappeared. In furnishing the garden,
 Peter commissioned a garden seat that reflected
both his romantic nature and deep love for wife Helen.
The seat was designed to accommodate two people
 and the carved "back" represented the entwined arms
of two lovers. This complemented the dovecote which
also provided a symbol of love and peace.

Sadly, Helen died in 1971. In 1990, Peter donated the
seat to the people of Whitstable when the town opened
 a new viewing platform overlooking the sea at
 Keams Yard (Horsebridge). The platform (or, perhaps
 more accurately, the scene that it afforded users)
was named "Cushing's View" in his honour and
 the seat has occupied pride of place on the structure ever since.

The message on the plaque is simple and poignant.....
Peter died just four years later and, for his funeral,
 the town centre came to halt in tribute.
Peter and Helen's "View", of course, lives on.


  1. When we get some spare time myself and girlfriend are going to visit whitstable. Being a fan of Peter's i want to see his home and the bench he and Helen donated. We want to take our pic together sitting on this bench. R.I.P. Peter and Helen. I hope where ever you are that you're both together again and happy as can be! Draven and Marie

  2. I'm sure someone has asked you, but does anyone know if the Helen Cushing Rose is around anymore? Possibly in their garden?

    1. Hello Chris, I believe Joyce Broughton, who was Peter Cushing's secretary, may now own the rose, as I am pretty sure it would not have been left behind when Peter Cushing's home in Whitstable was sold...

  3. It was so lovely to read this and knowing Peter as i grew up this is a lovely piece about a wonderful,caring and genuine man, what a lovely read this is :)

    1. So glad you enjoyed the feature, Zoe. Thank you for taking the time to let us know.

  4. Have you seen this ?

    It's great a fantastic collection of images... I really enjoyed it, many many memories of meeting Peter a few times in Whitsable as a teenager...., What an outstanding one in a million chap he was.

  5. oops a daisy...... Sorry forgot the Video link :- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV53RYIVZ-M

  6. It's a great pity that the garden could not have been preserved. All the same, it was wonderful that Peter Cusihng couled create this garden for his wife, Helen. It must have been a comfort during her periods of illness.


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