Parks & Gardens UK, the archive of historic designed landscape sites has a new home with the Hestercombe Gardens Trust based just outside of Taunton. In September last year Parks & Gardens UK with Hestercombe Gardens Trust received £97,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to secure the future of the P&GUK database and website of historic designed landscapes.
The archive has records of over 9100 historic designed landscape sites and over 2400 biographies of associated people and organisations. The Hestercombe archive contains a significant collection of documents, photographs, plans and manuscripts relating not only to Hestercombe itself with its 18th-century Landscape Garden and also its Jekyll/ Lutyens gardens but to other parks, gardens and designed landscapes in the United Kingdom. The combination of the two databases, by offering economies of scale and ease of access between them, will offer a powerful research resource unmatched elsewhere. It will also allow for its expansion by maintaining and developing the existing close relationship between County Gardens Trust and The Gardens Trust, as well as the development of new relationships with like-minded organisations. Hestercombe is readily accessible and has a range of conference rooms for seminars, summer schools and workshops that will make the study of gardens and landscapes available to a wider public.
Explaining the importance of the National Lottery support, Drew Bennellick, Head of Landscape & Natural Heritage at the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “This project offers a unique opportunity to bring together two incredibly important sources of data and research for the very first time. Whether it’s someone just wanting to find out more about our rich history of landscape design, or a researcher delving into the history of an early park or garden, these databases are an important and accessible resource for all.”