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Stoke Park’s Jubilee Oak Tree Gets Special Visit by Grandchildren of Those who Planted It

Published on: 28 Nov, 2023
Updated on: 28 Nov, 2023

History has repeated itself in an unusual way in relation to a tree and its plaque in Stoke Park, Guildford.

The new plaque by the Jubilee Oak in Stoke Park.

A few weeks ago a plaque identifying the Jubilee Oak was installed to replace the original plaque that disappeared over a decade ago.

The tree is in the park’s Jubilee Gardens and was planted when the gardens were created and opened on May 6, 1935, at the time of  George V’s Silver Jubilee.

The then Mayor of Guildford, Alderman William Sheppard (with spade), and Cllr Arthur Williams (right) at the planting of the Jubilee Oak tree in Stoke Park in 1935.

Instead of the cutting of a ribbon to mark the opening of the garden, it was fitting that an oak sapling was planted by the Mayor of Guildford that year, Alderman William Sheppard.

In this picture, Cllr Arthur Williams is also on the right as Alderman William Sheppard plants the tree.

Also present was Cllr Arthur Williams, who was chairman of the Guildford Parks & Grounds Committee.

Moving on 88 years to today, Michael Williams, the grandson of Cllr Arthur Williams, visited the tree and met with Robert Sheppard, Stephen Sheppard and Valerie Bale, who are all grandchildren of Alderman William Sheppard.

Pictured from left at the Jubilee Oak are: Stephen Sheppard, Val Bale, Michael Williams and Robert Sheppard.

It just happens that Robert Sheppard has the ceremonial spade that was presented to Alderman Sheppard at the opening ceremony in 1935, and brought this along for the occasion and photographs.

The ceremonial spade that was presented to Alderman Sheppard at the opening ceremony of the Jubilee Gardens and tree planting in 1935.

But there’s more, as Michael Williams and Valerie Bale have known each other for several years; they are both Guildford Town Guides!

The discovery that their grandparents were also well acquainted back in the 1930s was quite a surprise.

It’s 2023 and a bit of a recreation of the planting of the Jubilee Oak.

The Jubilee Gardens is one of the intriguing aspects of the park. The model boating pond has an island reached by a picturesque arched bridge, the gardens are interspersed with ponds, streams and stepping stones in a Japanese style.

A large crowd gathered for the opening of Stoke Park’s Jubilee Gardens. This is a view of the boating lake on that day, May 6, 1935.

For families with young children, however, the paddling pond is usually the main attraction today.

A fine specimen: the Jubilee Oak today.

And the Jubilee Oak has become an impressive specimen, providing shade for the picnic area between the children’s playground and the paddling pool.

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Responses to Stoke Park’s Jubilee Oak Tree Gets Special Visit by Grandchildren of Those who Planted It

  1. Anthony C P Fisher Reply

    December 23, 2023 at 4:48 pm

    Well done, many thanks for this wonderful insight regarding your lovely Jubilee Oak Tree.

    It’s nice to be able to see the oak as a sapling and its start in life, then follow it through to see it today and get an idea of an oaks growth in almost 90 years

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