|Chiswick House & Gardens Conference|
European experts converge on Chiswick to discuss historic park conservation
Chiswick House and Gardens has been the subject of a two day conference which saw more than 50 experts from across Europe converge on the Chiswick to share the successes of innovative community outreach projects as well as emerging ideas in historic park conservation.
The conference, led by Hounslow Borough Council and supported by English Heritage, was part of a ground-breaking EU funded project “My Place: Historic European Parks and Their Communities,” which brings together the Grade I listed Chiswick House and its gardens, Muzakowski/Muskauer Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which straddles the border of Poland and Germany, and Twickel Castle Grounds in the Netherlands.
The project has been created in response to the lack of community involvement in public spaces which is currently a widespread European urban problem and often results in vandalism and neglect, poor maintenance and lack of understanding and use by local communities.
The aim of the project, which is being supported by the Culture 2000 programme of the European Union, is to provide a platform for these three historic sites to collaborate on these issues, sharing the results of community activities to date and sharing ideas for greater community involvement in future projects as well as exchanging best practice on historic park conservation.
Two more seminars are scheduled, in the Netherlands in April and in Poland in May, with a book and a website planned from the information assimilated.
Historians, landscape architects, academics and community representatives took part in the conference at Chiswick Town Hall on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th March.
Key politicians in attendance include Baroness Andrews, ‘Green Spaces’ Minister with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Davies of Oldham, from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Ann Keen, MP for Brentford and Isleworth, MEP Robert Evans and Cllr. Colin Ellar, leader of the London Borough of Hounslow.
At the beginning of this year the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) announced that it has earmarked £7.9 million as part of a £12.1 million project to restore the gardens at Chiswick House.
Last year a charitable trust was set up between English Heritage and the London Borough of Hounslow to drive forward improvements at Chiswick House and Gardens, which has been enjoyed as a public park since 1929.
March 15, 2006