A popular garden area where workers often stop for a picnic lunch and shoppers take a rest, honours one of Crewkerne’s industrial founding fathers. The garden area in South Street is planted and maintained by Marshall-James Garden Development Ltd for Crewkerne Town Council with matched funding from the Market Towns Investment Group.
The pretty setting with colourful shrubs and flowers, commemorates the site of Robert Birds’ almshouses, which provided accommodation for the elderly weavers of Crewkerne and were demolished in 1971. A stone plaque above a seat in the garden states: ‘Almshouses – For Aged Weavers Founded & Endowed by Robert Bird Of Crewkerne Jan 1876’.
Robert Bird whose factories were in South Street, established the first hospital in the town in 1867, named Mr Birds’ Infirmary and situated also in South Street. This led eventually to the setting up of Crewkerne Hospital in Middle Path and a photo of Robert Bird can be seen inside the hospital, commemorating his generosity to his workers and to the people of Crewkerne.
Robert Birds’ charitable trust, Robert Birds’ Cottage Homes also had five properties in Birds Close, just off of West Street and Middle Path, which are now owned and managed by the Yarlington Housing Group as part of the Birds Close Retirement Living Scheme.