Gunnersbury is jointly owned and run by Hounslow and Ealing councils and recognised by many as one of the most important parks in the country. Together we prepared two applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) and have received initial support from HLF and BIG to help regenerate Gunnersbury into a sustainable high quality park with varied uses, which serve the local community and region whilst respecting, enhancing and interpreting its historic framework and fabric.
The HLF has awarded Gunnersbury £386,400 from the Heritage Grants programme to help develop our proposals for the museum. This project estimated at £9.4 Million will restore Gunnersbury Park House and develop and expand the museum within it allowing our collections to inspire learning and creativity and promote a better understanding of local heritage. A second round application to the HLF is planned in February 2014.
The HLF and BIG have jointly awarded Gunnersbury £321,330 from the Parks for People grants programme to help develop our proposals for the park. These proposals, estimated at £7.9 million, will to restore the park's unique heritage features and introduce new community and leisure activities for everyone to enjoy. A second round application to the HLF and the Big Lottery Fund is planned in February 2014.
What’s in the park?
The two Gunnersbury Park mansions are set within a beautiful 75 hectare (186 acre) Grade 2* registered landscape of exceptional mature trees, open grass spaces and historic buildings including an Orangery, ‘Princess Amelia’s’ Bath house, Gothic Ruins and the Stables. Gunnersbury Park House (the Large Mansion) is the home of the local history museum for the boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow.
To the west of the mansions is a round pond and close to this is a café (open all year round), a mid-18th century Temple and Italian garden, a large children’s play area and an 18 hole pitch and putt golf course open in the summer months. The car park, accessed from Popes Lane, is adjacent the walled garden now housing Capel Manor College. Nearby there is a bowling green and a huge open field and pitches for football, cricket and rugby. To the south is the Potomac Lake with its woodland walks, bluebells in the spring and a hidden Gothic style boat house.
Public toilets are located at the museum (open during museum opening hours) and adjacent to the café, available during cafe opening hours.
The large mansion in Gunnersbury Park is an historic (Grade ll* listed) Regency house which once belonged to the Rothschild family. It still retains a suite of grand reception rooms designed by Sydney Smirke in 1835-6 and a servants’ wing containing the magnificent original Victorian kitchens. These are open to the public every weekend from April 1 to October 31.
Since 1929 the Large Mansion has also been the home to Gunnersbury Park Museum, the local history museum for the London boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow.
Here you will find a wide range of objects, paintings and photographs which reflect life in Ealing and Hounslow from prehistory to the present day. The collections are now so extensive that most of them are in storage, but they are brought into public view through a programme of regularly changing exhibitions.
Items not on show can be viewed by appointment. Free entry. For more information please visit: www.visithounslow.com/Gunnersbury_Park_Mansions
The need for a regeneration project
Gunnersbury is a well loved park, of national significance. English Heritage, the government’s adviser on the historic environment, has registered Gunnersbury as Grade 2* putting it in the top 30 per cent of registered parks in the country. There are also 22 listed buildings on the site.
However several studies have shown Gunnersbury to be in major decline. Current funding is insufficient to maintain a managed ‘status quo’ since, like many local authority-owned parks, it has suffered from pressure on council budgets. English Heritage has named Gunnersbury within the top 12 ‘at risk’ properties in England due to the large amount of investment needed to restore and repair the Buildings and landscape.
Conservation Management Plan
The Conservation Management Plan (CMP) was completed in July 2008 and can be downloaded from this page. It was the first step in the process of regeneration and preservation of Gunnersbury’s heritage. It describes the park's features, why they are important and starts to consider how they can be retained, restored and interpreted.
As well as the park's significant historic buildings and landscape, its importance as valuable open space for sports and informal recreation, a site for regional events and a haven for nature conservation is also identified.
A vision was set out to have: ‘a sustainable high quality park with varied uses, which serve the local community and region whilst respecting, enhancing and interpreting its historic framework and fabric’.
The next step
An outreach team has now been appointed to help work with all communities to develop the proposals for a planned HLF round 2 submission in February 2014. This will include working with a wide range of groups, volunteers and forums within the museum and park. A programme of events, activities and surveys is being developed. If you would like to become involved in this, email firstname.lastname@example.org . The proposals will take into account the options appraisal and consultation completed in 2010 to which more than 4,000 local residents responded.
Joint Advisory Panel
This panel, previously known as the Regeneration Board, is an advisory body which has been meeting informally with council officers to consider the best way to protect the park for future generations. The board is currently made up of local councillors from both Hounslow and Ealing councils. Meetings are open to the public.
Friends of Gunnersbury Park and Museum
The purpose of the Friends of Gunnersbury Park and Museum is to preserve and improve the park, with its varied landscape, its sports, leisure and recreational activities and its historic buildings, together with the Museum. For more information on the Friends please see their website: www.gunnersburyfriends.org
Telephone: 020 8992 1612
Gunnersbury Park Museum, Gunnersbury Park, London W3 8LQ
To join the project’s mailing list to be kept up to date about the project email email@example.com.
For sports pitch hire and grounds maintenance issues contact Laing Integrated Services :
Telephone: 0845 456 2796
For antisocial behaviour in the park please contact Brentford’s Safer Neighbourhoods Team
Telephone: 020 8721 2533