Breathing new life into Gunnersbury Park
Gunnersbury Park in Hounslow is a Grade II Registered Park, a designated Garden of Special Historic Interest and an heritage asset of national significance.
The park boast 22 listed buildings, including historic houses, a classical-style temple, a boathouse, gateways, arches and walls. Two of the most prominent buildings are Gunnersbury Park House (‘the Large Mansion’), built in 1802, and Gunnersbury House (‘the Small Mansion’), constructed between 1802 and 1810. The Large Mansion currently houses the Gunnersbury Park Museum; an invaluable educational resource for all ages.
As a private estate the park was home to a host of notable owners, including the 17th century lawyer and politician John Maynard; Princess Amelia, daughter of King George II and the Rothschild family. Despite the rich social and heritage significance of the park, it has sadly been in decline for a number of years. With money awarded through the HLF Parks for People grant a long-term regeneration scheme is being developed. If successful it will help to maintain and conserve the park’s unique heritage features. As part of this process MOLA has been commissioned to contribute to updating the current Conservation Management Plan and to inform regeneration proposals relating to the future management of archaeological resources.
Very little archaeological work has been carried out in the park to date and our work will initially begin with an archaeological desk-based assessment (DBA) to collate archaeological and historical evidence. This is being made possible with support from the Ealing and Chiswick Local Studies Libraries, Gunnersbury Park Museum and local historians from the Friends of Gunnersbury.
The next step is to form research questions, based on the results of the DBA, that focus on specific time periods and types of land use of the site. Topographic surveys and field investigations later this summer and autumn (including during the Festival of Archaeology on 13th–23rd July) will provide opportunities for local Ealing and Hounslow residents to get involved.
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