Compiling the Record

Mid-century gardens & landscapes campaign Hounslow Civic Centre by Preben Jakobsen

Mid to Late C20 designed landscapes: Overlooked, undervalued and at risk?

Hounslow Civic Centre by Preben Jakobsen 1977. Image copyright Landscape Institute / Museum of English Rural Life
Hounslow Civic Centre by Preben Jakobsen 1977.
Image copyright Landscape Institute / Museum of English Rural Life

The Gardens Trust needs your help in finding and informing us about these often unrecognised and neglected mid to late C20 designed landscapes – those laid out between the mid 1960s and 1990. Our campaign project, called ‘COMPILING THE RECORD – THE ESSENTIAL MID TO LATE C20 LANDSCAPES’, grew out of a conference about these landscapes which we held at the Garden Museum in early June 2017.

The main aim of the conference was to highlight the important designed landscapes of this period which (mainly) are not currently included on National Heritage List for England (NHLE).

Speakers came from a wide range of professions – landscape architects, expert historians of the period, landscape archivists, journalists and many members of Historic England’s team responsible for listing and registering heritage features of national importance.

Topics included pioneering and traditional approaches to design by the new profession of landscape architecture; New Town gardens: an enduring legacy? Context and characteristics of civic spaces; reclamation of mining sites; gardens and plant collections – the designation issues; recent work on post-war heritage (Historic England). A fuller Conference report will appear in an edition of The GT News later this year.

While in a number of sites illustrated the design and planting were obviously appreciated and well-cared for, it became clear that a vast number of all types, from private gardens, housing estates, universities and institutional sites such as hospitals to industrial and Infrastructure complexes like airports, reservoirs and pumping stations, were often not understood or appreciated as designed landscapes and were consequently suffering neglect, poor management and, in a significant number of cases, complete loss. The number of sites from this period whose importance is recognised by being designated as of national importance is therefore woefully unrepresentative.

The Gardens Trust would now like your help in identifying these neglected designed landscapes. If you’d like to suggest a site that might be worth assessing for potential inclusion on the National List we’d love to hear from you!

INFORMATION WE WOULD LIKE FROM YOU: Please use the ON-LINE FORM to give us the basic information. At this stage all we need to know is:

  • the name and address of the site;
  • what it is – and to help you decide this, we have given you a LIST OF CATEGORIES OR TYPOLOGIES (below);
  • the designer, if you know the name;
  • the date of design, again if you have this information,
  • a short summary of why you think it is – or might be – important.

Please also note if you know more about the site’s history, but do not send further information or photographs at this stage. We may well need this at a later date so do collect anything you think may be useful.

THE DEADLINE for submitting your form(s) has been extended to 31st December 2017. Following the deadline The Gardens Trust will review the sites and aim to compile a shortlist of 50. We will then submit approximately 20 of the most important ones to Historic England for assessing their potential for registration on the NHLE. Registered landscapes do not need to be set in aspic; they can incorporate change through carefully-considered and constructive conservation, but important sites do need to be recorded. One of The Gardens Trust’s founding objectives is the promotion of new design; this project is particularly keen to include the work of living designers who are currently still practising.

The landscapes most likely to make the grade should:

  • Have a strong design element;
  • Have a good level of survival (although they may be in a poor condition);
  • Probably, but not necessarily, be the work of an eminent designer;
  • Have a layer of design from c1960-1990, although this may be part of an older landscape.

It will be worth you looking at the less obvious or well-known sites such as Rutland Water, designed by Sylvia Crowe in the 1970s, as well as the more obvious ones, an example of which might be the Eden Project.

List of Categories or Typologies

The sites should be catagorised for submission under one or more of the following typologies:

  1. Gardens, public and private, including roof and interior gardens, garden squares, and botanic gardens
  2. Parks, public and private, including arboreta and urban parks
  3. Country Parks, mostly those designated in the 1970s under the Countryside Act 1968
  4. Civic spaces, including government offices, county/town halls, civic squares, and art galleries
  5. Housing, private and public housing schemes
  6. Cemeteries, burial grounds, and memorial sites
  7. Sports sites, including playgrounds, race tracks, lidos, and golf courses
  8. Commercial sites, including business parks, factories, hotels, business headquarters
  9. Infrastructure, including airports, reservoirs, pumping stations, motorways
  10. Institutions, including schools, universities, hospitals, military sites, asylums, prisons

Please use the following form for submission:

    Site Info

    Proposer Info

    Required fields are marked with a *

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    Painswick Roccoco Gardens, the Red House, Photo © Joab Smith