The Parks' Panel has met three times during the past few months. In February Shaun Taylor, Projects' Manager for the Heritage Lottery Fund proposals, gave a presentation on the restoration and costings for Christchurch Park. An article by Shaun appears above in this Newsletter.
The second meeting followed a similar presentation for Holywells Park which will make a bid for Lottery money probably early next year. This beautiful park is of particular interest because of its medieval connections - the Bishops of Norwich are believed to have held land here from the 12th century until the Reformation. The site of their residence was on the moated area which is now a playground. As its name implies, Holywells was renowned for the quality of its water, falling from a spring in a sequence of man-made ponds, inspiring Gainsborough's now celebrated painting (acquired by the Borough and currently in the Gainsborough exhibition visiting Boston, USA). These were the fresh water ponds which established Cobbold's brewing reputation! The Heritage Lottery Fund has asked for more research into the park's history and for proposals for its future, and will offer development money for this research.
In May, Panel members were taken on a walk around part of Christchurch Park to discuss proposals for alterations and restoration as put forward in the Lottery bid. The imposing pineapple-pillared entrance in Soane Street would be repaved and shrubs would be partly cleared to reveal the diaperwork on the brick walls. The lawn would be reshaped to its original oval, with stone balls around its perimeter. As we walked up to the Round Pond, certain proposals caused mild controversy, such as the suggested removal of the scalloped edges around the pond - "How can children feed the ducks?" Over decades, seedlings from mature trees have themselves grown overlarge, thus causing root damage to walkways. Should these trees be removed or the footpaths re-sited?
How many people know of the little horseshoe pond, obscured by undergrowth but once a feature of the formal gardens? In the Lower Arboretum, seated on benches alongside the croquet lawn and facing a wall of conifers, we envisaged a view over a cleared and replanted boulder-strewn rockery to the island, set in a cleaned Wilderness Pond, and to the pine hill beyond. Would there be funds for maintenance of this vision beyond the ten years allowed for in the Lottery funding? One can only hope so.
PAT GONDRIS, Ipswich Society representative on the Panel
Street Scene Observer Needed
Our member, Adam Gordon, used to write an annual article called "Street Scene". When he gave up doing it, the Newsletter lost the services of an architect with a keen eye for new developments and a love of Ipswich. Isn't there a present member with similar interests who could contribute an annual article? Your Editor would be delighted to hear from anyone who might help.