Ealing and Hounslow councils have received two lottery grants, together worth more than £700,000, to help them progress plans to transform Gunnersbury Park.
A Heritage development grant of £386,400, was announced this week to design a new museum in Gunnersbury Park House. That is in addition to a £321,000 Parks for People development grant, jointly funded by the HLF and Big Lottery Fund (BIG), which was awarded last month to take forward restoration plans for the park.
The initial development funding will help the councils progress their plans to make Gunnersbury into a sustainable, high quality park that serves the local community while respecting and enhancing its long and rich history.
Both grants were agreed after the councils were successful in the first round of bidding for lottery funding. If successful at the second round of bidding, the councils are in line to receive £7.7m to implement the plans.
The Parks for People grant would be used to improve the park’s landscape, lakes and horticulture, while the Heritage grant would restore the large mansion and enhance the museum it houses.
Set amongst 186 acres of lawns, gardens and sports fields, the park’s 22 listed buildings include two mansions, an orangery, gothic ruins, stables and a bath house. Gunnersbury has been the home of politicians, soldiers, the Rothchild bankers and King George II’s daughter, Princess Amelia.
Councillor Colin Ellar, deputy leader of Hounslow Council, said: “These two successful bids are a welcome boost to our plans. The refurbishment of Gunnersbury Park House will open up a new museum, and we will be able to offer much more of the collections and a wide variety of learning and training opportunities. The park refurbishment will allow people to really appreciate the historic landscape, as well as enhancing the environment with new facilities for play, refreshment, events and recreation.”
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “We’re delighted to have received this support, which will allow us to move forward with our ambitious plans to transform the park and its historic buildings. Our residents regard Gunnersbury with a huge amount of affection, so it’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for future generations.”
Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund London Committee, Wesley Kerr, said: “Parks and local museums are vital community assets. The vast and verdant Gunnersbury Park is one of London’s most important designed landscapes and Gunnersbury Museum has a remarkable collection of 40,000 artifacts from carriages to costumes all housed in a fine Georgian mansion with a beautifully preserved Victorian kitchen . But the mansion, along with most of the park’s other historic buildings, is deteriorating and seriously at risk.
“The Heritage Lottery Fund is very pleased to support the boroughs of Hounslow and Ealing in taking the first steps to restoring the buildings, enhancing the park, safeguarding the collections, expanding and modernising the museum to make it one of the finest in west London. There have been years of consultations; now we are glad to support these holistic regeneration plans with £707,400 of development funding, possibly unlocking many millions of pounds in the future.”