Walpole Park in Ealing

Walpole Park London, Soane Landscape, Architecture, Renewal, Architect, Images

Walpole Park in Ealing

Public Garden in west London, UK: Redevelopment – Team led by architects Jestico + Whiles, including conservation experts Julian Harrap Architects LLP and landscape architects J&L Gibbons working with Sarah Couch Historic Landscapes.

24 Oct 2014

Walpole Park in Ealing

Design: Jestico + Whiles

Sir John Soane’s listed Walpole Park officially reopens

Located in the heart of Ealing, the recently transformed Walpole Park will officially open to the public today (24th October 2014).

The redevelopment of Walpole Park is part of the major restoration of Sir John Soane’s historic country home Pitzhanger Manor, a Grade I listed structure which stands on the northeast side of the public park. Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery is being separately developed as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Heritage Grants programme, with the recent award of a £4.42m grant towards the £10.5m project cost.

Walpole Park
Photography © Peter Cook

Pitzhanger Manor and the grounds which now constitute the 12-hectare park were bought by Sir John Soane in 1800, for the sum of £4,500, to redevelop as his ‘country’ residence. In 1900 the land was sold to Ealing Urban District Council (UDC) and it was opened to the public with the buildings converted into a public library. Today, Walpole Park is one of Ealing’s premier parks and is the site of the annual Ealing Summer Festival.

Appointed in 2009 by Ealing Council, a team led by architects Jestico + Whiles, and including conservation experts Julian Harrap Architects LLP and landscape architects J&L Gibbons working with Sarah Couch Historic Landscapes, has transformed Walpole Park, reinstating Soane’s designs for Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery within their original Regency landscape setting.

Walpole Park
Photography © Peter Cook

The redevelopment of Walpole Park was funded through a £2.4m grant awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) as part of their Parks for People programme with additional funding provided by Ealing Council and The Veolia Environmental Trust, which supported the construction of the Rickyard.

The park facilities include a new playground designed to be more sympathetic to the heritage setting and the new Rickyard learning and education centre, designed by Jestico + Whiles. The learning centre provides a space for youth and community groups, schools, families and adults to meet, learn and run a range of activities as well as host events. It also houses the park’s new visitor facilities, including a café and public toilets alongside storage and support facilities for the park maintenance team and volunteers.

Two large water bodies within the park have been redesigned and Soane’s Rustic Bridge on the Serpentine Lake has undergone delicate masonry repairs. The shrubbery walk and a walled kitchen garden have also been renovated, enhancing elements of the original eighteenth century landscape.

Walpole Park
Photography © Peter Cook

Jestico + Whiles’ Director, Heinz Richardson said: “The transformation of Walpole Park is the first step towards reinstating Soane’s original designs for Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery and ensuring its future as a world-class heritage site. Our team of experts has worked closely on enhancing the surrounding landscape setting in order to provide the perfect backdrop to Soane’s masterpiece and an inviting outdoor space for use by the local community.’’

Ealing Council’s leader, Councillor Julian Bell said: “This project has been a labour of love for all involved, because Walpole Park is such a special place with huge historical significance; not just in Ealing, or London but nationally.

It perfectly represents Soane’s architectural and horticultural vision and I am so grateful to the HLF for awarding us with the funding to restore his vision and make Walpole Park an essential destination for a whole new generation of park lovers.”

Walpole Park
Photography © Peter Cook

Soane appears to have had an active involvement in the design and use of the gardens and park. John Haverfield of Kew, who worked frequently with Soane, advised on the laying out of the grounds and the resulting landscape was a miniature landscape park suited to a Regency country villa, with lawns, shrubberies, exotic trees, flower garden, kitchen garden, a serpentine lake with rustic bridge and arbour above, an ornamental shrubbery walk and a great number of classical fragments, all set within a small park.

Pitzhanger Manor and its gardens were conceived as a country idyll, an architectural showcase for Soane, who hoped to inspire his sons and cultured visitors in the pursuit of architecture; this was to be achieved by studying the house as well as the artificial Roman ruins, built north of the manor house. Designed as an advertisement for his own idiosyncratic architectural style with its classical detail, radical colour schemes and inventive use of space and light, he also intended that it would become a suitable residence for his elder son when he became an architect. The restoration of Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery will reinstate Soane’s architectural vision, reveal the Manor’s rich history, make the building more accessible and upgrade the gallery, as well as improve visitor facilities to create a world-class heritage site reconnected with its landscape setting.

Walpole Park
Photography © Sarah Blee

Team led by architects Jestico + Whiles, including conservation experts Julian Harrap Architects LLP and landscape architects J&L Gibbons working with Sarah Couch Historic Landscapes.

Jestico + Whiles

Walpole Park in Ealing images / information received 241014


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Walpole Park redevelopment designers Jestico + Whiles