Japanese garden in London from 1910 Japan-British Exhibition to be revived

A neglected garden created as part of the Japan-British Exhibition in 1910 is to be rejuvenated in a project by landscape architects from both countries.

The landscape, which is part of west London's Hammersmith Park, is to receive an overhaul that will restore it to a Japanese garden.

A team from Churchman Landscape Architects (CLA) has been working with Tokyo-based Yoshi Uchida and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham on designing the scheme.

CLA director Andrew Thornhill said the original park, which encompassed the BBC's site, was much larger than its current 7ha. It was carved up for housing estates and BBC Television Centre, before the remaining area opened as Hammersmith Park in 1955.

Thornhill explained that expert Japanese contractors would work alongside UK contractor Kingston Garden Services to ensure features such as the rock garden were placed in a traditional way.

"It can't be conveyed in drawings," he explained. "Every angle is significant."

The Japanese Society is partnering on the £149,000 project and some funding has been received from the Japanese government, said borough council parks development officer Paul Bassi.

He explained: "It is purported to be one of the oldest Japanese gardens in a public park. The original materials were brought over from Japan in 1910, but a lot of stonework was removed in the 1950s and replaced."

In addition to the Japanese garden, the plans also include work to improve play in the park as part of the Government's Play Builder funding programme.

According to Bassi, a "play forest" formed from red poles is being created, along with landforms and a Miscanthus maze. Three large mounds in the children's play area will represent Japanese mountain ranges.

Thornhill said stone for the rock garden will be hand selected during a trip to Cumbria. The work is expected to be completed by the end of April, in time for a festival in the park on 19 May.


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