In 1899, Halstead residents raised subscriptions to buy some land for recreational purposes. The gardens were gifted to the townspeople of Halstead and ownership was transferred to the old Urban District Council and, as a charitable asset, trustees were appointed. Halstead Public Gardens were opened in 1901.
During WW2, the Americans were given permission to build an Anglo-American Club on the site which they donated to the Council after 1945. The building had several community uses, its last as a senior citizens' centre, until its demolition in early 2013
Braintree District Council inherited the gardens in 1974 when local government was re-organised. In 2013 they published plans to build housing on the picnic field and former senior citizens' site.
In January 2016, BDC and Fields in Trust (formerly the National Playing Fields association) agreed a Deed of Dedication to protect part of the gardens. This protection does not cover the picnic field and former senior citizens' site.
In February 2016, BDC designated the picnic field as an Asset of Community Value. This gives the community a period of time to arrange funds in order to bid for the site in the event of it being marketed before January 2021. The former senior citizens' site is unprotected.