The Gardens Trust is passionate about sharing our love of historic parks and gardens with as many diverse people as possible.
A grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is helping us to run Sharing Repton: Historic Landscapes for All, which uses the bicentenary celebrations of Humphry Repton’s life as the springboard for piloting activities to introduce new people to historic parks and gardens, accompanied by lots of skill sharing and networking to help similar initiatives in future.
We based the pilots on Humphry Repton, but made sure they are suitable for reuse in other contexts too!
We invited families from the Somali community in July 2019, with Avon Gardens Trust, the Blaise Community Garden, and Friends of Blaise. This was a busy and joyous day, including a display, leaflet, and Garden History Lucky Dip game for all ages.
This took place in September 2018 and we had a super time with guests from the Wellingborough Community Centre. We were delighted to welcome guests from across three generations, and had cake and lollies, an introduction to Humphry Repton, and learnt how to measure trees and recognise designed views.
This took the form of a Heritage Open Day in September 2018. Entertainments in Repton’s first commission included painting the Repton landscape, belly dancing, African drumming, a photography exhibition of gardens across the world, a children’s garden design competition, and a fabulous myriad of multicultural stalls from local community groups. We intended a quiet day for 60 guests … and 600 came!
We recruited a crack team of local people keen to find out more about their local park, and took them through a series of workshops to learn to ‘read’ a landscape on the ground, to research using archives, to write up the research into useful and accessible formats, and to share their new garden history knowledge with others. This brilliant team of lovely people have risen to the challenge and written a Statement of Significance, now safely deposited in the Historic Environment Record, and are now planning an open day event to tell other locals about Repton at Warley Woods.
We also delivered a bonus extra project around Warley Woods, working with the adjacent primary school to take 90 10-11 year olds through sessions teaching them to recognise the historic landscape in their local park, to use archive material, and to determine heritage values. They treated us and 180 parents to a fabulous exhibition of their work on Repton and Warley Woods!
With LPGT we connected with local groups to spend an autumn day at Kenwood with English Heritage where we enjoyed the landscape and talked about being a stakeholder in the historic open space, about volunteering, and about conservation issues such as views and tree management. The following Spring we reconvened at Russell Square so that the participants could plant roses, enjoy another Repton landscape, and share experiences of visiting open spaces near them.
Watch a video about this project on LPGT YouTube (opens in a new window).
We are also investing a huge effort into harvesting the experiences, learning curves and materials from these pilots so that others can benefit – do take a look at our growing collection of support materials.