The first stage was to renew the eight dilapidated Linden Arches erected in 1875. The arches, originally gas lit in glass globes, did not last well. Over the years the globes disappeared, as did most of the arches. By 2008 only two were left, derelict and long globe-less.
New more robust arches were manufactured and installed in 2012; the work was carried out by local firms under the lead of Worrall’s Engineering of Warwick. The crowns were gilded by a specialist Leamington sign-writer and the electrics for LED lighting in the globes done by another local firm.
The council contributed a third of the cost; the Friends, as volunteers, raised the remainder from public donations. A plaque commemorating the donors was formally unveiled by HRH the Duke of Gloucester on 7th June 2012 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
l to r: Early 20th century postcard; gilded crowns for new arches; Linden Avenue 2012
While replacing the Linden Arches, the FPRG embarked on a study of the gardens – their history, their current use and condition, with recommendations for future improvement. This study was carried out in conjunction with the Heritage Education unit of Warwickshire County Council. The result was a Conservation Statement, as it is known, submitted for approval to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) which had funded the study.
As is normal for HLF supported projects, there was community involvement, in this case teaching young children the significance of heritage.
The Conservation Statement became an important starting point for the ensuing bid for almost £1mn to HLF, later renamed the National Lottery Fund.