Friends celebrate archaeology project with exhibition


The Friends are staging a free exhibition at The Temple in Wanstead Park. The display, which will run until September, seeks to raise awareness of a major project to map the park’s historic features.

The “Strategic Assessment and Conservation Measures for Wanstead Park” was commissioned in 2012 by English Heritage. Its object was to record the condition and value of Wanstead Park's heritage features and provide a basis for their future conservation management.

Wanstead Park includes the visible remains of formal gardens, landscaped parkland and lakes dating mainly from the late seventeenth to early nineteenth centuries. In addition, the park is known to have witnessed earlier activity from at least the Late Bronze Age including substantial evidence of Roman occupation.

The project was led by well-established consultancy Compass Archaeology. Their largest single task was creating a “gazetteer” of no less than 150 individual features ranging from buried archaeology to veteran trees and standing buildings. This was later uploaded onto the Greater London Historic Environment Record database over several months by volunteers from the Friends, completing what was probably the most detailed study of a single historic park ever carried out.

Following completion of the Strategic Assessment, volunteers from the Friends of Wanstead Parklands were nominated for the 2013 Heritage Angel Awards, and received a special certificate of recognition for their work in Wanstead Park.

Friends spokesman Richard Arnopp said: “The Friends are extremely grateful to English Heritage for funding this important project. We can take a good deal of satisfaction in the fact that we played a part in bringing it about. We can also be proud that research work which we initiated laid foundations which Compass and their team were able to build on.”

Mr Arnopp continued: “We are grateful to the Corporation of London for providing the wonderful venue for this exhibition. We hope that the information and photographs will inspire visitors to go out and explore “one of East London’s best kept secrets” for themselves”.

The content of the exhibition has been set up as an A4 booklet in PDF format, which may be downloaded here.

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