Walton Hall and Gardens is set for a new working partnership as the historic conservatory range nears completion.
After spending years languishing behind boards, overgrown and isolated from the rest of the estate, the conservatories are now about to become the focal point of the estate once again. In addition, this week marks the beginning of its use as an educational hub and a place of accessible learning.
To mark the milestone, Mayor Cllr Wendy Johnson and Cabinet Member for leisure and community Cllr Tony Higgins, along with former Mayor, Cllr Peter Carey, were at Walton Hall and Gardens for a symbolic ribbon cutting ceremony.
The ceremony formally welcomed council partners Myerscough College and Walton Lea Partnership to their new home, signifying the beginning of this exciting partnership.
Thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund, in 2016 Warrington Borough Council was able to employ a team of heritage specialists to design the conservatories restoration works.
After three years of partnership working with Rosslee Construction, and with help from The National Heritage Lottery Fund, the conservatories are now on the cusp of being fully restored as part of a vibrant Walton Hall estate.
Cllr Tony Higgins said: “This has been a fantastic project to be involved with, and the restoration of these historic conservatories is truly the missing piece of the jigsaw for Walton Estate.
“It’s fabulous that Myerscough and The Walton Lea Project will be partnering us in this joint venture, in what is a new and exciting chapter of this culturally rich estate.”
Led by Warrington Borough Council, the project will form a sustainable partnership with Myerscough College and Walton Lea to deliver apprenticeships, qualifications and opportunities for social enterprise. This collaboration will also lead to the development of other areas of the estate, such as the historic formal gardens, conservatory planting and zoo, all of which will further increase public participation and learning.
The restoration of the Conservatories is entirely in keeping with the original, containing thousands of pieces of slender, elegant timber. During the renovation, each piece of this timber was removed and tagged before being assessed for rot. This original timber was then used internally with new timber being used for the external beams.
The original ironwork has been repaired and reused throughout the conservatories, and with over 90% of the bricks dating back to 1899-1910 in excellent condition, this project has been true to its original construction; guaranteeing the significant heritage history of the site for future generations.
You can find out more about the Conservatory Range Project and the rich cultural heritage of Walton Hall estate at waltonhallgardens.co.uk/the-gardens/glasshouses/
The official opening of the conservatory range is scheduled for October 2019. History in the making!