After the war, many people in Tring including Councillor Robert Grace were keen to create something permanent to act as a memorial to those who had lost their lives and a thanksgiving for those who had survived the conflict. In 1947 a questionnaire showed that a Garden of Remembrance was the most popular suggestion and a committee was formed to raise funds. It was agreed that the Mansion’s water garden was the ideal place for such a purpose and by 1950 the land had been transferred into the ownership of Tring Urban District Council. The ground was cleared, the lake bed resurfaced and simple planting carried out. An opening was made in the wall at the point where it met the 1711 wall across the Mansion vista. Gates were made by Bushell Brothers’ boatyard at New Mill and the archway reading “Memorial Garden” was made by Hampshire and Oakley of Chapel Street. The Garden was unveiled in June 1953 to coincide with the Queen’s coronation and dedicated by the vicar of Tring, the Reverend Lowdell.
In 1973 Tring Urban District was merged into the newly formed Dacorum District and most of its properties, including the Memorial Garden, were transferred to the new council. Simultaneously, Tring Town Council was formed with specific responsibilities such as allotments and other matters unique to the parish.
By the mid-1980s the Garden again presented a forlorn appearance. People were reluctant to go there because the planting had become dense and gloomy. A scheme for the improvement of Tring High Street, drawn up by Derek Rogers Associates and promoted by Tring Town Council in 1987, recommended that trees should be thinned and the entrance reconsidered. Dacorum Borough Council agreed to undertake this work and many trees, especially yews, were removed. A length of wall was taken down, a new planting bed was created alongside the High Street and the gateway repositioned, with new gates made to replicate the old ones. The work was carried out in 1989-90 with the restored Memorial Garden unveiled by the Mayor of Dacorum in June 1990.
The same report observed that the self-seeded trees behind the adjoining vista wall were overgrown and detracted from the setting of the Mansion. The Arts Educational School removed the trees, bringing the house back into view. The fourth Lord Rothschild presented Tring Town Council with a strip of land in front of the wall and this was then paved and bollarded, greatly enhancing the appearance of this part of the town.
In 2001 the lake had to be drained and the fish evacuated when it was found necessary to repair a crack in the concrete base. Members of the Tring branch of the Royal British Legion attended a reopening ceremony, and presented plaques listing the names of those men from the town killed in World War II. These are mounted on the brick gate-pillars at the entrance to the garden. Further work was carried out to the lake in 2011, giving it a more natural appearance and installing a fountain.
with acknowledgments to Wendy Austin and Mike Bass