The Centenary Garden, designed by Marie-Louise Agius, Lionel’s great granddaughter was opened by the then Prince of Wales, now King Charles.
Leopold de Rothschild, Lionel’s youngest son built a narrow – gauge steam railway in the gardens. The finished product – complete with engine sheds, a station (modelled on Aviemore) and two halts – extends to 1.5 miles around the top of the gardens.
The freak hurricane which blew through Southern England caused massive damage to the gardens with a third of the mature tree cover lost.
Exbury opens to the public and becomes a charitable trust to ensure the future of the gardens for posterity.
Edmund de Rothschild (Mr Eddy) Lionel’s oldest child takes over the development of the gardens continuing with the rhododendron hybridising programme, planting many rare trees and shrubs and introducing the Solent range of deciduous azaleas.
King George Vl secretly visited Exbury to watch the invasion preparations shortly before D-Day.
German Junkers 188 bomber shot down and crashed in the park killing all its occupants.
Death of Lionel de Rothschild
The Royal Navy moved into Exbury House and it became a Stone Frigate – operating at first under the name HMS Mastodon, a land-based ship responsible for the administration, arming and training of crews for the landing craft that were utilised against occupied Europe, D-Day.
Outbreak of World War 2 put a stop to further development of the gardens.
Lionel financed a number of plant hunting expeditions to the wilder reaches of the Sino – Himalayas in pursuit of new an unusual shrubs and trees.
A gang of 150 workmen and 60 gardeners were employed to create a new landscape and to plant and nurture the new plants.
Bore holes were sunk, a 120’ water tower built alongside 22 miles of underground pipes, 26 miles of new pathways and 2 acres of greenhouses.
The 200 acre Exbury Estate was purchased by Lionel de Rothschild to pursue his passion for horticultural excellence and experimentation.