Parks & Gardens UK is entering an exciting phase in its development at its new home with the Hestercombe Gardens Trust. In September 2016 Parks & Gardens UK (P&GUK) with Hestercombe Gardens Trust received £97,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to secure the future of the P&GUK database and website of historic designed landscapes.
The P&GUK archive has records of over 9,100 historic designed landscape sites and over 2,400 biographies of associated people and organisations. The Hestercombe archive contains a significant collection of documents, photographs, plans and manuscripts relating not only to Hestercombe itself (with its eighteenth-century Landscape Garden and also its Jekyll/ Lutyens gardens) but to other parks, gardens and designed landscapes in the United Kingdom.
The combination of the two databases, by offering economies of scale and ease of access between them, will offer a powerful research resource unmatched elsewhere. It will also allow for its expansion by maintaining and developing the existing close relationship between County Gardens Trust and The Gardens Trust, as well as the development of new relationships with like-minded organisations. Hestercombe, near Taunton, is readily accessible and has a range of conference rooms for seminars, summer schools and workshops that will make the study of gardens and landscapes available to a wider public.
Dr Barbara Simms, chair of P&GUK, said: “Both organisations have worked hard over the past months to secure the successful transfer of Parks & Gardens UK to Hestercombe Gardens Trust. It is very exciting that Parks & Gardens UK has a new home that will allow its expansion as the leading on-line resource for historic parks and gardens.”
Philip White, Chief Executive of the Hestercombe Gardens Trust, said: “I am delighted that Hestercombe will have the opportunity to develop and expand on the considerable work achieved by P&GUK over more than ten years and look forward to working with the County Gardens Trusts and others in realising the database’s considerable potential.”
Explaining the importance of the National Lottery support, Drew Bennellick, Head of Landscape & Natural Heritage at the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “This project offers a unique opportunity to bring together two incredibly important sources of data and research for the very first time. Whether it’s someone just wanting to find out more about our rich history of landscape design, or a researcher delving into the history of an early park or garden, these databases are an important and accessible resource for all. Having supported the Parks & Gardens UK database since its inception, we’re pleased to offer this support so that it can transition into a new chapter in its existence.”
PHOTO by Chris Lacey Photography for Hestercombe.