Council recruiting apprentices to join its National Lottery Heritage Fund project at the Kearsney Dover

Contributed by editor on Feb 10, 2019 - 09:00 AM

Kearsney Court


Soon to be recruited apprentices will be learning new skills and help restore historic parkland at Kearsney, Dover.

The contract for the landscape restoration has been awarded to idverde UK Ltd which has a strong track record of heritage parks restoration, including Wrest Park in Bedfordshire owned by English Heritage.

Thomas Mawson’s terraced landscape


A key part of the works is the restoration of Thomas Mawson’s terraced landscape at Russell Gardens. Thomas Mawson (1861-1933) was one of the most influential landscape architects of the Edwardian era, and Russell Gardens is a rare example of his work in the south east. Russell Gardens is Grade II listed on Historic England’s Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England.

A key feature of Mawson’s design is a series of formal terraces framing Kearsney Court (pictured below) – once the home of Wiggins Teape paper mill owner, Edward Barlow.

It was Barlow who commissioned Mawson in c.1900. The terracing leads down to the croquet lawns, a lily pond, and a 170m long canal pond with a boathouse and two Palladian-style pergola bridges. A summer house will also provide new toilets in Russell Gardens.

Landscape works in neighbouring Kearsney Abbey will see the recreation of an eye-catcher bridge across the ornamental lake. Meanwhile, restoration of the Grade II listed former billiards room – the only part of the original mansion house still standing – is well underway, along with construction of a 180m² new build café extension by Coombs (Canterbury) Ltd.


Major tourist attraction

Cllr Trevor Bartlett, Cabinet Member for Corporate Property, said: “We’re excited to be starting work on restoring the fabulous landscape in Russell Gardens. Once complete, we expect Russell Gardens to become a major tourist attraction, offering free public access to one of the finest examples of the iconic work of Thomas Mawson.

“We’re also investing to improve the visitor experience across the parks, including an enlarged café, more parking, improved pathways, signage and interpretation, and new education programmes to support outdoor learning.”

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