In 2017 the Gardens Trust launched a crowd-sourced campaign, Compiling the Record, to identify overlooked but important landscapes designed between the mid 1960s and 1990. Our partners Historic England have now added twenty-four new entries to the National Heritage List for England, effectively doubling the number of post-war gardens and landscapes that are protected.
Dominic Cole, President of the Gardens Trust, said: ‘Inclusion on the National Heritage List is vital to our ability to help such landscapes survive to delight future generations. Twentieth-century heritage landscapes have often been overlooked and undervalued so we hope that these additions will throw a spotlight on the importance and quality of post-war designed landscapes.’
Undervalued post-war designed landscapes are particularly vulnerable to redevelopment pressures. Their significance can also be obscured or lost by neglect, lack of maintenance or unsympathetic changes.
The Compiling the Record campaign was launched in June 2017 at the Garden Museum with a stimulating symposium entitled Mid to Late C20 Designed Landscapes: Overlooked, undervalued and at risk?. The day brought together a range of expert speakers who outlined the types of sites that deserved protection, their significance and vulnerabilities. The campaign ran until early 2018 during which time it received over one hundred detailed nominations from Gardens Trust members, the public and professionals.
Historic England developed the project as Post-war Landscapes, undertaking a thorough assessment of the nominated sites. This has resulted in twenty-four additions to the National Heritage List for England. Twenty new sites have been added to the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, including domestic gardens, public housing estates and commercial landscapes. In addition, the Jellicoe watercourse in the Wirral and two garden features have been listed and one site upgraded from Grade II to Grade 1 on the Register, making a total of 24 new entries.
Gardens that are now protected include those created by Beth Chatto and John Brookes, Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe’s garden for Shute House and the Spencer family’s York Gate Garden in Leeds. Landscapes include the John F Kennedy memorial at Runnymede, a number of housing estates including Alexandra Road Park and Golden Lane in London and Fieldend in Middlesex (above left), Broadwater Park and Stockley Park business parks, and the landscaping of factories in Darlington and the Wirral. Parks in Milton Keynes, Harlow and Luton complete the new listings. The landscape of St Catherine’s College, Oxford has been upgraded from Grade II to Grade I. The full list and information about all the newly-protected sites can be read here.
We hope to host a special celebration of this important milestone in 2021 – look out for details. In the meantime we extend our sincere thanks to the Gardens Trust volunteers who masterminded the project and everyone who nominated a site for Compiling the Record. We hope you will continue to keep a watch on significant sites from this period that are at risk.
If you are not already a member we hope you will consider joining or donating to the Gardens Trust to help us protect important designed landscapes like this for the future.