Work has started this week to restore Penrith's Coronation Garden located on Portland Place. The project has been supported by a grant of almost £170,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £10,000 from Eden District Council.
The restoration of the Coronation Gardens will take eight weeks to complete and is being managed by Penrith Rotary Club with support from Eden District Council. The gardens are on a small plot of land adjacent to the Town Hall, which was created in 1938 to celebrate the Coronation of King George VI. In recent years, however, it had fallen into disrepair and was rarely visited by the public.
The President of Penrith Rotary Club, David Dixon said: "We are delighted to see work commencing on this project, which is restoring an important part of the town's history and creating a vibrant green space for local people and visitors to enjoy. The grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has enabled us to work with local young people to develop new artwork, information panels and leaflets for the gardens to illustrate Penrith's history, which add to the all-round quality and development of the project."
Over the next few weeks paths and planted areas in the garden will be renewed and surviving original features such as the entrance gates will be restored. Railings that were removed in 1939 in support of the war effort will be replaced with replicas and new features will include raised flower beds, a sensory garden and a rail to aid sight-impaired people. Lighting will also be installed.
The garden incorporates a number of original features that relate directly to the heritage of the town. Its layout was designed to incorporate the shape of St Andrew's Cross, on which the town's coat of arms is based in recognition of Penrith's close links with Scotland.
Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: "We are delighted to be able to support the full restoration of this precious green-space right in the heart of Penrith. It can be enjoyed by local people and visitors once more as well as offering insights into the town's history."
A significant new feature will be to make the main circular path within the garden a 'timeline' incorporating many aspects of the history of Penrith from pre-historic to modern times, and illustrated by some 16 information panels, four artwork sculptures and eight flagpole banners. Local families and especially schoolchildren will also be able to learn more about the town's past and that of the garden thanks to new activity packs that will be available through the Penrith Tourist Information Centre and Penrith and Eden Museum websites.
Eden District Council's Vice Chairman, Councillor John Thompson said: "I was delighted to be invited to take part in the turf cutting ceremony for the start of this project with the President of Penrith Rotary Club, David Dixon. It is great to see the community actively involved in the renovation of this town centre green space which is so rich in local history. I am delighted that the Council is supporting it and is assisting the work through our Architect Paul Brunsdon. I look forward to seeing how the project develops in the coming weeks."
Notes to Editors:
For more media information contact the Communication Officer at Eden District Council telephone: 01768 212137.