London’s Arcadia was a successful £3.3m Heritage Lottery Funded scheme to restore, open up and enhance the view from Richmond Hill between RadnorGardens in Twickenham and Richmond Lock.
The project began work on the ground in 2005 and brought together the public open spaces along the river that form the View (the only view in the UK deemed so special that it is protected by an Act of Parliament). This required regenerating and managing all aspects of the river environment for both people and wildlife.
Throughout the three-year project thousands of trees and many kilometres of native hedgerows were planted and laid in the traditional way. Long sections of the riverbank were planted with reedbeds, sedges and willows re-creating the almost lost Thameside natural environment. Water meadows were also managed and new habitats created to allow wildlife to flourish.
Historic gates and railings were restored and new accessible entrances created linking and opening up riverside open spaces for the first time. New steps and footpaths have been installed and signage improved. Streetlights, bollards, litterbins and benches have been replaced and historic views opened and framed.
The first £1.5m phase of the project was completed with the restoration of Richmond Hill Terrace and the wildflower meadow leading down to the river. Works to Cholmondeley Walk, BridgeHouseGardens, CambridgeGardens, Isleworth Promenade and Richmond Riverside have transformed one of the most used Thameside areas in London. Significantly much of the success of the first phase was been achieved through the use of volunteers.
Phase Two of London’s Arcadia saw the project move to the more pastoral reaches with the replanting of the avenues around Ham House and bio-diversity and streetscape enhancements to the wonderful Warren Footpath that links Twickenham with RichmondBridge. The final phase has seen the completion of works on Richmond Promenade, RadnorGardens and Twickenham town centres.
In addition to the works on the ground, London’s Arcadia had an ambitious outreach and education programme. A full time officer (one of three members of staff employed to implement the three year HLF scheme) was tasked with rolling out the learning initiative. Care has been taken to link this with all other aspects of the project and includes schools events, guided walks, talks, volunteer activity and publications.
London’s Arcadia was a three-year Heritage Lottery funded scheme inspired to implement the Thames Landscape Strategy. The project was managed by a sub-group of the TLS consisting of a partnership of the following organisations: The London Borough of Richmond (who acted as lead partner and managed the delivery of the scheme), The National Trust, English Heritage, The Father Thames Trust and the Environment Agency. In addition, Arcadia worked with many local community groups and individuals to deliver the initiative.
The Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £2.3m has been matched to a total of £3.3m by local and national fundraising initiatives. ‘Action Planning’ led by Judi Stewart was appointed to manage the fundraising initiative. Design of the London’s Arcadia project was separated into two different sections. The pastoral elements including Richmond Hill, Ham Avenues and towpath was designed by Kim Wilkie Associates. The more urban areas including Twickenham and Richmond Riverfronts were designed by CUH2O.
Selection of project photos
Over the last three years the Arcadia Staff has consisted of:
London’s Arcadia HLF-funded Project Manger: Ken MacKenzie
London’s Arcadia HLF-funded Project Officer: Tasha Hunter
London’s Arcadia HLF-funded Project Officer: Fran Morrison
London’s Arcadia Education Co-ordinator: Miranda Stearn
In 1902 the view from Richmond Hill became the first view in history to be protected in perpetuity by an Act of Parliament. An original copy of the Act is held in the local studies section of Richmond Museum