July in Ellington Park has seen a focus on heritage, to contextualise all the historical finds which the team are hoping to discover as part of the archive project.
The park has a fascinating history, from 1270’s when the small hamlet of Ellington derived its name from Nicholas d’ Elinton. Many prominent families lived in the private Ellington Estate prior to 1892, when it was acquired by the Ramsgate Corporation (now Thanet District Council), to be used as a place of public recreation (a nationwide trend supported by Queen Victoria). 1893 saw Ellington Park designed by landscape gardeners Joseph Cheal and Son, renowned for Hever Castle in Kent, Kirkstall Abbey in Yorkshire and Polesden Lacey (National Trust) in Surrey.
Today many of these heritage features remain alongside modern additions, including:
- Victorian Landscape – Gardens, Planting & Trees: The 1893 Cheal plan focused on tree and shrub planting, with a formal promenade from the terrace to the bandstand
- Terrace – Flint Knapped Wall and Formal Gardens all form part of the classic formal Victorian landscaped scheme
- The Pulhamesque Rockery- Allen Scott Landscape Architects carrying out the Conservation
- Management Plan – discovered the rocks are not the original patented, anthropic rock & invented by James Pulham (1820-98) but is a fake re-creation
- Tunnels- There are two entrances to the unique Second World War tunnels which were used as a bomb shelter for over 30,000 people.
Wildlife Garden, Ecology and Recent Additions
In 2013, in partnership with Kew Gardens, the Wildlife Garden was established. Two species of bats (pipistrelle and noctule) are both thriving since the introduction of the pond. The Bowls Club, Wildlife Garden, Bookshop, Miniature Railway, Play Areas, and Table Tennis & Trim Trail are important additions for increasing social use of the park.
In addition, the first item which will be going out to tender is the 110 year old Bandstand by Walter MacFarlane & Company Ltd. The brick and iron structure is original and the bandstand will be remade to the heritage designs and standards (see drawings below). Many performances pageants and events have been staged in the park, the famous Ramsgate Pageant of 1934, had over 1,500 local people performing and hosted a royal visit from King of France. The council and the Friends of Ellington Park are looking forward to working with a specialist contractor to bring this heritage feature back to life for future generations to use.
To preserve and enhance these heritage features the council and Friends of Ellington Park are working behind the scenes to finalise design and issue tender documents. With a robust procurement process this will ensure best value for money for public funds, including the National Lottery Heritage Fund support of £1.8m. Works are scheduled to start in the park at the end of 2019.