Projects – The Pump Room Gardens History and Conservation project

Overview of the Project

In 2011 the Friends of the Pump Room Gardens secured a Heritage Lottery grant to enable school children and the local community to learn more about the history of the Pump Room Gardens in Leamington Spa as well as participate in helping decide how the park should be managed in the future. The HLF grant enabled the Friends to work in partnership with the Warwickshire County Record Office and the Warwickshire County Council’s Heritage Education department to raise public awareness and promote education and understanding of the Pump Room Gardens. Here is what they did…

Working with schools and young people

A big part of the project was to engage with schools and young people. This was done in two ways. Firstly Heritage Education developed and delivered a two day project in partnership with Imagineering looking at the History of the Gardens and designing our own Linden Arches. Download our Teachers Pack – A Study of a Victorian Park [Download PDF] showing how to do this with your own class for the Pump Room Gardens or any other Victorian Park.

As well this project Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum led on delivering an animation project that encouraged local children to engage with the history of the Pump Room Gardens in a different way. Local Animator Chris Bradley worked with pupils from ARC School to produce an animated film. The inventive storyline for the animation, which was set in the Pump Room Gardens, included the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Leamington’s famous elephants, tightrope walkers and floods. To see their film click here.

Documenting a Year in the Life of the Pump Room Gardens

As part of the HLF funded project Liz Drake, a local photographer, was commissioned to record a year in the life of the Gardens. Over a 12 month period she photographed the Gardens and the people using them at different times of the day and during different events. Some of the best shots were then used to created this video – click here.

The Conservation Statement

A big part of the project was the researching and development of a Conservation Statement for the Gardens. Over a 8 month period a group of volunteers worked together to produce the statement which was then presented to Warwick District Council. To read the executive summary click on the links below.

PRG Executive Summary [Download PDF]

Public consultation

As part of the project Groundwork West Midlands was commissioned to undertake some public consultation.  The consultation focused on the Draft Conservation Statement and their report can be read here – [Download PDF]. The consultation included an evening amenity group session and two public consultation activities held in the Pump Room Gardens.

The Touring Exhibition

A touring exhibition of 6 panels was developed by a team of volunteers supported by an exhibition coordinator. The exhibition was launch in early January with an event attend by over 80 people and then toured around Warwick and Leamington to 11 different venues. Since its launch it has been seen by over 1000 people. To see the panels click on the links below.

Leamington – Village Green [Download PDF]
Leamington – The Future [Download PDF]
Leamington – Your Garden [Download PDF]
Leamington – Schools project [Download PDF]
Leamington – Restoring the arches [Download PDF]
Leamington – History line [Download PDF]

Oral History and Poetry project

We wanted to record people memories of the gardens to become part of the Leamington Art Gallery and Museum collection but we also wanted to present these memories back to people in a new way. To do this we employed a local poet Jacqui Rowe. Jacqui worked with the 63 snapshot memories we had collected over days in the gardens and turn them into poems. Those poems were used on the podcast and can be read here [Download PDF]. Anyone who had a particularly good story to tell was than invited into the Museum to give a fuller oral history.

The Podcast

Volunteers worked alongside Heritage Education Staff to script and record a podcast which can be downloaded on to mobile phones or iPods. The podcast covers a little of the history of the garden, its natural environment and its particular features. It also includes some of the poems created by Jacqui Rowe as part of the oral history element and recordings of students from South Leamington School discussing what they would like to see the gardens used for in the future. You can hear the podcasts here:

Pump Room Gardens – The Future                     Pump Room Gardens – The Bands Played

Pump Room Gardens – Peace Festival               Pump Room Gardens – Nature

Pump Room Gardens – Floods

Find out more about the Gardens

To find out more about the History of the Gardens or the Linden Arches check out the links below:

Archie Pitts talks about the Linden Arches restoration.

Friend of the Pump Room Gardens site.

Leamington Art Gallery and Museum.