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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.89

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12 million restoration of Chiswick House Gardens unveiled

Chiswick House Gardens is a site of international importance both as the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement, and as the setting for one of the most beautiful houses in London. The regeneration of the gardens is a result of many years of campaigning, four years of fund-raising and two years of work on the site.

English Heritage (manager of the House) and the London Borough of Hounslow (owner of the Gardens) established The Chiswick House and Gardens Trust as an independent charity to drive forward an ambitious rescue plan for the Gardens and secure its future for the 21st century.

The garden restoration, managed by English Heritage, and supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £7.9 million, recovers the original vistas and design from decades of disrepair and underfunding, and also repairs and restores the statuary and garden buildings. The result is an inspiring balance between a historic landscape and a public park.

Highlights include the planting of over 1,600 trees, including trees propagated from the original 18th century cedars of Lebanon; the opening up of historic views from the Classic Bridge, the complete restoration of the 19th century conservatory housing a rare and internationally important collection of camellias; the planting of native trees and shrubs in the Northern Wilderness, and the restoration of the Walled Gardens, which will be open to the public on special days.

To complement the restoration, award-winning architects Caruso St John have designed a new café within the grounds, on a carefully chosen site close to Chiswick House on the east side. The new café provides indoor seating for 80 people and external seating for over 100, and forms the social hub for the park, with a newly created children’s playground beside it.