Morden Hall Park has won nearly £1 million towards a £2.5 million project
Morden Hall Park, a 125-acre urban oasis in London, has found new support for its Heart in the Park scheme in the form of a £990,000 cheque from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The estate, run by the National Trust, is comprised of Morden Hall, Morden Cottage, an old snuff mill and several old farming buildings. The buildings are set to benefit from the grant when the money is put towards their renovation and conservation.
A 19th century stable yard has not been open to the public for 130 years, and upon completion will provide both a tourist attraction and a centre for sustainable renovation. Valuable re-use of these buildings will not stop there, as the last remaining water wheel is conserved to explain the river's industrial heritage.
The River Wandle and its surrounding wetlands remain an important theme in the £2.5m project, and a key addition to the park is that of the Archimedes screw hydroelectric turbine, which may be the first of its kind in London.
The waterwheel at Morden will be conserved
"This innovative and exemplary approach to restoration, conservation and interpretation will make this a genuinely sustainable 'deep green' heritage project that will simultaneously bring alive the industry of the past whilst embracing that of the future," said Sue Bowers, head of the HLF in London.
As well as improving the physical aspects of the park, the project is also aimed at a larger social enterprise, incorporating the local community as well as visitors to the park.
A Livinggreen exhibition is to be set up in the renovated stable area along with new space for craft artists and facilities for families.
"This grant allows us to forge ahead with what will be an exemplar for the Trust in terms of carbon neutral building renovation," explained Patrick Begg, Regional Director for the Thames and Solent Region of the National Trust.
"But the Trust is as much about people, and it's doubly rewarding to know that we will also be giving our supporters and the community members in Merton what they have very firmly told us they want from their own, local National Trust."