This year, more than 200 sites and project stakeholders have run activities to celebrate the life, work and legacy of Humphry Repton. Arranged by the Gardens Trust, these events celebrates the great work of the landscape gardener of the eighteenth century. He was responsible for 400 landscapes across the UK, including Longleat, Woburn Abbey and Russell Square.
Conferences and public garden openings will share his legacy. A £99,500 grant from the HLF will allow the Gardens Trust to pilot activities to welcome wider audiences to Repton landscapes. It has the long-term view to nurturing a new wave of volunteers for these heritage assets. The grant will also enable the Gardens Trust to aid skills, material guidance and training workshops, with other green spaces. This will allow these spaces offer similar local community events in the future.
These pilot activities are taking place at five renowned Repton sites, working with specific audiences:
A family excursion to Wicksteed Park, Kettering. This will be with Northamptonshire Gardens Trust on 8 September. Guests are invited from the multicultural Victoria Centre community centre in Wellingborough. Children’s activities are run such as paper boat-making and tree-measuring, as well as a tour of the park.
The 20th century amusement and theme park was in the grounds of Barton Seagrave, for which Repton created a Red Book over 100 years before. Evidence shows his designs are in place.
A family fun day celebrating world cultures and cuisines at the Catton Park Heritage Open Day, Norfolk. Taking place on 16 September from 11:00am – 4:00pm, in partnership with Norfolk Gardens Trust and Broadland District Council. The family day is full of free activities and entertainment from around the globe. There are opportunities for visitors to try their hand at everything from Chinese calligraphy, to martial arts.
Visitors will also be able to try a global eating experience with food vendors serving a range of global cuisines.
Children are also invited to take part in a drawing competition of their favourite garden. These will feature alongside a display of gardens from around the world.
Catton Park was Repton’s first commission. Catton House was strategically built on a hill, and Repton framed the view of the city from the hill with woodland planting.
The Warley Woods Big Red Book Project lets people research their local Repton landscape in a volunteer project. The project includes four training workshops and will result in a leaflet, public presentation. Information found shall be part of to the Historic Environment Record.
Humphry Repton was commissioned to transform farmland at Warley Woods into a pleasure garden.
An introductory conservation workshop for refugees, at Kenwood Park, London. Followed by a planting workshop in April 2019. This looks at 18th century plantings in the UK as well as gardening styles from the refugees’ countries of origin.
Repton is thought to have influenced the design of some 60 gardens or squares across London, including Kenwood. These workshops will involve new audiences in ensuring that London’s green spaces are protected.
A Repton and garden history workshop and tour at Blaise Castle, Bristol with Avon Gardens Trust in 2019.
Repton laid out the park at Blaise on the remains of an early formal layout of around 1700.
Linden Groves, strategic development officer at The Gardens Trust said:
“We are keen for our celebrations to raise understanding and appreciation of Humphry Repton and our historic landscapes. We hope to generate a new wave of conservation volunteers and supporters. This forms the main thrust of our pilot activities, designed to introduce local communities to Repton landscapes. We want people to share the learning experience with our professional network.”