Hands up if you haven’t yet heard of the “Sydney Gardens Parks for People Heritage Lottery Fund Project.”
Yeh l know it’s a grand-sounding title, but it’s an ambitious scheme to restore one of Bath’s much-loved public spaces.
Sydney Gardens has an historic past – it’s the only remaining eighteenth-century pleasure gardens in the country – but it also needs to appeal to the present.
The Project team – a mixture of ‘Friends’, B&NES, local residents’ groups and the Holburne Museum – are preparing stage 2 of a Heritage Lottery bid for over three million pounds which will hopefully secure its future.
The funding will be used to restore historic buildings, invest in landscape and garden restoration works, and create new play areas for all ages, over a three-year programme (2019 – 21).
Alongside the works, a programme of events and activities around art, nature, horticulture, wildlife, play, sport, archaeology and history will be put on. The project will celebrate the fascinating history of the gardens, with its Cosmorama, Labyrinth, Merlins Swing, Concerts, Public Breakfasts, Galas and Illuminations.
Sydney Gardens has gone through a period of decline.
It’s been sad to see the bowling club close – through a lack of new members – but it was here l caught up with Project Manager Keith Rowe to discover how its now-defunct bowling green is playing its part in planning one possible feature for the new-look gardens.
And – just days later – here’s the first cut of that mini labyrinth with Parks Department works Robert and Steve battling the elements to cut the first outline into the now defunct bowling green.
As you have just heard, the next public consultation open day is on Saturday 25th November from 11.30am to 4.30pm at the Gardeners Lodge, in Sydney Gardens. Come and view the labyrinth and all the latest plans. You can give feedback and share your ideas too.