Excellent progress is being made on the lost lake restoration works at Lydiard Park, writes Sarah Finch-Crisp, Keeper of Lydiard House and Park.
Intensive clearing has revealed the full extent of the lower lake, which had been largely dry for nearly 100 years and works have taken place to de-silt and improve the upper lake.
Archaeological findings, during works, revealed the footings of the original weir and the specification for the new Palladian bridge between the upper and lower lakes is being slightly altered to ensure that the remains of this original weir are preserved and incorporated in the restoration.
This dramatic transformation of Lydiard?s landscape has necessitated temporary closures of pathways around the lake and we are very grateful to our many regular visitors for bearing with us during this short-term disruption.
The lake is due to be completed by summer 2006 when we can all look forward to sunny days picnicking by the lake and enjoying the lakeside walks, with new views of the striking Palladian house.
Over the coming months, contractors will begin work on restoring the historic dam wall, mending the breach over the stream and restoring the whole length of this castellated wall to its former grandeur. We apologise in advance for the footpath closure and access restrictions in the dam wall area.
Contractors are using the fenced compound on the church drive during these works.
Pictured, Coun Nick Martin, chair of the Lydiard Project Board with Sarah Finch-Crisp in front of the empty lake which will be filled by July
Education adventure begins
Work begins in early February to restore the 18th Century coach house and stable block at Lydiard Park, thanks to financial support from BMW.
The stables, which once housed Lord Bolingbroke?s famous race horses and St John family?s carriages, the Grade II listed building will become an all-purpose classroom, benefiting schools who take part in Lydiard?s education programme. It will also house facilities for community volunteers and horticultural apprentices working in the gardens, and much needed public lavatories.
Coun Nick Martin, Chair of the Lydiard Park Management Board, said, “we thank BMW Group for their superb support, along with other companies like Intel and nPower. The new classroom will provide an excellent teaching space, especially in bad weather. “Visitors to Lydiard will also welcome, at last, the provision of public loos close to the house.”
Pictured, Bob Bowlam, managing director of BMW Swindon plant, and children from Tregoze School hailing the start of work on the education centre
Lydiard on tour
A mural depicting the jewel in Swindon?s crown by acclaimed artist Ken White will soon be seen around the town thanks to Intel.
The company is one of the business sponsors involved in the ?5 million heritage lottery backed restoration of Lydiard Park. Working with employees Ken created the mural in three panels at the Intel European headquarters in Old Town.
At an unveiling hosted by Arts & Business South West, director Phil Gibby said the support of business for the Lydiard project is a great success and a national example.
Graham Palmer, Intel director for UK & Ireland, said the company celebrates its twenty-fifth year in Swindon in 2006. “With so many employees from all over the world visiting and working in Swindon, we have a commitment to making it an interesting place to both live and work.”
Swindon Council?s chief executive Sir Mike Pitt said, “I?m delighted to see David Murray-John?s visage hidden in Ken?s mural. He was a visionary for Swindon and was responsible for the acquisition of Lydiard Park for the town in 1944.”
The triptych is on offer to other companies for display and it will also be seen in public locations around Swindon.
Pictured below: Welcoming the Lydiard mural, from left, Phil Gibby, Arts & Business South West, , Graham Palmer of Intel , Ken White, , Sarah Finch-Crisp, keeper of Lydiard House, John Fowler, Intel community affairs manager, Sir Mike Pitt, John Woodget, MD Intel UK Ltd.