The National Lottery isn’t just about trying to win big cash prizes. The money we spend also helps projects up and down the country. Some, like a £2.7m Lottery grant to the Sydney Gardens in Bath, England, also help preserve the nation’s history.
The Sydney Gardens are the UK’s only surviving Georgian Pleasure Gardens and one of the oldest parks in Bath. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund awarded the historic venue £2.7 million.
There will be a range of projects aimed at rejuvenating Sydney Gardens, which has a history dating back to 1795. Bath & North East Somerset Council is leading the restoration project which has been titled: Sydney Gardens: a 21st Century Pleasure Garden.
Looking back at the history of the Sydney Gardens, it appears novelist Jane Austen used to enjoy paying them a visit. Now a process of conservation will start on the Grade II registered gardens and its listed buildings. The grant will reopen parts of the park that are currently not available to visitors.
Historic features such as the Loggia, Minerva’s Temple and facilities added in the Edwardian period will also be restored. The flower gardens will be replanted, and improvements made to the wildlife habitats and viewpoints.
Another new feature will be to turn the Sydney Gardens into Bath’s first dementia-friendly park. There will be a new café kiosk and toilets in the play area. These will include highly accessible toilets for people with additional needs. Four tennis courts will be refurbished, and a new play and active zone created.
Councillor Bob Goodman, cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Development, is delighted with the chance to preserve the garden’s history. “This is fantastic news for the gardens and for the city. I grew up in Bath and have many happy childhood memories of the gardens and park, so it means a lot to me personally to know we can restore them.” Construction is planned to begin in 2020.