Brighton & Hove City Council and The Royal Pavilion & Museums have been awarded initial support and development funding of £214,400 by The National Heritage Lottery Fund in order to progress plans to improve and enhance the historic Royal Pavilion Garden.
Improving and protecting the Royal Pavilion Garden is a key part of the Royal Pavilion Estate project to reconnect and revitalise the city’s historic buildings and gardens as one; to create a world-class cultural destination for heritage, culture and the performing arts, infused with the vibrant spirit of Brighton past, present and future.
Phase 1 of the project, which is already underway, includes the major refurbishment and conservation of Brighton Dome’s Grade I listed Corn Exchange and Grade II listed Studio Theatre. The garden restoration is part of Phase 2 and this funding will allow the project to apply for a further grant bid of £3.4 million.
The Grade II listed Royal Pavilion Garden is one of the few remaining Regency gardens in the country. The garden was opened to the public, for the first time, in 1849 and its community use since then is also an important part of its history and significance.
Designed by the architect John Nash, the garden was completed for George IV in the 1820s to complement and unify the exotic and magnificent buildings of the Royal Pavilion Estate. In October 2017 the garden was added to the Historic England at Risk Register following concerns about high levels of visitor use, erosion of character and a general deterioration in the sense of history.
Councillor Alan Robins, Chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture committee said:
“This is fantastic news for the city and an important step in securing the future of this important and well-loved public space. The project presents a landmark opportunity to change people’s understanding and valuing of the garden, building civic pride and community ownership, and using engagement and activities as a positive and constructive way to help reduce antisocial behaviour.”
"Thanks to National Lottery players, we can now move forward, working with our city partners, residents and visitors, to develop a scheme which will enhance this important Regency landscape while preserving this precious open space in the heart of our city.”
The council commissioned a conservation plan in 2018 which assessed risks to the garden’s heritage, and this has helped shape a plan of action to improve future management and operation, interpretation, community engagement, learning and access.
The plans include:
- Improving access to the garden for people with disabilities including an accessible outdoor learning space
- New lighting and a secure boundary to address vandalism and anti-social behaviour
- Conserving and restoring listed lamp posts and balustrade, flowerbeds, paths, lawns and improving recycling, lighting and seating
- Overhauling the entrances, installing new gates and signs
- Improving interpretation with maps and information boards, audio tours and an archival research project
- Creating apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities particularly focused around horticultural therapy
- Building on the success of the Royal Pavilion & Museums’ existing interpretation, learning and creative offer by providing new opportunities in the garden, its most popular and publicly accessible site.
The council will aim to submit the full bid in March 2021 with work starting in January 2022.
Find out more about Our Future and the long-term vision for the Royal Pavilion Estate.