Of Hardwick’s twenty six buildings, structures and features, fifteen have now been fully restored with a further five, partially completed. There is now a good chance that funding will be found to rebuild two key buildings in the northern part of the Park - the Bath House and Banqueting House. To enable this to happen however, an archaeological investigation of both sites is first required.
An application for a small award is being submitted to the National Lottery Heritage Grants scheme for this purpose.
If successful, the work should be carried out between May and October this year and will be led by former Durham County Archaeologist, Niall Hammond, so we are seeking volunteers of all ages to join us in this venture. You can enjoy the unique camaraderie which develops in such work, as well as learn first hand about Hardwick’s past - and possibly make exciting discoveries of your own!
The Friends of Hardwick Park was formed in 1998, drawn by a call from Durham County Council to help in an exciting new initiative to revive the decaying parkland which lay just west of Sedgefield. Hitherto some works had taken place around the Serpentine Lake and Hall, but overall the place was a sorry sight, in danger of losing completely its once grand status at the cutting edge of 18th Century landscape design. From the start, the Friends group has played an important role in the restoration of the Park, importantly demonstrating that local people were fully behind the venture, a requirement of the original Heritage Lottery Fund. Much of the historic research undertaken, necessary to ensure that the work of restoration was accurately executed, was carried out by the Friends. In addition, funds were raised solely by the Friends to commission a replica statue of Neptune to replace the original, stolen from its plinth in the Serpentine almost 70 years ago.
Over the last 20 years the group has assisted the County Council in its management and maintenance of the Park. Volunteers have a wide variety of roles assisting the full-time staff in their maintenance of water bodies, vegetation and paths, running the shop and providing an expanding education programme. Inevitably the number of volunteers has declined and we hope this exciting new phase of development will attract new volunteers to join us for the archaeological dig and hopefully to maintain a continuing involvement with the Friends. If you are interested please contact me on 07415 789484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Smith, Chairman, Friends of Hardwick Park
We are looking for someone to attend the monthly Farmers’ Market alongside the market manager, with a view to helping on a regular basis and developing new ideas for this increasingly successful project.
You’re welcome to “try before you buy” so if you are interested in coming along on Sunday January 5th, call Roger Clubley for a chat on 07803 269956.