At the beginning of the year we heard the fabulous news that the Cannon Hall Park & Gardens, Parks for People project team were successful in their application to the HLF and secured funding of £3m to restore elements within the park. Wondering what will be carried out? Then read on…
Over the next few editions, you will learn about some of the elements that will benefit from this generous grant for our thousands of visitors to enjoy for years to come.
Dashing cascades and tranquil lakes were an essential part of a Georgian landscape. Imagine family and guests boating, fishing and relaxing on what John Spencer affectionately called his ‘pieces of water’.The sight of the lakes sparkling in the distance must have been a beautiful sight each morning and evening. Fishing was a desirable pastime for Georgian gentlemen. Lakes and stew-ponds were kept full of different varieties. Diaries record long days on the water and the threat posed by cunning poachers. John Spencer had two small boats, or ‘skiffs’, built for the lakes’ shallow waters. A boat-house stood here, as did a fishing cave, but their precise locations are unknown.The lakes were a treasured place for children from the hall and nearby villages. Skates cut patterns in the ice as they whizzed across in winter. In summer, children splashed,ducked and dived in the water.
Specialist contractors are to be brought in to restore the lakes to their former glory. Approximately 1/3 of the money will be spent on dredging the lakes of mud & silt, the finished result will be sparkling clean water that will glisten in the sunshine. The bankings will be cleared of all over grown plants that have self seeded over time, creating a dense and unnatural barrier to the lakeside, by doing this the lakes will be visible once more from the Hall itself, and visitors can enjoy watching the wild fowl in their natural habitat while resting on one of the many new benches along the lakeside. A new footpath will be installed following the original Georgian path as Richard Wood’s had planned in the 1770’s allowing some visitors to a part of Cannon Hall Park for the very first time. And following tradition, there are plans to bring back playful times on the lakes with boats, fishing and new activities covering topics such as ecology and biodiversity.
We hope works to start Autumn 2017 and be completed by 2020.
Thank you to Michael Hardy in Barnsley Archives & Local Studies Service in The Town Hall for researching images of the lakes.
And Thank You to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery without your support this restoration project would not be possible.