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Why So special? Iconic C20 Landscapes - Improvement Garden Stockwood Park

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£3.50 – £5

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This talk is part of our series in association with FOLAR on Tues@6 from 7 Sept, £5 each or £17 for the 4 in this series topic

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FOLAR and The Gardens Trust are delighted to present a series of weekly online talks reviewing the 21 recently registered Historic England post war landscapes and gardens and their designers.

[To see details of this particular talk please scroll down beyond the listings]

The purpose of the series is to focus attention on the ideas, ingenuity and quality of each of these C20 designs. With a brilliant array of speakers including the original designers, academics, historians and researchers plus further insights from head gardeners, residents, site managers and users, we aim to reveal more detail about the design, the designer, how the landscape/garden works, how it has endured over the years, and what its future is like even with Historic England (HE) listing. We also want to discuss availability and access to drawings and papers related to the projects.

These landscapes and gardens range from private gardens to vast reclamation projects. Throughout the UK many C20 designed gardens and landscapes are at great risk from being unnoticed or under-valued, or they are maintained without any awareness of the original concept, such that sites get swept away, ‘improved’ or built over. We hope that this series of talks will help to change this.

The full series runs from 7 September 2021 to 29 March 2022, grouped by subject and with a week’s break between topics. [and nothing in December] All talks are on Tuesdays from 18.00-19.15.

This ticket is for this individual talk and costs £5, and you may purchase tickets for other individual talks via the links below, or you may purchase a ticket for this particular part of the series for £17 which focuses on Semi-Public Gardens and runs from 11 January to 1 February here.

FOLAR members can buy tickets for this topic at £12, other topics or for individual talks at the reduced prices. Please note that Landscape Institute members are not automatically members of FOLAR.

For a detailed description of each talk please click on the individual ticket for more information (which will be updated with information when available). FOLAR members can access their ticket prices at checkout.

To join FOLAR (Individual membership subscription - £20 per annum) go to www.folar.uk/support-us.

Attendees will be sent a Zoom link 2 days prior to the start of the talk, and again a few hours before the talk. A link to the recorded session (available for 1 week) will be sent shortly afterwards.

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New Town Parks

Week 1: 7 September. Harlow Town Park with David Allen and Alison Fox. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 2: 14 September. Campbell Park Milton Keynes with Neil Higson and Brian Salter. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Commercial Landscapes

Week 3: 28 September. Stockley Park with Bernard Ede and Claire Watson. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 4: 5 October. Broadwater Park with Karen Fitzsimon. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 5: 12 October. Cummins Engine Factory with Jane Amidon and Matthew Benians. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 6: 19 October. Cadbury Factory with Ed Bennis and Rob Belcher. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Public Housing

Week 7: 2 November. Alexandra Road Park with Neil Davidson. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 8: 9 November. Brunel Estate with Colin Moore. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 9: 16 November. Golden Lane Estate with Elain Harwood and Clem Cecil. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 10: 23 November. Churchill Gardens with Dominic Cole and Jennifer White. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 11: 30 November. Alton East and West with Elain Harwood. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Semi-Public Gardens

Week 12: 11 January. Improvement Garden Stockwood Park with Kate Harwood. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each or all 4 for £17.

Week 13: 18 January. Roper’s Garden with Ed Bennis. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each, or all 4 for £17.

Week 14: 25 January. Kennedy Memorial with Annabel Downs and Annie Thomas. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each, or all 4 for £17.

Week 15: 1 February. St Catherine’s College with Tim Richardson. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each, or all 4 for £17.

Private Housing

Week 16: 15 February. Fieldend with Jan Woudstra and James Strike. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 17: 22 February. Burwood Place Water Gardens with Dominic Cole, Jan Woudstra and Cristina Refolo. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Private Gardens

Week 18: 8 March. Beth Chatto’s Garden with David Ward and Chris Gibson. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 19: 15 March. Denmans Garden with Barbara Simms and Gwendolyn van Paasschen. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 20: 22 March. York Gate Garden with Ben Preston. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 21: 29 March. Shute House with Kate Felus. Part of a series of 21 online lectures, £5 each.

Week 12. 11 Jan: A People's Arcadia: The Ian Hamilton Finlay Garden at Luton

The IHF garden at Stockwood, commissioned and funded by the local council, is a complete programme of sculptures designed by Ian Hamilton Finlay and complemented by planting by Bob Burgoyne, Master Gardener at the council and very much in sympathy with Finlay's vision. The site is not only in a public park, but also an 18th century parkland. The garden draws on the work of Claude Lorraine and the English Landscape Movement and is imbued with the classical world of deities drawn from Ovid's Metamorphoses. This talk looks at the commissioning of the garden, its influences, other examples in Finlay's oeuvre and its importance, culminating with it being added to the Register in 2020 by Historic England at Grade II*. Luton Culture, who run the garden, have set up a small group to promote its rejuvenation with the help of HE and the speaker.

Kate Harwood has been involved with this garden for many years, researching and raising awareness of its significance. She is Conservation & Planning Officer of Hertfordshire Gardens Trust and a member of The Gardens Trust Conservation Committee. She has an MA in Garden History from Birkbeck and taught on their certificate course, and at ICE Cambridge for several years. She now lectures, writes and researches garden history as well as helping residents of Hertfordshire to protect and enhance our historic parks and gardens.

Image: © Kate Harwood


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The Gardens Trust is the UK national charity dedicated to protecting our heritage of designed gardens and landscapes. We campaign on their behalf, undertake research and conservation work, train volunteers and encourage public appreciation and involvement, working with the national network of County Garden Trusts.

Please join or donate to support us: http://thegardenstrust.org/support-us/

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