Young Carers Nature Challenge Celebration Day at Lydiard Park
A group of Swindon Young Carers, aged between 8 to 11 years, have been involved in a special project at Lydiard Park - the Young Carers Nature Challenge, which was part of the Access to Nature grant scheme managed by Natural England with funds from the Big Lottery Fund. It aimed to give young carers respite from their caring responsibilities by taking them outdoors and engaging them in fun, nature based games and activities, as well as practical conservation projects. At Lydiard Park, they worked with our Park Wardens and Mellie May, Youth Project Co-ordinator from The Conservation Volunteers to design an interpretation board about the magnificent veteran walnut tree on the lawn. The children discovered more about the trees and wildlife in the park, writing and drawing pictures to inspire the design of the board. On 28 March, a Celebration Day was held with a BBQ and nature & craft activities for the young carers and their families. The highlight of the day was the unveiling of the new board, designed by the young carers, by the Mayor of Swindon, Councillor Mick Bray.
An important painting of “The Huntsman and Dogs” has returned to Lydiard House following significant conservation, funded by a donation from the Swindon Bridge Society. The painting, by the Dutch artist Adrien de Gryef, shows a group of hunting dogs in a landscape. It was one of two paintings given to Lydiard House in the 1970s by Captain Goddard, whose family used to live at the Lawns in Old Town.
In Spring 2011, Swindon Bridge Society organised a bridge tournament in the grand hall of Lydiard House and raised £1,200.00, which they donated to Lydiard House for the conservation of this painting. Over the summer, the meticulous work, on cleaning, stretching and restoring, this painting was carried out by experienced conservators, Bush and Berry. They also repaired the painting’s carved gilt frame.
Royal Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance
Lydiard Park's Walled Garden was the venue for the Royal British Legion's Field of Rembrance to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives serving in Afghanistan. The Field was open from 11 to 20 November and became a sea of Remembrance Crosses with scarlet poppies - a touching symbol of Remembrance and tribute to the memory of ex-Service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their country.
We hosted two opening events on Friday 11 November, attended by around a thousand visitors, and each day that the field was open hundreds of people came to see this temporary memorial, as well as the four giant 11's of poppies planted on the front lawn outside Lydiard House to commemorate the Royal British Legion's 90th anniversary and the unique significance of the date this year.
St Mary's Church led an Act of Reflection every day at 11am and closed the Field of Remembrance with a short service on Sunday 20 November.
For more information on the Field of Remembrance, the annual Poppy appeal and the work of the Royal British Legion, please go to http://www.poppy.org.uk/remembrance/field-of-remembrance
Lydiard House book collection receives funding boost
Lydiard House has received a grant from Renaissance South West to help us make our historic book collection accessible to more people. The money will provide training to the museum’s 20 volunteers, as well as improving the museum’s storage conditions. The improvements, to store and care for our collections, will make it easier for researchers to use the books that Lydiard House has in store and ensure that more of our finest old books can be displayed in the Library.
Among the important and historically significant books held in Lydiard House’s stored collections are:
- hardbound editions of Charles Dickens novels
- Victorian encyclopaedias and travel books
- and an illustrated guide to the artwork of Lydiard House’s own Lady Diana Beauclerk, from the early 19th Century.
Lydiard Park has been named among the nation’s best green spaces. It has received the Green Flag Award, a sign to visitors that the park is well-maintained and well-managed, with excellent facilities. It was also handed Green Heritage status, which is in recognition of achieving the required standard in the management and interpretation of a site with local or national historic importance.
Green Flag applications are judged against eight key criteria including:
- conservation and heritage
- and whether the green space is clean and well maintained.
The scheme is supported by the department for Communities and Local Government and environmental charities Keep Britain Tidy, BTCV and GreenSpace. Green Heritage accreditation is sponsored by English Heritage and entries have to understand and share the heritage value of the site as well as helping people to enjoy the site.
Lydiard Park now has the chance to receive a further award from the Green Flag Plus Partnership, the People’s Choice Award. This award is voted for by the public, so if you want to see Lydiard Park receive a national accolade as the people’s choice, then visit the Green Flag Award website www.greenflagaward.org.uk now to register your vote.
There has been great excitement in the bird watching community as a rare duck was spotted on the lake at Lydiard Park. The Ferruginous Duck is a rich chestnut coloured duck that is seldom seen in the UK. The sighting was posted on the Wiltshire Ornithological Society Website (http://www.wiltshirebirds.co.uk/) and bird watchers from all the country are making a visit to Lydiard Park to see and photograph this rare bird.
Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance
The Royal British Legion brought the first Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance to Lydiard Park in November 2010. This temporary memorial was dedicated to all those who had been killed in the Afghanistan conflict and was open to the public for a two week period leading up to Remembrance Sunday. Lydiard Park is proud to have been the venue for the Field of Remembrance, which set up by the Royal British Legion as part of the 2010 Poppy Appeal but would like to advise visitors that it was temporary and the memorial poppy crosses were all taken down in November 2010. For more information go to www.poppy.co.uk
Historic painting returns to Lydiard House
A portrait of Robert Rich, 3rd Earl of Warwick, has come back to Lydiard House after almost 70 years in a private collection. The return of the 17th Century painting is a result of external grants from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council/ Victoria and Albert Museums Purchase Grant Fund, the Art Fund and The Friends of Lydiard Park.
It is one of the last lost paintings to return to the house and it hung in the state bedroom until 1943, when it was included in a huge auction of the contents of the house. Over the years, Swindon Borough Council has been successful in acquiring nearly all of these paintings, items of furniture, ceramics, silverware and mementos belonging to the St John family to enable them to be enjoyed and appreciated by visitors to the house. Earlier this year, we learnt that this portrait of the Earl of Warwick was up for sale and had an opportunity to purchase it for the Lydiard House Collection, through grant support from the MLA / V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the Art Fund, the Friends of Lydiard Park, as well as private donations to the house through our Treasure for Ever scheme.
Portrait of Robert Rich, 3rd Earl of Warwick (1611 1659) is attributed to the famous 17th Century society artist, John Greenhill. The Richs are prominently shown on the painted triptych in St Marys Church at Lydiard Park. Lady Mary Rich was the mother of Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke. His portait is now back in it's original setting at Lydiard House.
Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance at Lydiard Park's Walled Garden
In honour of the town's repatriations, The Royal British Legion felt that it was appropriate to open a Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance, dedicated to all those who have lost their lives in Afghanistan. Lydiard Park is proud that the Walled Garden was the venue chosen to host this Field of Remembrance. It will be open from Tuesday 9 to Sunday 21 November, 9am to 4pm - entrance is free. For more information, please go to their website www.poppy.org.uk
Lydiard House gains national quality standard
Lydiard House has been officially Accredited by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). The MLAS Museum Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for all museums in the UK so this award recognises that Lydiard House measures up and meets the guidelines on how it is run, how it looks after its collections and the services it provides to visitors. It recongises the high standard and service that Lydiard House provides and acknowledges the hard work of its staff and volunteers.